All FSI Projects

Socioeconomic Gradients in Health Among the Elderly in China


Karen Eggleston

This project studied the patterns of health and health care disparities across elderly and non-elderly in China, including the impact of earlier educational and public health interventions on contemporary elderly. The researchers analyzed individual-level data from multiple Chinese household surveys and related datasets spanning 1989 through 2010: (a) the 1988 fertility survey (from which they extracted data on infant and child mortality spanning the Mao era and early reform era); (b) the China Health and Nutrition Survey (with multiple waves between 1989 and 2006); (c) the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey pilot data (2008 for Zhejiang and Gansu provinces); (d) the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (several waves between 1998 through 2005); and (e) life tables for China from the US Census Bureau (males and females, annually 1990 through 2010), in comparison with life tables from selected other countries available from the Human Mortality Database or the Census Bureau.  They calculated Gini coefficients for distributions of various metrics of health (obesity and underweight for adults and children, waist to hip ratio, smoking status, blood pressure, disability score for elderly people, survival/mortality), overall and for urban and rural residents separately, to see how health inequalities amplify or dampen China’s increasing income and asset inequalities between 1993 and 2006.