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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Dr Adetayo Kasim

Copeland, A., Kasim, A. & Bambra, C. (2015). Grim up North or Northern Grit? Recessions and the English spatial health divide (1991-2010). Journal of Public Health 37(1): 34-39.

Author(s) from Durham


Background Previous research suggests that the health effects of recessions are mixed and vary spatially between countries. Using the North-South English health divide as an example, this paper examines whether there are also spatial variations within countries.

Methods Cross-sectional data on self-reported ‘not good health’ was obtained from the British Household Panel Survey and the Health Survey for England from 1991 to 2010. Age-adjusted generalized linear models were used to examine the effects of recessions (1990/91 and 2008/09) on self-reported health in the four English NHS Commissioning Regions (North, South, Midlands and London) with stratification by gender.

Results Over the 20-year study period, the North had consistently higher rates of ‘not good health’ than the South [OR 1.50 (1.46–1.55) outside recessions and OR 1.29 (1.19–1.39) during recessions]. However, during periods of recession, this health divide narrowed slightly with a 2% decrease in the prevalence of ‘not good health’ in the North [OR 0.91 (0.86, 0.96)].

Conclusion This study is evidence of spatial variations in the health effects of recessions within England and the North-South divide appears to slightly reduce during recessions. Health in the North remains worse than the South.