Multi-scalar influences on mortality change over time in 274 European cities

Elizabeth Richardson, Graham Moon, Jamie Pearce, Niamh Shortt, Richard Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Understanding determinants of urban health is of growing importance. Factors at multiple scales intertwine to influence health in cities but, with the growing autonomy of some cities from their countries, city population health may be becoming more a matter for city-level rather than national-level policy and action. We assess the importance of city, country, and macroregional (Western and East-Central Europe) scales to mortality change over time for 274 cities (population 80 million) from 27 European countries. We then investigate whether mortality changes over time are related to changes in city-level affluence. Using Urban Audit data, all-age all-cause standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) for males and females were calculated at three time points (wave one 1999–2002, wave two 2003–2006, and wave three 2007–2009) for each city. Multilevel regression was used to model the SMRs as a function of survey wave and city region gross domestic product (GDP) per 1000 capita. SMRs declined over time and the substantial East-West gap narrowed slightly. Variation at macroregion and country scales characterised SMRs for women in Western and East-Central European cities, and SMRs for men in East-Central European cities. Between-city variation was evident for male SMRs in Western Europe. Changes in city-region GDP per capita were not associated with changes in mortality over the study period. Our results show how geographical scales differentially impact urban mortality. We conclude that changes in urban health should be seen in both city and wider national and macroregional contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45–51
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Early online date24 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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