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Mortality by occupation-based social class in Italy from 2012 to 2014



Evaluating socio-economic inequality in cause-specific mortality among the working population requires large cohort studies. Through this census-based study, we aimed to quantify disparities in mortality across occupation-based social classes in Italy.


We conducted a historical cohort study on a sample of more than 16 million workers. We estimated the mortality rate ratios for each social class, considering upper non-manual workers as reference.


Non-skilled manual workers showed an increased mortality from upper aero-digestive tract, stomach and liver cancers, and from diseases of the circulatory system, transport accidents and suicides in both sexes, and from infectious diseases, diabetes, lung and bladder cancers only in men. Among women, an excess mortality emerged for cervical cancer, whereas mortality from breast and ovarian cancers was lower. When education was taken into account, the excess mortality decreased in men while was no longer significant in women.


There are remarkable disparities across occupation-based social classes in the Italian working population that favour the upper non-manual workers. Our data could be useful in planning policies for a more effective health and social security system.

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The authors would like to thank Stefano Marchetti (Italian National Institute of Statistics, Rome, Italy), Elena Demuru (National Institute for Health Migration and Poverty, NIHMP, Rome, Italy) and Angelo Lorenti (Angelo Lorenti, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany) for the technical support with the record linkage.

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Correspondence to Gianfranco Alicandro.

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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 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Bertuccio, P., Alicandro, G., Sebastiani, G. et al. Mortality by occupation-based social class in Italy from 2012 to 2014. Int J Public Health 63, 865–874 (2018).

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  • Socio-economic inequality
  • Occupation
  • Census
  • Mortality