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Income or living standard and health in Germany: different ways of measurement of relative poverty with regard to self-rated health

Abstract

Objectives

Current study introduces the living standard concept as an alternative approach of measuring poverty and compares its explanatory power to an income-based poverty measure with regard to subjective health status of the German population.

Methods

Analyses are based on the German Socio-Economic Panel (2001, 2003 and 2005) and refer to binary logistic regressions of poor subjective health status with regard to each poverty condition, their duration and their causal influence from a previous time point. To calculate the discriminate power of both poverty indicators, initially the indicators were considered separately in regression models and subsequently, both were included simultaneously.

Results

The analyses reveal a stronger poverty–health relationship for the living standard indicator. An inadequate living standard in 2005, longer spells of an inadequate living standard between 2001, 2003 and 2005 as well as an inadequate living standard at a previous time point is significantly strongly associated with subjective health than income poverty.

Conclusion

Our results challenge conventional measurements of the relationship between poverty and health that probably has been underestimated by income measures so far.

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Correspondence to Timo-Kolja Pfoertner.

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This paper belongs to the special issue “Monitoring Social Determinants of Health”.

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Pfoertner, TK., Andress, HJ. & Janssen, C. Income or living standard and health in Germany: different ways of measurement of relative poverty with regard to self-rated health. Int J Public Health 56, 373–384 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-010-0154-3

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Keywords

  • Poverty
  • Subjective health
  • Poverty measures
  • Living standard
  • Income
  • Deprivation