Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

  • ISSN: 2049-5471
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Exploring ethnic inequalities in health: evidence from the Health Survey for England, 1998-2011

Fran Darlington,Paul Norman,Dimitris Ballas,Daniel John Exeter

Issues of social justice and social and spatial inequalities in health have long been researched, yet there is a relative paucity of research on ethnic inequalities in health. Given the increasing ethnic diversity of England’s population and the persistence of unjust differences in health this research is timely. We used annual data from the Health Survey for England between 1998 and 2011, combined into a time-series dataset, to examine the influence of socioeconomic and spatial factors on ethnic variations in health and to explore whether inequalities have changed over time. Our analysis reveals that ethnic differences in health are largely rooted in socioeconomic or spatial difference, although variations by health outcome are observed. This work builds on existing literature which looks to socioeconomic and spatial difference for explanations of ethnic inequalities in health, rather than any supposed inherent underlying risk of poor health for minority ethnic groups.