Socioeconomic Disparities in under-Five Mortality in Southern Sweden, 1813 – 1967

Martin Dribe, Lund University
Omar Karlsson, Lund University

Healthy development of children is determined directly by proximate determinants and indirectly through social and economic determinants. This paper aims to explore socioeconomic disparities in under-five mortality in five rural and semi-urban parishes and one port-town in southern Sweden, using individual-level longitudinal data from 1813 -1967. As this region, as most of Europe, went through an enormous societal transformation over the period, the changes in socioeconomic disparities in under-five mortality over time are also explored. This study uses data from the Scanian Economic-Demographic Database (SEDD) which consists of individual-level longitudinal records. The primary outcome of interest is mortality from birth until age five years old (under-five mortality). Also, the paper explores mortality from birth until age one-year-old (infant mortality), and from age one years old to 10 years old (child mortality). The results show enormous progress was made in reducing under-five mortality in Southern Sweden over the period. First, infant mortality started to decline rapidly, and later child mortality, causing under-five mortality to go down from 60 deaths per 1000 person-years of exposure in the period 1813-1859 to 5 deaths in 1940-1967. In the beginning, child mortality only declined for the higher SES groups while infant mortality declined for all groups between all periods. Non-manual workers show lower rates of under-five mortality in all sub-periods.

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 Presented in Session 221. Various Effects of Socioeconomic Status