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Unequal: Social inequalities in health

Unequal: Social Inequalities in Health is a short video illustrating the effects of social inequalities on the life-long health of Montrealers. Using clear graphics, the video depicts evident health disparities between the underprivileged and the affluent. Each of these two socioeconomic groups comprises approximately 1/5 of Montreal’s population.

Overall, the underprivileged group has higher infant mortality rates, more frequent and longer hospital stays, and contains more single-parent households. Members of this group are more likely to experience developmental delays in childhood, food insecurity, and have lower self-perceived mental and physical health. The underprivileged group also contains fewer high school graduates and consequently holds slimmer job prospects, lower salaries, and harsher working conditions. The narrator explains “Thus, the socioeconomic status in which Montrealers are born and grow up largely explain why not everyone is equal in sickness and in health.” The unequal social factors accumulate over time, creating ever-increasing health disparities. Unequal closes by imagining the unmet potential of the underprivileged group brought on by the social inequalities outlined in the video. 

The video is a project of Santé Montréal, part of their Vivre une île en santé campaign. The video’s webpage includes additional findings and actions related to social inequality in Montreal and across Canada.

Use this resource to

  • initiate public discussion on what social inequalities are and how they affect health.
  • illustrate the accumulated effects of health disparities over a lifetime.
  • demonstrate how city-level socioeconomic data can support public health projects?


Santé Montréal. (2014). Unequal: Social Inequalities in Health. Retrieved from

Tags: Income inequality, Key concepts, Methods & tools, Modify & orient, Policy analysis, Public health unit / health authority, Socioeconomic status , Video

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