European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 877–884 | Cite as

Socioeconomic inequalities in homicide mortality: a population-based comparative study of 12 European countries

  • Andrew Stickley
  • Mall LeinsaluEmail author
  • Anton E. Kunst
  • Matthias Bopp
  • Bjørn Heine Strand
  • Pekka Martikainen
  • Olle Lundberg
  • Katalin Kovács
  • Barbara Artnik
  • Ramune Kalediene
  • Jitka Rychtaříková
  • Bogdan Wojtyniak
  • Johan P. Mackenbach


Recent research has suggested that violent mortality may be socially patterned and a potentially important source of health inequalities within and between countries. Against this background the current study assessed socioeconomic inequalities in homicide mortality across Europe. To do this, longitudinal and cross-sectional data were obtained from mortality registers and population censuses in 12 European countries. Educational level was used to indicate socioeconomic position. Age-standardized mortality rates were calculated for post, upper and lower secondary or less educational groups. The magnitude of inequalities was assessed using the relative and slope index of inequality. The analysis focused on the 35–64 age group. Educational inequalities in homicide mortality were present in all countries. Absolute inequalities in homicide mortality were larger in the eastern part of Europe and in Finland, consistent with their higher overall homicide rates. They contributed 2.5 % at most (in Estonia) to the inequalities in total mortality. Relative inequalities were high in the northern and eastern part of Europe, but were low in Belgium, Switzerland and Slovenia. Patterns were less consistent among women. Socioeconomic inequalities in homicide are thus a universal phenomenon in Europe. Wide-ranging social and inter-sectoral health policies are now needed to address the risk of violent victimization that target both potential offenders and victims.


Homicide Inequality Education Europe 



This work was supported by the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General of the European Union [Eurothine—grant number 2003, 125] for the data collection and harmonization. Andrew Stickley and Mall Leinsalu’s work was supported by the Swedish Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies [Health and Population Developments in Eastern Europe—grant number A052-10].


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Stickley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mall Leinsalu
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Anton E. Kunst
    • 4
  • Matthias Bopp
    • 5
  • Bjørn Heine Strand
    • 6
  • Pekka Martikainen
    • 7
  • Olle Lundberg
    • 8
    • 9
  • Katalin Kovács
    • 10
  • Barbara Artnik
    • 11
  • Ramune Kalediene
    • 12
  • Jitka Rychtaříková
    • 13
  • Bogdan Wojtyniak
    • 14
  • Johan P. Mackenbach
    • 15
  1. 1.Stockholm Centre on Health of Societies in TransitionSödertörn UniversityHuddingeSweden
  2. 2.European Centre on Health of Societies in TransitionLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsNational Institute for Health DevelopmentTallinnEstonia
  4. 4.Department of Public Health, Academic Medical CentreUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  6. 6.Division of EpidemiologyNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  7. 7.Department of SociologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  8. 8.Centre for Health Equity StudiesStockholm University/Karolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  9. 9.Department of Health SciencesMid Sweden UniversityÖstersundSweden
  10. 10.Demographic Research InstituteHCSOBudapestHungary
  11. 11.Department of Public Health, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  12. 12.Department of Health ManagementLithuanian University of Health SciencesKaunasLithuania
  13. 13.Department of Demography and Geodemography, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic
  14. 14.Department-Centre of Population Health Monitoring and AnalysesNational Institute of Public Health, National Institute of HygieneWarsawPoland
  15. 15.Department of Public HealthErasmus Medical CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands

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