Letters Inequalities in mortality

Study rates, not standardised mortality ratios

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4614 (Published 24 August 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4614
  1. Luc Bonneux, senior researcher1
  1. 1NIDI, PB 11650, 2502 The Hague, Netherlands
  1. bonneux{at}nidi.nl

    In their study from 1921 to 2007 Thomas and colleagues conclude on the basis of standardised mortality ratios that inequalities in mortality continue to rise and are now almost as high as in the 1930s.1 Relative ratios are, however, misleading when absolute rates change strongly. I calculated the differences in absolute rate between the highest and lowest tenths using the authors’ standardised mortality ratios and mortality for …

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