Health for Everyone?

Social Inequalities in Health and Health Systems

image of Health for Everyone?

Good health is a key component of people’s well-being. It is a value in itself but – through its influence on social, education and labour market outcomes – being in good or bad health has also wider implications on people’s chances of leading a fulfilling and productive life. Yet, even in the OECD countries, health inequality persists with severe consequences on the goal of promoting inclusive growth. This report documents a comprehensive range of inequalities in health and health systems to the detriment of disadvantaged population groups in a large set of OECD and EU countries. It assesses the gaps in health outcomes and risk factors between different socio-economic groups. When it comes to health systems, the report measures inequalities in health care utilisation, unmet needs and the affordability of health care services. For each of these different domains, the report identifies groups of countries that display higher, intermediate, and low levels of inequality. The report makes a strong case for addressing health-related inequalities as a key component of a policy strategy to promote inclusive growth and reduce social inequalities. It also provides a framework for more in-depth analyses on how to address these inequalities at country level.



Executive summary

Health is one of the main components of a good life. In addition to having value in itself, good health also translates into a better chance of succeeding in education and in the labour market – ultimately contributing to enhance opportunities for people to improve their standing in life. At the same time, inequalities in income and educational attainment contribute to health inequality. Ensuring that everyone, regardless of socio-economic circumstances, has access to the health system can help make sure that economic prosperity is shared by the entire population.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error