Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health in China: A Reassessment with Data from the 2010-2012 China Family Panel Studies

Despite well documented high levels of socioeconomic inequalities, health gradients by socioeconomic status (SES) in contemporary China have been reported to be limited. Using data from the 2010–2012 China Family Panel Studies, we reexamine associations between three sets of SES—human capital, material conditions, and political capital—and self-rated health among Chinese adults 18–70 years old, capitalizing on anchoring vignette data to adjust for reporting heterogeneity. We find strong evidence of substantial variations in reporting behaviors by education, cognition, and family wealth but not by family income or political capital. Failing to correct for reporting heterogeneity can bias the estimates of SES gradients in self-rated health as much as nearly 40 %. After vignette adjustment, we find significantly positive associations of education, family income, wealth, and political capital with self-rated health. Individuals’ cognitive capacity, however, does not predict self-rated health.