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Social, health and economic inequalities
Transcript of Social, health and economic inequalities
'Health inequities are avoidable inequalities in health between groups of people within countries and between countries. These inequities arise from inequalities within and between societies. '
What are the social 'determinants' of health?
The social determinants of health are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness. These circumstances are in turn shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics.
To understand the issue of inequality in contemporary society
To gain insight into the complexity of issues related to inequalities
To have knowledge of some of the factors that contribute to inequality
To explore what is meant by Child Poverty
To explore a national, global and local perspective of inequality
To explore the question: '
should we care about inequality
Examples of health inequities
• Infant mortality rate (the risk of a baby dying between birth and one year of age) is
2 per 1000 live births in Iceland
120 per 1000 births in Mozambique
• Risk of maternal death during or shortly after pregnancy is
only 1 in 17 400 in Sweden
but it is
1 in 8 in Afghanistan
Examples within countries
• Life expectancy among indigenous Australians is
59.4 for males and 64.8 for females
) than that of non-indigenous Australians (
76.6 for males 82.0 for females
• Life expectancy at birth for men in the Calton neighbourhood of Glasgow is 54 years,
28 years less
than that of men in Lenzie (82 years) which is only a few kilometers away.
Social, health and economic inequalities
What factors could cause inequality in different countries or within communities?
There is a social gradient that runs from top to bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum. This is a global phenomenon, seen in low, middle and high income countries.
Marmot and Wilkinson, 2005
Equity depends vitally on the empowerment of individuals to challenge and change the unfair and steeply graded distribution of social resources to which everyone has equal claims and rights. Inequality in power interacts across four main dimensions – political, economic, social, and cultural – together constituting a continuum along which groups are, to varying degrees, excluded or included.
Economic Inequality and Social 'Problems'
Within Societies, health and social problems remain strongly associated with income
'Differences in average income or living standards between whole populations or countries doesn't matter at all- but income differences within those same populations matter very much indeed?' (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009)
15. New Zealand
Rank the following 23 wealthy countries based on their income equality (1 being the most equal, 23 being the least)
'Poverty is not a certain small amount of goods; nor is it just relation between means and ends; above all it is a relation between people. Poverty is a social status ... it has grown ...as an invidious distinction between classes '
Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009: 15
Definitions of Poverty
is defined as the lack of sufficient resources with which to keep body and soul together.
defines income or resources in relation to the average. It is concerned with the absence of the material needs to participate fully in accepted daily life.
is a new term used by Labour and coalition Government.
Peter Townsend (1979) argued that deprivation should not be seen only in terms of material deprivation but also in the social exclusion from ‘the ordinary patterns, customs and activities’ of society.
Key Legislation : The Child Poverty Act 2010
How is Poverty measured?
The official poverty line is 60% of median income, the mid-point on the scale of national earnings
The figure moves as national earnings change and experts say this measure helps provide a wider sense of social exclusion
Contentious topic and one currently being widely debated in Government
Current Government announced it would remove the indicators (including income) and targets stipulated in the Child Poverty Act.
Replace them with a set of broader measures of life chances such as debt, 'family breakdown' and substance use.
(See Welfare Reform Bill)
“He [David Cameron] did point to concerns...about whether it is an effective measure or not, because if you look at the recession, the measured rate of child poverty fell because, actually, overall people’s income in the UK was falling, and child poverty was therefore seen to have fallen because it is a relative measure.”
No 10 Spokesperson
"The Government’s reforms to the 2010 Child Poverty Act, which is to be renamed the Life Chances Act, passed in the House of Commons, but have now been derailed in the Lords, where the Government does not have a majority."
Leeds is one of the most unequal cities in the UK
Infamous Unicef Report Card 2007
Child Poverty Perspective
Causes of Child Poverty
Demographic changes, in particular a growth in the number of lone parent families
A concentration of worklessness among low-skilled households
A widening wage distribution with increased in-work poverty and weaker work incentives.
Changes in family circumstances:
losing a job,
having a baby,
Families who face barriers to the financial and other support and services they need to cope with these transitions can fall into poverty.
Causes of Child Poverty
Child poverty reduced dramatically between 1998/9-2011/12 when 1.1 million children were lifted out of poverty.
Since 2010, child poverty figures have flat-lined. The number of children in absolute poverty has increased by 0.5 million since 2010
As a direct result of tax and benefit decisions made since 2010, the Institute for Fiscal Studies project that the number of children in relative poverty will have risen from 3.6m to 4.3 million by 2020
Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (64 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one member works
Families experience poverty for many reasons, but its fundamentally its not having enough money to cope (rise in living costs, a drop in earnings through job loss or benefit changes).
Child poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty means being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends. For example, 60 % of families in the bottom income quintile would like, but cannot afford, to take their children on holiday for one week a year.
Child poverty has long-lasting effects. By GCSE, there is a 28 per cent gap between children receiving free school meals and their wealthier peers in terms of the number achieving at least 5 A*-C GCSE grades.
Child poverty imposes costs on broader society – estimated to be at least £29 billion a year.
Governments forgo prospective revenues as well as commit themselves to providing services in the future if they fail to address child poverty in the here and now.
Inequality affects all of society
The scandal of Inequality in Leeds
Average male life-expectancy in Harewood Ward: 81.7 years
Average male life expectancy in City and Hunslet Ward: 71.6 years
Equivalised annual income in Harewood (2009): £57,080
Equivalised annual income in Gipton/ Harehills (2009): £14,495
Percentage of Leeds Central constituency without any formal qualifications: 17%
Percentage of Leeds North West constituency without any qualifications: 2.7% (the fifth highest qualified constituency in England)
Do you agree with the following?:
(2010) The Foundation Years: Preventing Poor Children Becoming Poor Adults
Lansley, S. and Mack, J. (2015) Breadline Britain - the rise of mass poverty, London, Oneworld
Mack, J. and Lansley, S. (1985) Poor Britain, London, George Allen & Unwin.
Townsend, P. (1979) Poverty in the United Kingdom, London, Allen Lane and Penguin Books.
(2007) An overview of child well-being in rich countries
A comprehensive assessment of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre Report Card 7
The scandal of inequality
The global context affects how societies prosper through its impact on international relations and domestic norms and policies
The benefits of the economic growth that has taken place over the last 25 years are unequally distributed. In 1980 the richest countries, containing 10% of the world’s population, had gross national income 60 times that of the poorest countries, containing 10% of the world’s population.
By 2005 this ratio had increased to 122 times
'Inequality is socially divisive'
Wikinson and Pickett 2009
18. New Zealand
Child Poverty Action Group: cpag.org.uk