Social Class and Excess Mortality in Sweden During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is no consensus in the literature about the role of socioeconomic factors on influenza mortality during the 1918 pandemic. While some scholars have found that social factors were important, others have not. In this study, we analyzed differences in excess mortality by social class in Sweden during the 1918 pandemic. We analyzed individual-level mortality of the entire population aged 30–59, by combining information from death records with census data on occupation. Social class was measured by an occupation-based class scheme. Excess mortality during the pandemic was measured as mortality relative to the same month the year before. Social class differences in mortality were modeled using a complementary log-log model, adjusting for potential confounding at the family, the residential (urban/rural) and the county levels. Our findings indicated notable class differences in excess mortality but no perfect class gradient. Class differences were somewhat larger for men than for women.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • 1918 pandemic, individual level, influenza, longitudinal, mortality, occupation, social class, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2568-2576
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number12
Early online date2018 Jul 27
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

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