Do differences in the administrative structure of populations confound comparisons of geographic health inequalities?

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/189610
Title:
Do differences in the administrative structure of populations confound comparisons of geographic health inequalities?
Authors:
Jackson, Andrew L; Davies, Carolyn A; Leyland, Alastair H
Citation:
BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2010 Aug 18;10(1):74
Issue Date:
18-Aug-2010
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/189610
Abstract:
Abstract Background Geographical health inequalities are naturally described by the variation in health outcomes between areas (e.g. mortality rates). However, comparisons made between countries are hampered by our lack of understanding of the effect of the size of administrative units, and in particular the modifiable areal unit problem. Our objective was to assess how differences in geographic and administrative units used for disseminating data affect the description of health inequalities. Methods Retrospective study of standard populations and deaths aggregated by administrative regions within 20 European countries, 1990-1991. Estimated populations and deaths in males aged 0-64 were in 5 year age bands. Poisson multilevel modelling was conducted of deaths as standardised mortality ratios. The variation between regions within countries was tested for relationships with the mean region population size and the unequal distribution of populations within each country measured using Gini coefficients. Results There is evidence that countries whose regions vary more in population size show greater variation and hence greater apparent inequalities in mortality counts. The Gini coefficient, measuring inequalities in population size, ranged from 0.1 to 0.5 between countries; an increase of 0.1 was accompanied by a 12-14% increase in the standard deviation of the mortality rates between regions within a country. Conclusions Apparently differing health inequalities between two countries may be due to differences in geographical structure per se, rather than having any underlying epidemiological cause. Inequalities may be inherently greater in countries whose regions are more unequally populated.
Item Type:
Journal Article

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorJackson, Andrew L-
dc.contributor.authorDavies, Carolyn A-
dc.contributor.authorLeyland, Alastair H-
dc.date.accessioned2011-11-15T09:00:07Z-
dc.date.available2011-11-15T09:00:07Z-
dc.date.issued2010-08-18-
dc.identifierhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-10-74-
dc.identifier.citationBMC Medical Research Methodology. 2010 Aug 18;10(1):74-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/189610-
dc.description.abstractAbstract Background Geographical health inequalities are naturally described by the variation in health outcomes between areas (e.g. mortality rates). However, comparisons made between countries are hampered by our lack of understanding of the effect of the size of administrative units, and in particular the modifiable areal unit problem. Our objective was to assess how differences in geographic and administrative units used for disseminating data affect the description of health inequalities. Methods Retrospective study of standard populations and deaths aggregated by administrative regions within 20 European countries, 1990-1991. Estimated populations and deaths in males aged 0-64 were in 5 year age bands. Poisson multilevel modelling was conducted of deaths as standardised mortality ratios. The variation between regions within countries was tested for relationships with the mean region population size and the unequal distribution of populations within each country measured using Gini coefficients. Results There is evidence that countries whose regions vary more in population size show greater variation and hence greater apparent inequalities in mortality counts. The Gini coefficient, measuring inequalities in population size, ranged from 0.1 to 0.5 between countries; an increase of 0.1 was accompanied by a 12-14% increase in the standard deviation of the mortality rates between regions within a country. Conclusions Apparently differing health inequalities between two countries may be due to differences in geographical structure per se, rather than having any underlying epidemiological cause. Inequalities may be inherently greater in countries whose regions are more unequally populated.-
dc.titleDo differences in the administrative structure of populations confound comparisons of geographic health inequalities?-
dc.typeJournal Article-
dc.language.rfc3066en-
dc.rights.holderJackson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.-
dc.description.statusPeer Reviewed-
dc.date.updated2011-11-10T16:09:00Z-
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