- Smoking rates are twice as high for people with lower education level compared to those with tertiary education, on average in EU and OECD countries.
- Overweight and obesity are also more of a problem for those with lower education level, especially among women. One in two women with lower education are overweight or obese, compared to one in three with a university degree.
- A person with low income – and with the same level of healthcare needs as a rich person – is less likely to see a specialist doctor. The gap between the rich and the poor is 12 percentage points, on average across OECD and EU countries.
- There are substantial inequalities in access to preventive care depending on a person’s income. For cervical cancer, the difference in screening rates reaches on average 17 percentage points across income groups.
- When accessing the health system, nearly 17% of households in EU countries declare they have difficulties in affording care but the proportion stands at 30% for those below the poverty line. Everywhere, households in the bottom income quintile are more likely to incur catastrophic health spending.
- Tackling health-related inequalities can make societies more inclusive. To make this happen, health systems can adopt a wide range of policy options, ranging from moving towards patient-centred primary care delivery, to extending healthcare coverage, improving health literacy and public health interventions. Beyond the health sector, policies related to labour market, education, environment, housing and social policies, can also contribute to tackling inequalities in health.
Inequalities in risky health behaviour frequently go hand in hand with inequalities in health status. In all 33 countries included in the study, the lower-educated consider themselves to be in worse health than those with tertiary education, with a 21 percentage points difference between the two groups.
Notes: Results correspond to age-sex standardised predicted probabilities.
Differences between education groups are significant at the 95% confidence level for all countries.
Source: OECD estimates based on national survey data.
Note by Turkey: The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”.
Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union: The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
Follow us on Twitter via @OECD_Social