Increasing socioeconomic gap between the young and old: temporal trends in health and overall deprivation in England by age, sex, urbanity and ethnicity, 2004–2015

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BackgroundAt a low geographical level, little is known about the associations between population characteristics and deprivation, and their trends, which would be directly affected by the house market, labour pressures and government policies. We describe temporal trends in health and overall deprivation in England by age, sex, urbanity and ethnicity.MethodsRepeated cross-sectional whole population study for England, 2004–2015, at a low geographical level (average 1500 residents). We calculated weighted medians of the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for each subgroup of interest.ResultsOver time, we observed increases in relative deprivation for people aged under 30, and aged 30–59, while median deprivation decreased for those aged 60 or over. Subgroup analyses indicated that relative overall deprivation was consistently higher for young adults (aged 20–29) and infants (aged 0–4), with increases in deprivation for the latter. Levels of overall deprivation in 2004 greatly varied by ethnicity, with the lowest levels observed for White British and the highest for Blacks. Over time, small reductions were observed in the deprivation gap between White British and all other ethnic groups. Findings were consistent across overall IMD and its health and disability subdomain, but large regional variability was also observed.ConclusionsGovernment policies, the financial crisis of 2008, education funding and the increasing cost of houses relative to real wages are important parameters in interpreting our findings. Socioeconomic deprivation is an important determinant of health and the inequalities this work highlights may have significant implications for future fiscal and healthcare policy.

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