Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C

Inequalities in mortality rates across socio-economic and ethnic groups remain in Ireland

That’s according to research published today by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

WHILE MORTALITY RATES have fallen substantially over time in Ireland, inequalities between different groups in the population remain a concern, new research shows. 

The research – published today by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and funded by the Institute of Public Health (IPH) – examined inequalities in mortality in Ireland over the period since 2000, focusing on socio-economic status (SES) and ethnicity/country of birth or nationality. 

It found that in 2000, 41% of adult deaths were due to circulatory disease, with cancers (25%), respiratory disease (16%) and other causes (18%) accounting for the remainder of deaths.

By 2018, the proportion of total deaths attributed to circulatory disease (29%) had declined sharply, while there was also a decline in the share of deaths accounted for by respiratory disease (to 13%). The proportion of deaths attributable to cancers (30%) and other causes (28%) had a corresponding increase.

The analysis of SES inequalities showed that the standardised mortality rate for those in the least advantaged socio-economic group was twice as high as those in the most advantaged group in 2018.

An analysis of adult inequalities across ethnic, country of birth and nationality groups revealed a substantially lower mortality rate in non-white Irish ethnic groups, as well as in those born outside Ireland or with non-Irish nationality.

There has been a substantial decline in the perinatal mortality rate (the number of stillbirths and deaths in the first week of life per 1,000 births) since 2000 – the rate declined from 8.3 in 2000 to 5.4 in 2019.

However, this improvement was not experienced equally by all groups.

The perinatal mortality rate for unemployed mothers was between 1.6 and 2.2 times the rate of mothers in the higher professional group, and this rate remained elevated throughout the period 2000-2019.

African-born mothers experienced significantly higher rates of perinatal mortality throughout the period (between 1.5 and 2 times higher than mothers born in Ireland).

Analysis of Covid-19 mortality showed that for the period from March 2020 to May 2021, those in less advantaged socio-economic groups accounted for higher proportions of deaths relative to their shares in the population aged 65 and older.

While the numbers of Covid-19 deaths in non-white groups were very small overall, those with black or Asian Irish ethnicity and those born in the EU-east (or with EU-east nationality) accounted for slightly higher proportions of Covid-19 deaths than their respective shares in the population aged 65 and older.

“Life expectancy and mortality are some of the most widely available indicators of population health and social progress,” Anne Nolan, one of the authors of the report, said. 

“In addition to being unfair, inequalities in mortality across population groups are a key policy concern as they are potentially avoidable,” Nolan said.

“Despite the overall improvement in mortality rates in Ireland in recent decades, the findings in this report highlight a number of groups that are vulnerable to higher mortality rates, and which require policy attention.” 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel