, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 647-653

Socioeconomic and living conditions are determinants of hip fracture incidence and age occurrence among community-dwelling elderly

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In this prospective, 10-year study in community-dwelling elderly aged 50 years and over, hip fracture incidence and accordingly age at hip fracture were inversely associated with the area-level income, independently of the geographical area. Age at hip fracture also depended of marital status but in a gender-specific way.


The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of socioeconomic and living conditions on hip fracture incidence and age occurrence among community-dwelling elderly.


Between January 1991 and December 2000, 2,454 hip fractures were recorded in community-dwelling adults aged 50 years and over in the Geneva University Hospital, State of Geneva, Switzerland. Median annual household income by postal code of residence (referred to as area-level income) based on the 1990 Census was used as a measure of socioeconomic condition and was stratified into tertiles (<53,170; 53,170–58,678; and ≥58,678 CHF). Hip fracture incidence and age occurrence were calculated according to area-level income categories and adjusted for confounding factors among community-dwelling elderly.


Independently of the geographical area (urban versus rural), community-dwelling persons residing in areas with the medium income category presented a lower hip fracture incidence [OR 0.91 (0.82–0.99), p = 0.049] compared to those from the lowest income category. Those in the highest income category had a hip fracture at a significant older age [+1.58 (0.55–2.61) year, p = 0.003] as compared to those in the lowest income category. Age at hip fracture also depended on marital status but in a gender-specific way, with married women fracturing earlier.


These results indicate that incidence and age occurrence of hip fracture are influenced by area-level income and living conditions among community-dwelling elderly. Prevention programs may be encouraged in priority in communities with low income.

This work is dedicated to Charles-Henri Rapin’s memory.