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Health Place. 1999 Jun;5(2):157-71.

Assessing ecologic proxies for household income: a comparison of household and neighbourhood level income measures in the study of population health status.

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Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation, St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre, Winnipeg, Man., Canada.


This paper examines the validity of using ecologic measures of socioeconomic status as proxies for individual-level measures in the study of population health. Based on a representative 5% sample of households in a Canadian province, the study integrated three sources of information: administrative records of individual health care utilization, records of deaths and 1986 census records which contained information on household income and average neighbourhood income. Thirteen measures of health status were developed from these sources of information. The hypothesis that risk estimates derived from ecologic income measures will be attenuated relative to estimates obtained from household income was not supported. These results provide evidence for the use of ecologic-level measures of income in studies which do not have access to individual-level income measures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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