Friday, April 22, 2005

UNEMPLOYMENT KILLS!

Whenever you have large scale or long-lasting unemployment you also have an increase in ill health, substance abuse, family break up, suicide and other forms of premature death. Furthermore, unemployment has a very negative effect on medical and social costs. This information comes from a series of studies done in Finland,Denmark, and Canada.

The following are the finding of Does Unemployment Cause Mortality? By Pekka Martikainen, Population Research Unit, Department of Sociology University of Helsinki.

“Previous observational follow-up studies of individuals have shown that mortality rates among the unemployed are higher than among the employed... Two mechanisms may explain this excess mortality. Causal effects of unemployment: Becoming jobless and prolonged redundancy have negative effects on health and increase the risk of premature death. The causal effects of unemployment are mainly assumed to be mediated through increased psychosocial stress, tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as loss of income and material deprivation."

“…Total mortality among unemployed men is 2.54 times higher than among employed men. This excess mortality falls by almost 40 per cent when sociodemographic background variables available at the census are simultaneously adjusted for. Nonetheless, relative excess mortality of 1.93 still remains. Adjusted relative death rate among unemployed men is higher for accidents and violence than it is for diseases, 2.51 and 1.70, respectively. Highest relative mortality prevails in alcohol related diseases, respiratory diseases and alcohol poisonings. Excess mortality is also more pronounced for circulatory diseases than cancer.”

The Danish Study concludes:

“This prospective study suggests that high local unemployment and individuals’ experience of unemployment increase mortality risk, even after adjustment for other social and behavioral factors.” (1)

According to the Canadian Public Health Association:

“…the literature shows a strong positive relationship between unemployment and ill health. Canada has a high prevalence of unemployment, and there are high, direct, health care and societal costs resulting from current unemployment trends. Based on these assumptions, the total excess annual cost of health care in Canada attributable to the unemployment level in 1993 was $845 million, for 12.3% unemployed or $1,085 million for 15% unemployed…. 2

Statscan agrees with this study stating,

“Unemployed people tend to experience more health problems. Long-term unemployment could extend ones' susceptibility to poor health.”

So isn’t it about time that unemployment-causing neocon politicians got charged with first degree murder?

Footnotes
1. High local unemployment and increased mortality in Danish adults;
M Osler, U Christensen, R Lund, M Gamborg, N Godtfredsen and E Prescott, Department of Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, and The Copenhagen Centre of Prospective Population Studies, Danish Epidemiology Science Centre at the Institute of Preventive Medicine, HS: Copenhagen University Hospital

2. Discussion Paper on The Health Impact of Unemployment - Canadian Public Health Association

3. Statscan Health Indicators

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