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Type: Journal article
Title: Education inequalities in adult all-cause mortality: first national data for Australia using linked census and mortality data
Author: Korda, R.J.
Biddle, N.
Lynch, J.
Eynstone-Hinkins, J.
Soga, K.
Banks, E.
Priest, N.
Moon, L.
Blakely, T.
Citation: International Journal of Epidemiology, 2019; 49(2):511-518
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0300-5771
Statement of
Rosemary J Korda, Nicholas Biddle, John Lynch, James Eynstone-Hinkins, Kay Soga, Emily Banks ... et al.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: National linked mortality and census data have not previously been available for Australia. We estimated education-based mortality inequalities from linked census and mortality data that are suitable for international comparisons. METHODS: We used the Australian Bureau of Statistics Death Registrations to Census file, with data on deaths (2011-2012) linked probabilistically to census data (linkage rate 81%). To assess validity, we compared mortality rates by age group (25-44, 45-64, 65-84 years), sex and area-inequality measures to those based on complete death registration data. We used negative binomial regression to quantify inequalities in all-cause mortality in relation to five levels of education ['Bachelor degree or higher' (highest) to 'no Year 12 and no post-secondary qualification' (lowest)], separately by sex and age group, adjusting for single year of age and correcting for linkage bias and missing education data. RESULTS: Mortality rates and area-based inequality estimates were comparable to published national estimates. Men aged 25-84 years with the lowest education had age-adjusted mortality rates 2.20 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.08‒2.33] times those of men with the highest education. Among women, the rate ratio was 1.64 (1.55‒1.74). Rate ratios were 3.87 (3.38‒4.44) in men and 2.57 (2.15‒3.07) in women aged 25-44 years, decreasing to 1.68 (1.60‒1.76) in men and 1.44 (1.36‒1.53) in women aged 65-84 years. Absolute education inequalities increased with age. One in three to four deaths (31%) was associated with less than Bachelor level education. CONCLUSIONS: These linked national data enabled valid estimates of education inequality in mortality suitable for international comparisons. The magnitude of relative inequality is substantial and similar to that reported for other high-income countries.
Keywords: Australia
health inequalities
socioeconomic position
Rights: © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (, which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please
DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyz191
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