27 Apr 2022


Health disparities driven by socioeconomic status

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It is vital to note that health is associated to both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of material as well as social change (Pampel, Krueger & Denney, 2010). The implication of this fact is the huge disparities in the health conditions of people belonging to the different social and economic status. Understanding the socio-economic aspects that cause disparities in the health status of people is important and essential for success in achieving equity among all individuals regardless of their backgrounds (Pampel, Krueger & Denney, 2010). There are various ways of measuring the socio-economic status of people and the way it influences their health condition. On one side, it is important to understand that the socio-economic disadvantage experienced by an individual during his or her early life usually leads to risk of shorter lifespan and chronic medical conditions, which emerge later (Adler & Newman, 2002). On the side of the socio-economic status, the social and economic environments marked with good life, access to material wealth and association with resourceful people contribute to the general high welfare and strong health of an individual (Adler & Newman, 2002). Therefore, it has to be noted that socio-economic status is significantly related to the health condition of an individual. 

Main body 

In the assigned video, William Connolly presents a keynote talk on the new materialism, fragility and activism. The talk is based on the complexity theory and he uses it to explain the growth of capitalism in the modern world. He explains the new political economy that has set everything based on materialism. The material wealth of a person determines their access to basic services in life. Therefore, the rich can access healthcare while the poor cannot. This keynote talk by William Connolly can give a framework for answering the question on the disparities in health of people based on the socio-economic status. 

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It is vital to note that the term health disparity simply implies the variation and inequality in the provision and access to health care by different populations, which belong to various socio-economic backgrounds (Adler & Newman, 2002). As noted earlier, there is a very significant relationship between the socio-economic status of a person and his or her level welfare and health. Differences in the health status of people do take place when those who come from a given socio-economic background have a weaker survival and higher mortality rates than other groups. The rich and the poor usually suffer from very different health issues. The rich will always suffer from diseases that are related to their lifestyle (Singer, Ryff & National Research Council, 2001). For the poor people, their diseases also come from their way of living and lack of access to some important health care.

Overall, it is the people who have low income and minimal education that experience very poor health (Pampel, Krueger & Denney, 2010). The rich have access to the best health care hence have a strong health and very high survival rate. The poor people tend to die earlier than the rich. 

There are different ways of measuring the dimensions that define the relationship between socio-economic status and health condition of a person. The first approach in the measurement of socio-economic status is based on the behavioral aspects of an individual (Singer, Ryff & National Research Council, 2001). The second factor used to measure socio-economic status is the current income of an individual. The level of income of a person affects their health condition since it determines the kind of medical care that they can afford (Singer, Ryff & National Research Council, 2001). The amount of wealth one has is also a measure of socio-economic status. The education level of an individual influences their health decisions. Education is a measure of socio-economic status. Finally, the occupation of a person is also used as a measure of the socio-economic status of a person (Singer, Ryff & National Research Council, 2001). These measurements can predict the health condition of a person. 

There is a highly significant relationship between the socio-economic status of an individual and his or her health condition. It is important to note that the current literature has informational gaps in terms of the quantitative aspects of socio-economic status, which affect the health condition of a person. A lot of studies have always concentrated on the qualitative aspects of socio-economic status that have impact on the health condition of a person. The future research should focus on providing substantial information regarding the relationship between quantitative aspects of one’s socio-economic status and his or her health condition. 


Adler, N. E., & Newman, K. (2002). Socioeconomic disparities in health: pathways and policies.  Health affairs 21 (2), 60-76.

Pampel, F. C., Krueger, P. M., & Denney, J. T. (2010). Socioeconomic disparities in health behaviors.  Annual review of sociology 36 , 349-370. 

Singer, B. H., Ryff, C. D., & National Research Council. (2001). The influence of inequality on Health Outcomes. National Academy of Sciences .

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