Discussion paper

DP15974 Dementia and Disadvantage in the United States and England

We compare dementia prevalence and how it varies by socioeconomic status (SES) across the United States and England. We compare between country differences in age-gender standardized dementia prevalence, across the SES gradient. Dementia prevalence was estimated in each country using an algorithm based on an identical battery of demographic, cognitive, and functional measures. Dementia prevalence is higher among the disadvantaged in both countries, with the United States being more unequal according to four measures of SES. Once past health factors and education were controlled for, most of the within country inequalities disappeared; however, the cross-country difference in prevalence for those in lowest income decile remained disproportionately high. This provides evidence that disadvantage in the United States is a disproportionately high risk factor for dementia.


French, E, J McCauley, E Brunner and K Arapakis (2021), ‘DP15974 Dementia and Disadvantage in the United States and England‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 15974. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15974