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The link between education, income and life expectancy is likely to become stronger. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the unequal exposure to health risks in populations and these inequalities are likely to continue and possibly widen. There is a geographical dimension to the growing health inequalities: regions most affected by depopulation and ageing have seen the dismantling of their health care services and a decline in the quality of care. EU countries whose health-care professionals migrated to other countries for better work opportunities are now facing shortages in hospitals, with dire consequences for their response to the crisis. There is evidence of a mental health pandemic going on in parallel to COVID-19 that will also have long-lasting social and economic effects. People who have experienced discrimination tend to have lower trust in institutions and are less likely to get vaccinated.

Widening health-related inequalities

KEY TRENDS

Widening inequalities