News Release

The poorest people live almost 4 years less than the wealthiest

A study of CIBERESP published in Scientific Reports has developed the first life tables in Spain based on socioeconomic levels

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Consorcio Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red MP

People with fewer financial resources live between 3 and 4 years less than richer people, according to the conclusions of a study carried out by several groups from the Epidemiology and Public Health Area (CIBERESP) of the Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBER-ISCIII). The paper has been published in the prestigious scientific journal Scientific Reports of the Nature Publishing Group, and has been funded by the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) and the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC).

The research teams from the National Centre of Epidemiology of the ISCIII, the Biosanitary Research Institute of Granada, the University of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health have developed the first life tables in Spain based on socioeconomic levels, which will be very useful when studying the survival rates of different diseases such as cancer.

Analysing the relationship between levels and life expectancy, the authors have determined that women and men living in the most deprived areas live between 3.2 and 3.8 years less, respectively, than their counterparts in the least deprived areas. Furthermore, it has been calculated that on average women live 5.6 years more than men (82.9 years for women compared to 77.3 for men). Per province, it is observed that life expectancy is greater in the north of the peninsula, in both sexes, and in the provincial capitals compared to rural areas.

To carry out this study, all-cause mortalities were analysed from the 35,960 census tracts in Spain during the 2011-2013 period and mortality models were stratified according to sex, age group and socioeconomic levels.

The level of wealth or poverty of each area was measured using an index developed by the Spanish Society of Epidemiology, including information from six indicators mainly related to employment and education: percentage of manual workers (employed and unemployed), casual workers, percentage of population without secondary education and main residences without internet access.

According to Daniel Redondo, researcher from the CIBERESP at the Biosanitary Research Institute of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health, “Understanding the association between life expectancy and socioeconomic status could help in developing appropriate public health programmes. Furthermore, the life tables we produced are needed to estimate cancer specific survival measures by socioeconomic status”.

Introducing the health inequality perspective, key

Producing life tables based on socioeconomic levels for the first time in Spain will enable us from now on to study survival rates in cancer and other chronic illnesses by introducing the health inequality perspective, as other European countries such as the United Kingdom have been doing. This will contribute to a greater knowledge and understanding of the factors that influence in the prognosis of certain diseases in our country.

María José Sánchez, head of the group of the CIBERESP at the Andalusian School of Public Health states “Our life tables are essential to calculating life expectancy and estimating cancer survival, as inequalities in this disease persist and have a financial impact on health care costs.” For this purpose, tables are needed to estimate this survival rate based on cancer registries that record net survival, probability of death, and years of life lost due to the disease, among other factors.

The life tables generated are available to researchers in the repository of GitHub:

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