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Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999 Feb;23(1):27-33.

The New Zealand Socioeconomic Index: developing and validating an occupationally-derived indicator of socio-economic status.

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Department of Community Health, School of Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand.



Following revision of the international standard classification (ISCO88), to update and validate on health data an occupationally derived indicator of socio-economic status (SES) adapted to changing occupational and demographic conditions.


The development of the New Zealand Socioeconomic Index (NZSEI) is based on a 'returns to human capital' model of the stratification process and uses data from the 1991 New Zealand Census (n = 1,051, 926) to generate scores for 97 occupational groups. The construct validation of the scale is carried out on data from the 1992-93 nationwide Household Health Survey (n = 3,000) using three health indicators (self-assessed health, cigarette smoking, general practitioner visits).


In general, the results are consistent with expected socio-economic patterns drawn from the literature for the three indicators.


While further work is required on a number of methodological and conceptual issues, the NZSEI provides a robust, standardised and internationally comparable occupational scale of SES for both males and females in either full- or part-time employment.


The NZSEI can be used on routinely collected occupational data. It has a clear conceptual rationale, updates existing SES scales, and provides a link to international standards in SES and occupational classification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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