Objectives. The aim was to provide an affordable method of computing socio-economic (SE) deprivation indices at the regional level, in order to reveal the specific aspects of the relationship between SE inequalities and health outcomes. The Umbria Region Socio-Health Index (USHI) was computed and compared with the Italian National Deprivation Index at the Umbria regional level (NDI-U). Methods. The USHI was computed by applying factor analysis to census tract SE variables correlated with general mortality and validated through comparison with the NDI-U. Results. Overall mortality presented linear positive trends in USHI, while trends in NDI-U proved non-linear or non-significant. Similar results were obtained with regard to specific causes of death according to deprivation groups, gender and age. Conclusions. The USHI better describes a local population in terms of health-related SE status. Policy-makers could therefore adopt this method in order to obtain a better picture of SE-associated health conditions in regional populations and to target strategies for reducing health inequalities.
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