International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 39–48 | Cite as

Rural–urban inequities in deaths and cancer mortality amid rapid economic and environmental changes in China

Original Article



This paper examines rural–urban inequities in mortality and cancer mortality amid rapid economic growth and environmental degradation in China.


SPSS and Joinpoint Regression were used to analyze the 2002–2015 datasets from all death registries in China and associated economic and environmental data.


Death and cancer mortality rates among rural residents were higher and increased faster than urban residents. In particular, rural men 30–34 years old were 44% more likely to die from cancer and over 67% more likely to die from all causes, compared to their urban counterparts. Among rural women 15–19 years old, the death rate was 47% higher and the cancer mortality rate was 44% higher than among urban women. Death and cancer mortality rates tended to be positively associated with economic growth and air pollution variables.


Rural–urban health inequities have widened in China, with rural youth at the greatest disadvantage. The anticipated health benefits from income growth may have been offset by the impact of air pollution, which calls for further investigation into the causes of rural–urban health inequities.


All-cause mortality Cancer mortality Youth health Rural–urban health inequities 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author confirms that this research involved no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography Program, School of Environmental, Physical and Applied Sciences, College of Health, Science and TechnologyUniversity of Central MissouriWarrensburgUSA

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