Death rates six times higher in poor areas, ESRI report finds

Study highlights role of alcohol in driving gap in life expectancy across social groups

Overall, death rates have been falling for over half a century, but the rate of improvement across social groups varied greatly during the boom, Prof Richard Layte of the ESRI said. Photograph: Getty Images

Overall, death rates have been falling for over half a century, but the rate of improvement across social groups varied greatly during the boom, Prof Richard Layte of the ESRI said. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Death rates in the most deprived parts of the State are up to six times higher than in more affluent areas, a conference on health inequalities has heard.

Specific areas on the northsides of Dublin and Cork have death rates up to four time higher than other parts of the two cities, the conference organised by the Economic and Social Research Institute heard.

Differences in death rates in Ireland tend to follow an urban/rural divide rather than the north/south divide seen in the UK, according to Dr Jan Rigby of the Department of Geography of NUI Maynooth.

North Clondalkin in Dublin had the highest death rate among under-75s, at 594.2 per 100,000, in 2011, according to an atlas of death rates developed by Dr Rigby. Other areas of Dublin with a death rate over 500 were Ballybough Croke Park, Merchants Quay North and Cherry Orchard.

In Cork, the north-west of the city had a death rate of 525, while the highest death rate in Limerick was in the north-east of the city, at 463.

Other areas with high death rates were Crumlin East, Ballymun East, Priorswood West and Kilmainham East/Ushers North in Dublin,

In contrast, the death rate was under 120 in Lucan East and Castleknock south-east in Dublin, and Westport, Co Mayo. Wicklow East and Botanic South in Dublin also recorded low rates of under 130.

Overall, death rates have been falling for over half a century, but the rate of improvement across social groups varied greatly during the boom, Prof Richard Layte of the ESRI said.

“Ireland is becoming a safer, healthier place. Everybody dies but at a later age than before. However, the benefits are not shared equally and we need to think about appropriate policy responses to this,” he said.

Economic growth during the Celtic Tiger years may have been associated with higher alcohol consumption and greater disease, he suggested, as well as an increase in external causes of death, such as suicide, assaults and workplace accidents, among manual workers. Increasing alcohol consumption may also have played a role in these external causes of death, particularly suicides and assaults.

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