The Impact of Socioeconomic Status and Social Class on Health and Wellbeing in the UK

Socioeconomic status and social condition of people have potential impact on their health and wellbeing. Evidence-based studies have shown that the social class and the socio-economic status of human being pose potential influence on their physical, social, economic and environmental determinants of health. Socio-economic status includes education, occupation, income level, access to the healthcare, poverty, nutrition and social designation. This essay aims to discuss how the socio-economic status and social class people in UK have potential impact on their health and wellbeing. With using relevant resources, this essay is going to apply relevant theories that will make comprehensive as well as clear discussion on the overall topic. The reason behind choosing the topic is rising health inequality and healthcare bias in the UK which effect on physical, mental and spiritual health of human being. The overall objective of this essay is to highlight the fact that how different factors of socio-economic condition and social class of UK people impact on their health and wellbeing. In addition to this, the essay will also aim to recommend the strategies that need be taken by UK government to maintain health equality in society.


While it comes to discuss the overall impact of socio-economic status as well as the social condition of UK people on their overall health, it is important to understand different models, themes and theories that are associated with discussing the topic. Different terminologies are going to be used by the essay to make comprehensive discussion of the overall topic such as socio-economic, social situation, social isolation, marginalisation, discrimination and health inequality. As mentioned by Arias-de la Torre et al. (2018), socio-economic means the aspect or situation in which both the social and economic factors are included. On the contrary, many evidence-based studies have mentioned that sometimes socio-economic condition is not just the condition in which the social and economic factors are included rather there may be some other hidden factors such as environmental, psychosocial and demographic factors that indirectly impact on the two main factors. According to Cai et al. (2017), ‘Social isolation’ is described as the situation in which people are excluded from a society based on their social class and socio-economic condition. ‘marginalisation’ is the process in which people are forcefully included in a separate group that is completely different from the mainstream based on poor socio-economic condition and lower social class. Evidence-based report has suggested that all these terms have adverse impact on the overall health and wellbeing of people. In UK, there is high level of social discrimination based on the social class and socio-economic condition people, which impact on their access to healthcare.

The concept of class is diffuse as well as amorphous however it has been observed that the higher the bracket of income that is people in the highest level of society or SES (socio-economic status) receives the best of healthcare benefits. They rise to become further influential than the working or the middle class. They can be a member of a social network which is elite and they can also have access to the powerful people having medical knowledge that is more specified. The inequity of healthcare is referring to that of the unequal distribution of that of hazards of the environment and negating access to that of services of health among groups or demographics. It can be said that there has been a vast movement in the treatment and detection of cancer as a disease however there exist still a disparity in the mortality rates of cancer in relation to that of the social classes and race. As of 1842, it had been seen that the age on average for that of dying in Liverpool was 35 for that of the gentry along with that of professionals however it was only 15 in the case of servants, mechanics, and labourers. This is something that affects adults along with that of children.

Socio-economic condition as well as social status if UK people pose a strong impact on their overall mental physical health. As mentioned by Newton et al. (2017), the occupation and income level of people are associated with pose string impact in social determinants determinant of health. Evidence-based studied have shown, people with lower income level and lack of permanent job facilities are more vulnerable to different chronic and lethal disease as compared to people who reside in the higher income level society and work in organised as well as permanent job sector. On the contrary Oversveen et al. (2017) argued that sometimes it is also seen that people with god income level are also vulnerable toward chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer due to irregular food habit and lack of proper lifestyles. Evidences have suggested that unemployment is one of the major socio-economic issues in eth UK that is the reason behind the increasing rate of health issues in people reside in the lower-income society. In eth context, Radevic et al. (2016) argued that unemployment not only associated with reducing the chances of getting proper access to the high-quality healthcare facilities also leads people towards different malpractices such as addiction to drugs, alcohol and nicotine. In UK majority of young people residing in poor socio-economic class are sufferer of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and lung disease that are considered to be result of the poor habits such as smoking and high level of alcohol consumption. As mentioned by Ruiz-Pérez et al. (2017), the poor socio-economic condition results from lack of proper employment opportunities in society which leads people to have unhealthy practices which not only pose adverse impact on their mental health but also pose adverse impact on that overall physical, emotional and spiritual health.

According to Simandan (2018), health inequality is major social issue in the UK in recent years which is considered to be the effect of social boas and discrimination in et society that is generated due to disparities in socio-economic condition and income level in society. In addition to this, many evidences have suggested that not only the income disparity but also lack of education and poor access to health, are major factors contributing toward developing health inequality in the UK. As mentioned by Radevic et al. (2016), people residing in poor social class are unable to afford costly education for their children. Evidence-based report has stated majority of health disorders attacks people residing in poor social class due to lack of health literacy and proper health education. Many studied have shown that lack of proper social support and governmental support for the people residing in lower economic class are big reasons behind increasing number of disease prevalence in these societies. On supporting this viewpoint, many studies have mentioned that, in London, there are many interior areas in which people residing in lower social class are unable to have any connection with governmental healthcare facilities, such as these people have little access to the healthcare provided by NHS hospitals, NHS staffs primary healthcare staffs, NHS doctors and social care staffs. In addition to this majority of the people residing in poor socio-economic class are unable to access the high-quality healthcare facility due to lack of financial resources.

Evidences have suggested that, although NHS healthcare is free for UK citizens, there are differences in quality of care that is provided to the poor people and that to people residing in higher socio-economic class. For example, in the UK, people residing in higher socio-economic class are able to afford the ventilation facility, modern treatment process and modern medical therapies that are not available for poor people residing in interior areas that make huge disparities in healthcare facilities. As mentioned by Radevic et al. (2016), many evidences show how poor people treated with lower quality NHS treatment facilities as compared to the high society people who receive high-quality care. In the UK, the majority of cases of chronic illness occurs in poor society. While describing reason behind the vulnerability of poor society to chronic disease, Oversveen et al. (2017) mentioned that, people residing in lower socio-economic class are lack of proper health literacy, education, good habits, healthy practices and nutrition, that make their immune system weak, that contributes towards enhanced vulnerability of these poor people towards lethal and chronic illness. UK government needs to take effective strategies in promoting healthy habits, proper nutrition, proper lifestyles and good practices in the economically backward society, that can only be possible by generating proper employment facility and proper education to them. In addition to this, the policy makes needs to make proper reformation of health and social care policy that will assist UK to make better implantation of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 in all types of society to protect poor social class from any kind of health inequality.

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From the overall discussion, it can be stated that health is affected by the socio-economic condition as well as the social class of people. People residing in poor social class in the UK are highly vulnerable to chronic illness due to the poor income level and lack of proper education as well as health literacy. Therefore, it is important for UK government to take proper strategy to improve the overall socio-economic condition of poor people in terms of promoting their health and wellbeing.

Reference list:

Arias-de la Torre, J., Vilagut, G., Martín, V., Molina, A.J. and Alonso, J., 2018. Prevalence of major depressive disorder and association with personal and socio-economic factors. Results for Spain of the European Health Interview Survey 2014–2015. Journal of Affective Disorders, 239, pp.203-207.

Cai, J., Coyte, P.C. and Zhao, H., 2017. Determinants of and socio-economic disparities in self-rated health in China. International journal for equity in health, 16(1), p.7.

Newton, S., Braithwaite, D. and Akinyemiju, T.F., 2017. Socio-economic status over the life course and obesity: Systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 12(5).

Øversveen, E., Rydland, H.T., Bambra, C. and Eikemo, T.A., 2017. Rethinking the relationship between socio-economic status and health: Making the case for sociological theory in health inequality research. Scandinavian journal of public health, 45(2), pp.103-112.

Radevic, S., Kocic, S. and Jakovljevic, M., 2016. Self-assessed health and socioeconomic inequalities in Serbia: data from 2013 National Health Survey. Frontiers in pharmacology, 7, p.140.

Ruiz-Pérez, I., Bermúdez-Tamayo, C. and Rodríguez-Barranco, M., 2017. Socio-economic factors linked with mental health during the recession: a multilevel analysis. International journal for equity in health, 16(1), p.45.

Simandan, D., 2018. Rethinking the health consequences of social class and social mobility. Social Science & Medicine, 200, pp.258-261.

Vuong, Q.H., Vuong, T.T., Ho, T.M. and Nguyen, H.V., 2017. Psychological and socio-economic factors affecting social sustainability through impacts on perceived health care quality and public health: The case of Vietnam. Sustainability, 9(8), p.1456.

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