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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2019

Examining income-related inequality in health literacy and health-information seeking among urban population in China

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2019
Chengxiang Tang, Xueji Wu, Xiongfei Chen, Bingying Pan, Xiaocong Yang
Wichtige Hinweise
These authors contributed equally to this study and share the first authorship.



Health literacy and health-information seeking behaviour (HISB) play vital roles in health outcome improvements. This study examines the extent of income-related inequality in health literacy and health-information seeking as well as the contributions of the main socioeconomic determinants in China.


We analysed representative data of participants aged over 18 years as well as older adults from the Guangzhou Community Health Survey. A concentration index (CI) was used to quantify the degree of income-related inequity in health literacy and health-information seeking. Probit regression models were employed to decompose the CI into the contributions to each factor.


Results showed a significant pro-rich distribution of adequate health literacy (CI: 0.0602, P < 0.001; horizontal index [HI]: 0.0562, P < 0.001) and HISB from healthcare professionals (CI: 0.105, P < 0.001; HI: 0.0965, P < 0.001). The pro-rich distribution of health literacy was mainly attributable to education background (contribution: 54.76%), whereas income inequalities contributed most to the pro-rich distribution of health-information seeking among an urban population (contribution: 62.53%).


Public interventions in China to reduce inequality in health literacy and HISBs among the urban population, coupled with easily accessible information sources on health, warrant further attention from policymakers.
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