Updated: interactive atlases of health inequalities


WHO/Europe’s interactive atlases of health inequalities are a tool to assess inequalities in social determinants of health, as well as the resources, outputs, outcomes and effects of health care at the subnational level in countries of the European Union (EU), candidate countries and some other countries. The atlases use publicly available data from EUROSTAT (the statistical office of the EU) to identify and visualize inequalities between national subregions.

WHO/Europe updated the atlases with the most recent data available from the EUROSTAT database in November 2012. Compared to the previous version, the following changes were made.

  • The classification of geographical regions was changed from the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) 2006 classification to NUTS 2010. To maximize data availability, data according to either the NUTS 2010 or NUTS 2006 classification system were used for the following regions: Chemnitz and Leipzig, Germany; and Cheshire and Merseyside, United Kingdom.
  • Data for Croatia and Denmark were previously available only at the national level; they are now available at the NUTS 2 level.
  • National-level data were included for Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

About the interactive atlases of health inequities

Inequalities in health are increasing in the WHO European Region. They exist between population groups within the same country and between countries across the Region. These inequalities lead to greater vulnerabilities in populations and increased differences in health behaviours and outcomes between population groups. At the same time, a number of countries are devolving more responsibility for health systems to the regional level, leading to more demand from policy-makers for health information at this level. 

With the European Commission, WHO/Europe undertook a project called “Inequalities in health system performance and social determinants in Europe – tools for assessment and information sharing”. Its aim is to provide policy-makers with practical tools and resources to build know-how and capacity for effective action on socially determined health inequalities, with a particular focus on health systems’ actions. The interactive atlases of health inequalities are one of the tools developed as part of this project.