The article discusses the problem of social inequalities in health in Europe and the impact of welfare state on these inequalities. The European social survey data for 27 countries (ESS 2012) and statistics for them (WB, WHO, ILO) were analyzed using two-level linear modeling (HLM). The state of health of European citizens, as confirmed by this study, varies greatly — in terms of general well-being, and mental instability as well. Distinct health differences are also found within ESS countries which are due to social divisions - the specific position of individuals in the demographic and status structures of societies and their different integration into social life. The elderly, individuals with low status in society, those who are weakly involved in the social network and cannot rely on assistance and support from other people, are typically vulnerable and their health is not so good. The scope of such social differences was not the same in different parts of Europe. The problem of inequality was especially acute in countries with a relatively low level of economic development but also in rich societies, where health differences may even slightly expand, separating a thin layer of vulnerable citizens from many of their fellow citizens belonging to the middle or upper segments of the social structure. These contextual dependencies are formed in large part due to development — with the economic growth — of the welfare state. The increase in public expenditure on health and social protection contributes to national health and helps to mitigate some of the inequalities.

Keywords: health, risks of depression, social inequalities, welfare state, government social expenditure, two level modeling, European Social Survey