Objectives: To assess the association between multiple indicators of socioeconomic position and dementia-related death, and to estimate the contribution of dementia to socioeconomic differences in overall mortality at older ages. Design: Prospective population-based register study. Setting: Finland. Participants: 11% random sample of the population aged 70-87 years resident in Finland at the end of year 2000 (n=54 964). Main outcome measure: Incidence rates, Kaplan-Meier survival probabilities and Cox regression HRs of dementia mortality in 2001-2016 by midlife education, occupational social class and household income measured at ages 53-57 years. Results: During the 528 387 person-years at risk, 11 395 individuals died from dementia (215.7 per 10 000 person-years). Lower midlife education, occupational social class and household income were associated with higher dementia mortality, and the differences persisted to the oldest old ages. Compared with mortality from all other causes, however, the socioeconomic differences emerged later. Dementia accounted for 28% of the difference between low and high education groups in overall mortality at age 70+ years, and for 21% of the difference between lowest and highest household income quintiles. All indicators of socioeconomic position were independently associated with dementia mortality, low household income being the strongest independent predictor (HR=1.24, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.32), followed by basic education (HR=1.14, 1.06 to 1.23). Manual occupational social class was related to a 6% higher hazard (HR=1.06, 1.01 to 1.11) compared with non-manual social class. Adjustment for midlife economic activity, baseline marital status and chronic health conditions attenuated the excess hazard of low midlife household income, although significant effects remained. Conclusion: Several indicators of socioeconomic position predict dementia mortality independently and socioeconomic inequalities persist into the oldest old ages. The results demonstrate that dementia is among the most important contributors to socioeconomic inequalities in overall mortality at older ages.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Alzheimer's disease, dementia, register study, socioeconomic factors
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033234, hdl.handle.net/1765/126795
Series MINDMAP
Journal BMJ Open
Citation
Korhonen, K. (Kaarina), Einiö, E. (Elina), Leinonen, T. (Taina), Tarkiainen, L. (Lasse), & Martikainen, P. (2020). Midlife socioeconomic position and old-age dementia mortality: A large prospective register-based study from Finland. BMJ Open, 10(1). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033234