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Unemployment and health in the German population: results from a 2005 microcensus

Arbeitslosigkeit und Gesundheit in der deutschen Bevölkerung: Ergebnisse des Mikrozensus 2005
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Hollederer, Alfons

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Abstract Background: Although the health sciences have been observing the negative impact of mass unemployment on health for some time now, health reporting remains fragmentary. Methods: The 2005 microcensus was conducted as an official random sample survey. A total of 380,000 households, comprising 820,000 individuals, took part. Providing health information was optional, with a response ratio of about 85%. The Scientific Use File contains a 70% subsample of the data set. Results: As of the survey date, average annual illness rates for 2005 were 6.5% among unemployed and 26.6% among inactive persons seeking to work (not available). If unemployed and inactive persons seeking to work were pooled into the single group of "job seekers", their average annual illness rate was 8.8%. This was significantly higher than for employed individuals, whose rate was 4.4%. However, the age-standardised odds ratios decreased from 2.2 to 1.8 for female job seekers and from 2.2 to 1.6 for male job seekers after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, family type, household structure, education, vocational training, socioeconomic variables, disabilities, smoking status, and other factors. The children of job seekers who are the principal income earners were more than proportionally ill at the survey date, too. In multivariate model calculations, among persons who had been unemployed a year before, an illness lasting more than 12 months had the strongest impact on chances for present employment. Chances for reintegration were likewise substantially lower for persons with a disability. Conclusion: The microcensus analyses confirm the multifarious interactions between health and occupational status. Unemployment constitutes a present challenge for public health.
Keywords unemployment; health; illness; disability; Federal Republic of Germany; health status; economically non-active population; microcensus; morbidity; population; socioeconomic factors; age; nationality
Classification Medical Sociology; Health Policy
Method empirical; quantitative empirical
Free Keywords unemployment and health; illness; disability; German 2005 microcensus
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 257-268
Journal Journal of Public Health, 19 (2010) 3
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)