Housing Conditions and Mortality in Belgium (1991-2016)

Joan Damiens, Université Catholique de Louvain

In the Western countries, including Belgium, life expectancy has increased over the last decades, as well as social inequalities facing health and mortality. Existing research so far tended to approximate socioeconomic status with the level of educational attainment, occupational status or income. Housing is yet another socioeconomic factor that is up to now much less considered when studying inequalities in mortality. Indeed, housing is a complex and multidimensional element impacting several aspects of a person’s health and well-being (physical, mental and social). The data used in this research are the result of the coupling of the population censuses of 1991, 2001 and 2011 and the National Register. They cover the entire population of Belgium over 25 years. Through life tables analysis and multivariate logistic regression models, this research contributes to existing research by setting trends in housing conditions between 1991 and 2016 in relation to social inequalities in health and mortality over this period in Belgium, and by showing that housing conditions have a specific effect on the risk of death, in addition to other socio-economic characteristics. Ensuring good housing conditions seems a necessary step to reduce inequalities that should be considered in social policies.

Presented in Session 9: Mortality and Longevity