A review on socioeconomic position indicators in health inequality research

Yong Jun Choi, Baek Geun Jeong, Sung Il Cho, Kyunghee Jung-Choi, Soong Nang Jang, Minah Kang, Young Ho Khang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: Socioeconomic position (SEP) refers to the socioeconomic factors that influence which position an individual or group of people will hold within the structure of a society. In this study, we provide a comprehensive review of various indicators of SEP, including education level, occupation-based SEP, income and wealth, area SEP, lifecourse SEP, and SEP indicators for women, elderly and youth. Methods and results: This report provides a brief theoretical background and discusses the measurement, interpretation issues, advantages and limitations associated with the use of each SEP indicator. We also describe some problems that arise when selecting SEP indicators and highlight the indicators that appear to be appropriate for health inequality research. Some practical information for use in health inequality research in South Korea is also presented. Conclusions: Investigation into the associations between various SEP indicators and health outcomes can provide a more complete understanding of mechanisms between SEP and health. The relationship between specific SEP indicators and specific health outcomes can vary by country due to the differences in the historical, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts of the SEP indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-486
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Education
  • Income
  • Korea
  • Occupations
  • Socioeconomic factors


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