INEQ-CITIES has applied a cross-sectional ecological design using mortality data from census tracts (or comparable small areas) in 16 cities in 13 European countries.

The leading causes of death and the main causes of avoidable mortality for men and women were studied, by looking at the expected number of deaths in each small area using age-specific European mortality rates.  The units of analysis for the study were census tracts (or comparable small areas).  In each area, smoothed Standardised Mortality Ratios (sSMR) were calculated using generalised linear models.  

The target population of the INEQ-CITIES Project were the entire urban populations living in the cities included in the study.  This focus is important because knowledge and strategies required to reduce social inequalities in health benefit the whole population by addressing the social gradient of health.  However, certain population groups are more adversely affected by social inequalities in health.  In particular women, children, individuals living in poverty and those from disadvantaged social backgrounds often suffer higher morbidity and mortality.  Therefore, the statistical analysis was conducted separately for men and women, as well as for children and the working population.

Social and health policies aimed to reduce and tackle health inequalities in Europe at the city level have also been examined using a review of the published literature, reports produced by the city's authorities (known as "grey literature"), and questionnaires and interviews with city policymakers.  These interventions were then analysed with a critical and comparative policy perspective in order:

  • To evaluate and compare the commitment of local authorities to reduce health inequalities;
  • To compare their respective strategies, objectives, methods and results;
  • To pinpoint lessons learnt from the successes and failures of past policies; and
  • To develop recommendations about further policies to be implemented and compared between European cities. 

Lastly, the INEQ-CITIES Project carried out an inventory of social and health interventions using EU structural funds over the last 15 years.