Socioeconomic Health Disparities in Canadian Regions

Jalil Safaei*
Department of Economics, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9, Canada

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© Jalil Safaei; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Economics, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9, Canada; Tel: 250 960 6698; E-mail;



Numerous studies have estimated health disparities along socioeconomic dimensions using individual data from sample surveys. Disparities between communities or regions cannot be estimated without a consistent set of individual data across communities. This study uses data at the health region level to estimate the socioeconomic health disparities between health regions in Canada.


Tow measures of income and a measure of education are used for regional socioeconomic ranking along with several health outcomes such as life expectancies, mortality rates, perceived health and obesity. Weighted regressionanalysis is used to estimate the relative inequality index (RII) between Canadian health regions.


The findings of the study indicate the existence of health disparities between Canadian health regions along the three socioeconomic markers of average income, median household income and education in favor of regions with higher socioeconomic ranking on those markers. Disparities are more pronounced along the education and average income dimensions, however. Greater inequalities are observed for premature mortality, avoidable mortality and obesity, which are higher for women than men.


There are health disparities between Canadian health regions along education and income dimensions. Such disparities signify the role of socioeconomic factors as important instruments in reducing health disparities.

Keywords: Canada, education, health region, health status disparities, income, socioeconomic factors.