International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 825–835 | Cite as

Evolution of educational inequalities in mortality among young adults in an urban setting

  • Hannelore De Grande
  • Patrick Deboosere
  • Hadewijch Vandenheede
Original Article



To gain insight into the evolution in educational inequalities in adolescent and young adult all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the urban setting of the Brussels-Capital Region.


Data were derived from record linkage between the censuses of 1991 and 2001 and register data on all-cause and cause-specific mortality and emigration in the respective periods of 1st October 1991 to 1st January 1996 and 1st October 2001 to 1st January 2006. Both directly and indirectly standardised mortality rates and the relative index of inequality (RII) were computed.


Mortality rates among adolescents and young adults have dropped significantly, especially infections and traffic accidents. However, educational inequalities among men have slightly increased: men with a maximum primary education are four times more likely to die than those who are higher educated [RII = 4.09 (2.78–6.03)]. Among women, no social gradient is observed in either period, but a clear split between the lowest educated and other educational groups is apparent in the 2000s.


There is a positive evolution towards lower mortality among adolescents and young adults, but educational inequalities remain a public health concern.


Mortality Causes of death Education Adolescents and young adults Social inequalities Follow-up study 

L’évolution de l’inégalité selon le niveau d’instruction dans la mortalité des jeunes adultes dans une region urbaine



Établir un aperçu de l’évolution de l’inégalité selon le niveau d’instruction dans la mortalité générale et par cause des adolescents et des jeunes adultes dans les zones urbaines de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale.


Les données proviennent d’un couplage entre les recensements de 1991 et de 2001 avec les données du Registre Nationale sur la mortalité (générale et par cause) et sur l’émigration des périodes 01/10/1991-01/01/1996 et 01/10/2001- 01/01/2006. Nous avons utilisés les taux de mortalité standardisés (directs et indirects) et l’indice relatif d’inégalité (RII)


Les taux de mortalité des adolescents et des jeunes adultes ont nettement baissé. Les incidences des infections et des accidents de la circulation ont particulièrement diminué. Cependant, les inégalités selon le niveau d’instruction chez les hommes ont légèrement augmenté: la mortalité des hommes avec niveau d’études primaires ou moins est quatre fois plus élevée que la mortalité des plus instruits (RII = 4,09 [2,78 à 6,03]). Chez les femmes, nous n’avons observé aucun gradient social dans aucune des périodes étudiées, mais un net clivage entre les groupes moins instruits et le reste des femmes apparait dans les années 2000.


Il y a une évolution vers une plus faible mortalité chez les adolescents et les jeunes adultes, mais l’inégalité selon le niveau d’instruction restent une préoccupation de santé publique.

Mots clés

Mortalité générale Mortalité par cause Education Adolescents et jeunes adultes Inégalités sociales Formation complémentaire 


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannelore De Grande
    • 1
  • Patrick Deboosere
    • 1
  • Hadewijch Vandenheede
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Interface Demography, Department of SociologyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrussels (Elsene)Belgium
  2. 2.Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Health CareUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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