Socio-economic inequalities in health and health service use among older adults in India: results from the WHO Study on Global AGEing and adult health survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective The objectives of this study were to measure socio-economic inequalities in self-reported health (SRH) and healthcare visits and to identify factors contributing to health inequalities among older people aged 50-plus years. Study design This study is based on a population-based, cross-sectional survey. Methods We accessed data of 7150 older adults from the World Health Organization's Study on Global AGEing and adult health Indian survey. We used multivariate logistic regression to assess the correlates of poor SRH. We estimated the concentration index to measure socio-economic inequalities in SRH and healthcare visits. Regression-based decomposition analysis was employed to explore the correlates contributing to poor SRH inequality. Results About 19% (95% CI: 18%, 20%) reported poor health (n = 1368) and these individuals were significantly less wealthy. In total, 5134 (71.8%) participants made at least one health service visit. Increasing age, female gender, low social caste, rural residence, multimorbidity, absence of pension support, and health insurance were significant correlates of poor SRH. The standardized concentration index of poor SRH –0.122 (95% CI: –0.102; –0.141) and healthcare visits 0.364 (95% CI: 0.324, 0.403) indicated pro-poor and pro-rich inequality, respectively. Economic status (62.3%), pension support (11.5%), health insurance coverage (11.5%), social caste (10.7%) and place of residence (4.1%) were important contributors to inequalities in poor health. Conclusion Socio-economic disparities in health and health care are major concerns in India. Achievement of health equity demand strategies beyond health policies, to include pro-poor, social welfare policies among older Indians.


External organisations
  • Aarhus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


  • Concentration index, Healthcare inequalities, India, Older adults, Socio-economic factors
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-41
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1
Publication categoryResearch