Spatiality of health inequalities regarding economic crisis in Hungary

Daniel Szilagyi, Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO)
Annamaria Uzzoli, Institute of Regional Studies Centre for Economics and Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS)

It is indisputable fact that the economic crisis has been taking effect on health, although the impacts are complex, the background mechanisms are complicated. The main goal of our study is to emphasize primarily the relationship between unemployment and life expectancy, and is also analyse the spatial dimension of health inequalities during the terms of crisis in Hungary. How did the economic regime and the appearance of unemployment during the economic recession influence health inequalities? To answer this question, we used statistical and regional analytical methods. In order to explain cause-and-effect correspondences, we justified the link between unemployment rate and average life expectancy at birth with correlation coefficient, regression calculations, spatial autocorrelation and cross tables on the local level of micro-regions (now as administrative units of townships/districts – LAU 1). In order to describe tendencies, we analyzed historical data: this comparative analysis could help us to select the typical years of crisis periods in Hungary after the transition. The ‘Western-Eastern gradient’ of the Hungarian economic environment can influence the spatial structure of life expectancy. The concept of socio-economic health differences refers to the systematic differences in health between people with different positions in the social stratification. Health and health inequalities follow the social gradient: the higher position in the social hierarchy with the lower risk of diseases and premature death. Over the past decades, evidence of a social gradient in health inequalities has accumulated in Hungary. According to unemployment, the spatial pattern became more homogeneous during the past 20 years, while the spatial structure of life expectancy became more mosaic. Despite of fit, there is a marked differentation between Eastern and Western Hungary. The current prolonged crisis does not attract so much attention to the direct relationships as compared with the transition crisis more than twenty years ago.

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Presented in Poster Session 3