Indicators of Socioeconomic Position

Socioeconomic position (SEP), frequently used in health related research, represents a complex and often undefined set of factors. This article presents the second half of a comprehensive glossary of indicators of SEP. The authors describe what each indicator attempts to measure along with how data are collected and the advantages and limitation of each indicator. Part one of the glossary was published in a previous issue. This second part of the glossary highlights a life course approach.

Key Findings:

  • Measures presented include occupational based measures, proxy indicators (i.e. number of siblings, maternal mortality, etc.), wealth, working life indicators and exclusion from the labor market, composite indicators, area level measures and life course socioeconomic position.
  • Additional research toward a more complete etiological understanding of socioeconomic health differentials should focus on the specific causal links between particular SEP indicators and various health outcomes.