Richard G. Wilkinson

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Richard G. Wilkinson
Wilkinson in 2005
Born 1943 (age 71–72)
Fields Social epidemiology
Economic inequality
Institutions University of Nottingham
University College London
University of York
University of Sussex
Alma mater London School of Economics
University of Pennsylvania
University of Nottingham
Known for The Spirit Level

Richard Gerald Wilkinson (born 1943) is a British social epidemiologist, author and advocate. He is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, having retired in 2008. He is also Honorary Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London[1] and Visiting Professor at University of York. In 2009, Richard co-founded The Equality Trust. Richard was awarded a 2013 Silver Rose Award from Solidar for championing equality and the 2014 Charles Cully Memorial Medal by the Irish Cancer Society.

He is best known for his book with Kate Pickett The Spirit Level, first published in 2009, which shows that societies with more equal distribution of incomes have better health, fewer social problems such as violence, drug abuse, teenage births, mental illness, obesity, and others, and are more cohesive than ones in which the gap between the rich and poor is greater.


Richard Wilkinson was educated at Leighton Park School and Reading Technical College.[2] He studied economic history at the London School of Economics. He then earned a Masters at the University of Pennsylvania.[2] His University of Nottingham Masters of Medical Science thesis was "Socio-economic Factors in Mortality Differentials" (1976).[3]


Wilkinson's first book, Poverty and Progress was published by Methuen in 1973. He was a research student on a Health Education Council fellowship at the Department of Community Health, University of Nottingham and spent a year on a large-scale computer analysis of the possible causes of different health outcomes and social strata.[4]

On 16 December 1976, his article entitled 'Dear David Ennals'[4] was published in New Society; at that time, David Ennals was Secretary of State for Social Services. The article led eventually to the 1980 publication of the Black Report on Inequalities in Health. He was also Senior Research Fellow at the Trafford Centre for Medical Research of the University of Sussex in 2001.[5]

Wilkinson retired from his post as a professor of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham in 2008. He was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor. He is also Honorary Professor at University College London. In 2009 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett founded the Equality Trust, which seeks to explain the benefits of a more equal society and campaigns for greater income equality.[6]



  • Poverty and progress: an ecological model of economic development. Methuen, 1973. ISBN 0-416-08660-8 ISBN 0416776000
  • Class and health : research and longitudinal data, edited by Richard G. Wilkinson for the Economic and Social Research Council. Tavistock, 1986. ISBN 0-422-60360-0
  • Income and Health, Allison Quick and Richard G. Wilkinson. Socialist Health Association, 1991. ISBN 0-900687-17-7
  • Health and social organization : towards a health policy for the twenty-first century, edited by David Blane, Eric Brunner and Richard G. Wilkinson. Routledge, 1996.ISBN 0415130700
  • Unfair shares: the effects of widening income differences on the welfare of the young. Dr Barnado’s, 1995. ISBN 0-902046-16-0
  • Unhealthy Societies: The Affliction of Inequality. London: Routledge, 1996. ISBN 0-415-09234-5 ISBN 0415092353 (pbk.)
  • The society and population health reader, edited by Ichiro Kawachi, Bruce P. Kennedy and Richard G. Wilkinson. V.1, Income inequality and health. New York : New Press, 1999. ISBN 1-56584-526-9
  • Mind the gap: hierarchies, health and human evolution. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000. (Darwinism today series) ISBN 0-297-64648-6 and Yale ISBN 978-0-300-08953-0
  • The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier. New York: The New Press, 2005. UK: Routledge ISBN 978-0-415-37268-8 ISBN 978-0-415-37269-5 (pbk)
  • Social determinants of health, edited by Michael Marmot and Richard G. Wilkinson. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-19-856589-5 Previous edition: 1999.
  • The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better (with K. Pickett). Allen Lane, 2009. ISBN 978-1-84614-039-6
  • Health and inequality major themes in health and social welfare, edited by Kate E. Pickett and Richard G. Wilkinson. Routledge, 2009. Four volumes, ISBN 978-0-415-44313-5 (for set) Contents: v. 1. Health inequalities : the evidence—v. 2. Health inequalities : causes and pathways—v. 3. Health inequalities : interventions and evaluations—v. 4. The political, social and biological ecology of health.


Further journal articles listed and some downloadable at Scientific Commons (paperback)]. Some further titles are listed here [1]


Appearance in 2011 documentary, *"Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" on YouTube


Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, the authors of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, are a couple.[7][8]


  1. ^ UCL Academic Profile
  2. ^ a b Dustjacket of his book Poverty and Progress (1973) gives a brief career summary.
  3. ^ Thesis is listed in the catalogue of the library of the University of Nottingham.
  4. ^ a b Wilkinson, Richard (16 December 1976), "Dear David Ennals", New Society 
  5. ^ Mind the Gap Yale University Review
  6. ^ Equality Trust, History
  7. ^
  8. ^ BBC News  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]