Why social class matters to health

Social class leads inequalities of resources, whether that is income, education, housing or health. This has led to widely varying but predictable life chances and health outcomes across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The link between social class and health was identified almost 30 years ago. In 1980, there was found to be a clear inequality in life expectancy between men in social class 1 (managers and professionals) and social class 5 (unskilled workers).

The reasons for the link between social class and health includes things such as health risks in low paid, unsafe jobs and stress caused by having low status and lack of power.

Upward and downward social mobility can improve or decrease people’s life chances. Certain events such as such as leaving home, becoming a parent, losing your job or bereavement can make us vulnerable to falling into a low income or low status in society.

Social class inequality has an impact on the whole of society. Research shows that more equal societies have better health rather than richer societies where there is a bigger gap between rich and poor.

 

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