Qausineq: Final report

CAUSINEQ Causes of health and mortality inequalities in Belgium: multiple dimensions, multiple causes.

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Context

In Belgium, life expectancy is now twice what it was 170 years ago, due to improvements in public and private hygiene, nutrition, medical progress and health services. The average lifespan of a Belgian resident is over 80 years, but large inequalities according to socio-economic position persist.

Objectives

The CAUSINEQ project aimed to investigate the social inequalities in health and mortality in Belgium, their evolution in recent years and the role of de-standardised employment arrangements and family situations. The goal was to obtain information on the structural drivers of social differences in mortality and health and to generate policy-relevant findings.

Conclusions

The results of the CAUSINEQ project show that social inequalities in health and mortality are significant in Belgium and that they have been increasing both for men and women since at least the 1990s. Moreover, spatial disparities in mortality between regions, districts and municipalities persist and have been worsening for at least a quarter century. Concerning the role of employment, analyses show a clear excess mortality of the unemployed compared to the employed for practically all main causes of death. Furthermore, non-standard employment types appear to be only marginally better for the health of individuals than unemployment. With regard to marital status and family situation, a significant undermortality of (married) couples and an excess mortality for children under 5 years of age living in a single-parent family were observed.

Keywords

Inequality

Health

Mortality

Employment

Family

Context

In Belgium, life expectancy is now twice what it was 170 years ago, due to improvements in public and private hygiene, nutrition, medical progress and health services. The average lifespan of a Belgian resident is over 80 years, but large inequalities according to socio-economic position persist.

Objectives

The CAUSINEQ project aimed to investigate the social inequalities in health and mortality in Belgium, their evolution in recent years and the role of de-standardised employment arrangements and family situations. The goal was to obtain information on the structural drivers of social differences in mortality and health and to generate policy-relevant findings.

Conclusions

The results of the CAUSINEQ project show that social inequalities in health and mortality are significant in Belgium and that they have been increasing both for men and women since at least the 1990s. Moreover, spatial disparities in mortality between regions, districts and municipalities persist and have been worsening for at least a quarter century. Concerning the role of employment, analyses show a clear excess mortality of the unemployed compared to the employed for practically all main causes of death. Furthermore, non-standard employment types appear to be only marginally better for the health of individuals than unemployment. With regard to marital status and family situation, a significant undermortality of (married) couples and an excess mortality for children under 5 years of age living in a single-parent family were observed.

Keywords

Inequality, Health, Mortality, Employment, Family