Income trajectories and self-rated health status in the UK

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In line with the wide recognition of the connection between socioeconomic status and health outcomes, attention in the recent literature is extending the static perspective to the dynamic implications of income on health. This study contributes to the growing literature on the income-health nexus by evaluating income dynamics on various self-rated health measures in the UK. We explore the impact of different indicators of income experiences on self-rated health and wellbeing outcomes using data from the 11 Waves of Understanding Society UK Household Longitudinal Study between 2009 and 2019. First, we estimate a fixed-effects ordered logit model for various health and wellbeing measures, allowing us to control for unobserved time-invariant heterogeneity. Second, we evaluate the effects of income trajectories by linking longitudinal household income to cross-sectional health outcomes. Our results confirm the general evidence of positive impacts of increasing family income on health. Besides, we find that stability in income position is strongly associated with improved health and wellbeing. On the other hand, income volatility increases the odds of reporting poor health outcomes, particularly for those in low-income households. Also, more years spent in a lower-income quartile reduces the odds of reporting improved self-rated health. Finally, the significant difference in the estimated effects of income before and after 2016 highlights the significant shifts in the effects of income trajectories on self-reported health and wellbeing following the National Living Wage policy implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101035
Number of pages10
JournalSSM - Population Health
Early online date28 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022


  • income trajectories
  • self-rated health
  • panel data
  • fixed effects
  • United Kingdom


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