Home > Unequal chances? Inequalities in mortality in Ireland.

Duffy, Katie and Connolly, Sheelah and Maitre, Bertrand and Nolan, Anne (2022) Unequal chances? Inequalities in mortality in Ireland. Dublin: Economic and Social Research Institute. https://doi.org/10.26504/rs145.

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Life expectancy and mortality are some of the most widely available indicators of population health and are commonly used by governments and international organisations as key indicators of social progress. In addition to being unfair, inequalities in mortality and life expectancy across population groups are a key policy concern as they are potentially avoidable. In this report, data from a variety of sources are used to examine inequalities in mortality in Ireland over the period since 2000, focusing on two broad dimensions of inequality: socio-economic status (SES) (proxied by socio-economic group, which is derived from occupation), and ethnicity/country of birth/nationality. Due to data availability, the analyses of inequalities focus on two key population groups (young infants, and adults). An analysis of emerging patterns in relation to COVID-19 mortality is also undertaken.

P.23. One of the four key goals of the current Irish government health strategy, Healthy Ireland, is to ‘reduce health inequalities’ (Government of Ireland, 2013). The Healthy Ireland Outcomes Framework contains a set of indicators, grouped into three areas: health status, health outcomes and social determinants, that will allow the Government to monitor progress on the actions needed to improve population health and wellbeing. Furthermore, it is noted that 'the indicators will be disaggregated where possible in terms of age, gender, SES and geography and will be subject to comparison with national and international data' (Department of Health, 2018). Currently, five mortality-related indicators are proposed: healthy life years, premature non-communicable disease mortality, excess winter mortality, road traffic mortality and drug-induced mortality.

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