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Appears in Collections:Economics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Perceived health inequalities: are the UK and US public aware of occupation-related health inequality, and do they wish to see it reduced?
Author(s): Bridger, Emma K.
Tufte-Hewett, Angela
Comerford, David A.
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Keywords: Public Health
Environmental and Occupational Health
Issue Date: 24-Nov-2023
Date Deposited: 25-Mar-2024
Citation: Bridger EK, Tufte-Hewett A & Comerford DA (2023) Perceived health inequalities: are the UK and US public aware of occupation-related health inequality, and do they wish to see it reduced?. <i>BMC Public Health</i>, 23 (1), Art. No.: 2326 (2023).
Abstract: Background One underexamined factor in the study of lay views of socioeconomic health inequalities is occupation-related health. Examining health by occupational social class has a long history in the UK but has been comparatively overlooked in US public health literatures, where the relationship between health and work has attended more to hazard exposure. Methods Representative samples of the UK and US indicated the perceived and ideal lifespan of people working in “higher managerial/professional” and “routine” occupations. We examine perceptions of inequality and desires for equality across occupation groups as a function of country and key socio-demographic variables. Results 67.8% of UK and 53.7% of US participants identified that professionals live longer than routine workers. Multivariate models indicated that US participants were markedly less likely to be aware of occupation-related inequalities after controlling for age, gender, and education. Awareness was negatively related to age (in the US) and recent voting behaviours (both samples). Desiring equal life expectancy was less likely in the US sample, and less likely across both samples among older participants and those with lower levels of education. Conclusion Employing a novel approach to measuring perceived and ideal life expectancy inequality, this is the first study to examine perceptions of lifespan inequality by occupational groups. It reports widespread understanding of the occupation-related gradient in lifespan and a desire that these inequalities be eliminated in the UK, but considerably less awareness and desire for equality in the US. Greater tolerance for social status inequalities in the US than other similar countries appear to also extend to differences in life expectancy.
DOI Link: 10.1186/s12889-023-17120-6
Rights: © The Author(s) 2023. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
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