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Concept: Socioeconomics


The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), which was introduced in 2008 in India, is a social health insurance scheme that aims to improve healthcare access and provide financial risk protection to the poor. In this study, we analyse the determinants of participation and enrolment in the scheme at the level of districts. We used official data on RSBY enrolment, socioeconomic data from the District Level Household Survey 2007-2008, and additional state-level information on fiscal health, political affiliation, and quality of governance. Results from multivariate probit and OLS analyses suggest that political and institutional factors are among the strongest determinants explaining the variation in participation and enrolment in RSBY. In particular, districts in state governments that are politically affiliated with the opposition or neutral parties at the centre are more likely to participate in RSBY, and have higher levels of enrolment. Districts in states with a lower quality of governance, a pre-existing state-level health insurance scheme, or with a lower level of fiscal deficit as compared to GDP, are significantly less likely to participate, or have lower enrolment rates. Among socioeconomic factors, we find some evidence of weak or imprecise targeting. Districts with a higher share of socioeconomically backward castes are less likely to participate, and their enrolment rates are also lower. Finally, districts with more non-poor households may be more likely to participate, although with lower enrolment rates.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Health insurance, Politics, Sociology, Socioeconomics, Public finance, Political party


OBJECTIVE The authors examined midlife outcomes of childhood bullying victimization. METHOD Data were from the British National Child Development Study, a 50-year prospective cohort of births in 1 week in 1958. The authors conducted ordinal logistic and linear regressions on data from 7,771 participants whose parents reported bullying exposure at ages 7 and 11 years, and who participated in follow-up assessments between ages 23 and 50 years. Outcomes included suicidality and diagnoses of depression, anxiety disorders, and alcohol dependence at age 45; psychological distress and general health at ages 23 and 50; and cognitive functioning, socioeconomic status, social relationships, and well-being at age 50. RESULTS Participants who were bullied in childhood had increased levels of psychological distress at ages 23 and 50. Victims of frequent bullying had higher rates of depression (odds ratio=1.95, 95% CI=1.27-2.99), anxiety disorders (odds ratio=1.65, 95% CI=1.25-2.18), and suicidality (odds ratio=2.21, 95% CI=1.47-3.31) than their nonvictimized peers. The effects were similar to those of being placed in public or substitute care and an index of multiple childhood adversities, and the effects remained significant after controlling for known correlates of bullying victimization. Childhood bullying victimization was associated with a lack of social relationships, economic hardship, and poor perceived quality of life at age 50. CONCLUSIONS Children who are bullied-and especially those who are frequently bullied-continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after exposure. Interventions need to reduce bullying exposure in childhood and minimize long-term effects on victims' well-being; such interventions should cast light on causal processes.

Concepts: Psychology, Cohort study, Sociology, Cognition, Abuse, Bullying, Victimisation, Socioeconomics


Geographic disparities in life expectancy are substantial and not fully explained by differences in race and socioeconomic status. To develop policies that address these inequalities, it is essential to identify other factors that account for this variation. In this study we investigated whether population well-being-a comprehensive measure of physical, mental, and social health-helps explain geographic variation in life expectancy. At the county level, we found that for every 1-standard-deviation (4.2-point) increase in the well-being score, life expectancy was 1.9 years higher for females and 2.6 years higher for males. Life expectancy and well-being remained positively associated, even after race, poverty, and education were controlled for. In addition, well-being partially mediated the established associations of race, poverty, and education with life expectancy. These findings highlight well-being as an important metric of a population’s health and longevity and as a promising focus for intervention.

Concepts: Demography, Population, Life expectancy, World population, Maximum life span, Socioeconomics, Human Development Index, Longevity


Future impacts of climate change on marine fisheries have the potential to negatively influence a wide range of socio-economic factors, including food security, livelihoods and public health, and even to reshape development trajectories and spark transboundary conflict. Yet there is considerable variability in the vulnerability of countries around the world to these effects. We calculate a vulnerability index of 147 countries by drawing on the most recent data related to the impacts of climate change on marine fisheries. Building on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change framework for vulnerability, we first construct aggregate indices for exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity using 12 primary variables. Seven out of the ten most vulnerable countries on the resulting index are Small Island Developing States, and the top quartile of the index includes countries located in Africa (17), Asia (7), North America and the Caribbean (4) and Oceania (8). More than 87% of least developed countries are found within the top half of the vulnerability index, while the bottom half includes all but one of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member states. This is primarily due to the tremendous variation in countries' adaptive capacity, as no such trends are evident from the exposure or sensitivity indices. A negative correlation exists between vulnerability and per capita carbon emissions, and the clustering of states at different levels of development across the vulnerability index suggests growing barriers to meeting global commitments to reducing inequality, promoting human well-being and ensuring sustainable cities and communities. The index provides a useful tool for prioritizing the allocation of climate finance, as well as activities aimed at capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.

Concepts: United States, Developed country, Climate change, North America, Index, Socioeconomics, Human Development Index, Development


As general living standards rise, so does the demand for periodic general health examinations (GHEs). Research on the subject, however, has reached opposing conclusions on the value of GHEs, although methodological limitations in previous works make these differences hard to resolve. Here, we present data from a socio-demographic survey of behaviours and tendencies concerning periodic GHE attendance in Vietnam. These data are shown to be suitable for evaluating the impact of demographic and socio-economic elements on regular health examinations. By presenting the methods used in this survey and by describing the enquiries mentioned in the dataset, this article aims to promote data-collecting methodologies that can help policy-makers and health communicators derive practical conclusions.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Epistemology, Data, Subject, Methodology, Vietnam, Socioeconomics


Adaptive accounts of modern low human fertility argue that small family size maximizes the inheritance of socioeconomic resources across generations and may consequently increase long-term fitness. This study explores the long-term impacts of fertility and socioeconomic position (SEP) on multiple dimensions of descendant success in a unique Swedish cohort of 14 000 individuals born during 1915-1929. We show that low fertility and high SEP predict increased descendant socioeconomic success across four generations. Furthermore, these effects are multiplicative, with the greatest benefits of low fertility observed when SEP is high. Low fertility and high SEP do not, however, predict increased descendant reproductive success. Our results are therefore consistent with the idea that modern fertility limitation represents a strategic response to the local costs of rearing socioeconomically competitive offspring, but contradict adaptive models suggesting that it maximizes long-term fitness. This indicates a conflict in modern societies between behaviours promoting socioeconomic versus biological success. This study also makes a methodological contribution, demonstrating that the number of offspring strongly predicts long-term fitness and thereby validating use of fertility data to estimate current selective pressures in modern populations. Finally, our findings highlight that differences in fertility and SEP can have important long-term effects on the persistence of social inequalities across generations.

Concepts: Scientific method, Natural selection, United States, Sociology, Fertility, ARIA Charts, Socioeconomics, Income inequality metrics


Zimbabwe underwent a socioeconomic crisis and resultant increase in food insecurity in 2008-9. The impact of the crisis on Tuberculosis (TB) incidence is unknown.

Concepts: Tuberculosis, Sustainability, Peak oil, Socioeconomics


Objectives. We investigated the role of socioeconomic factors in Black-White disparities in preterm birth (PTB). Methods. We used the population-based California Maternal and Infant Health Assessment survey and birth certificate data on 10‚ÄČ400 US-born Black and White California residents who gave birth during 2003 to 2010 to examine rates and relative likelihoods of PTB among Black versus White women, with adjustment for multiple socioeconomic factors and covariables. Results. Greater socioeconomic advantage was generally associated with lower PTB rates among White but not Black women. There were no significant Black-White disparities within the most socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroups; Black-White disparities were seen only within more advantaged subgroups. Conclusions. Socioeconomic factors play an important but complex role in PTB disparities. The absence of Black-White disparities in PTB within certain socioeconomic subgroups, alongside substantial disparities within others, suggests that social factors moderate the disparity. Further research should explore social factors suggested by the literature-including life course socioeconomic experiences and racism-related stress, and the biological pathways through which they operate-as potential contributors to PTB among Black and White women with different levels of social advantage. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print September 11, 2014: e1-e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302008).

Concepts: Childbirth, Black people, Sociology, United Kingdom, South Africa, Race, White people, Socioeconomics


More than 330 million people are still living in extreme poverty in Africa. Timely, accurate, and spatially fine-grained baseline data are essential to determining policy in favor of reducing poverty. The potential of “Big Data” to estimate socioeconomic factors in Africa has been proven. However, most current studies are limited to using a single data source. We propose a computational framework to accurately predict the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) at a finest spatial granularity and coverage of 552 communes in Senegal using environmental data (related to food security, economic activity, and accessibility to facilities) and call data records (capturing individualistic, spatial, and temporal aspects of people). Our framework is based on Gaussian Process regression, a Bayesian learning technique, providing uncertainty associated with predictions. We perform model selection using elastic net regularization to prevent overfitting. Our results empirically prove the superior accuracy when using disparate data (Pearson correlation of 0.91). Our approach is used to accurately predict important dimensions of poverty: health, education, and standard of living (Pearson correlation of 0.84-0.86). All predictions are validated using deprivations calculated from census. Our approach can be used to generate poverty maps frequently, and its diagnostic nature is, likely, to assist policy makers in designing better interventions for poverty eradication.

Concepts: Scientific method, Regression analysis, Africa, Poverty, Prediction, Futurology, Dimension, Socioeconomics