BACKGROUND: Many European countries have in recent decades reported growing socioeconomic differentials in mortality. While these trends have usually paralleled high unemployment and increasing income disparities, Sweden had low unemployment and narrowing income differences. This study describes trends, 1961-1990, in total and cardiovascular mortality among men, 45-69 years of age, in major occupational classes in Sweden.
METHODS: From census data four cohorts were created from those enumerated in 1960, 1970, 1980 and 1985. Through record linkage with the Swedish cause of death registry the mortality in each cohort was followed for 5-10 years. Age-standardized mortality trends 1961-1990 were calculated for occupational groups, categorized according to sector of the economy.
RESULTS: The increase in mortality among middle-aged men in Sweden 1965-1980 was mainly a result of increasing cardiovascular mortality among industrial workers and farmers. In the 1980s the trend for these groups changed into a last decrease in mortality similar to that for non-manual occupations for the whole period. Consequently the rate ratio for industrial workers in comparison with men having a professional/managerial type of occupation increased from 0.98 to 1.43. The slowest decrease is now found among unqualified occupations in services and transportation.
CONCLUSIONS: While Sweden, during the period studied, had narrowing income differentials and low unemployment this result points to the importance of working conditions in understanding trends and distribution of male adult mortality.
1997. Vol. 26, no 4, 782-7 p.