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July 1, 2022

A Neighborhood Wealth Metric for Use in Health Studies

Moudon, Anne Vernez; Cook, Andrea J.; Ulmer, Jared; Hurvitz, Philip M.; Drewnowski, Adam. (2011). A Neighborhood Wealth Metric for Use in Health Studies. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine, 41(1), 88 – 97.

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Background: Measures of neighborhood deprivation used in health research are typically based on conventional area-based SES. Purpose: The aim of this study is to examine new data and measures of SES for use in health research. Specifically, assessed property values are introduced as a new individual-level metric of wealth and tested for their ability to substitute for conventional area-based SES as measures of neighborhood deprivation. Methods: The analysis was conducted in 2010 using data from 1922 participants in the 2008-2009 survey of the Seattle Obesity Study (SOS). It compared the relative strength of the association between the individual-level neighborhood wealth metric (assessed property values) and area-level SES measures (including education, income, and percentage above poverty as single variables, and as the composite Singh index) on the binary outcome fair/poor general health status. Analyses were adjusted for gender, categoric age, race, employment status, home ownership, and household income. Results: The neighborhood wealth measure was more predictive of fair/poor health status than area-level SES measures, calculated either as single variables or as indices (lower DIC measures for all models). The odds of having a fair/poor health status decreased by 0.85 (95% CI=0.77, 0.93) per $50,000 increase in neighborhood property values after adjusting for individual-level SES measures. Conclusions: The proposed individual-level metric of neighborhood wealth, if replicated in other areas, could replace area-based SES measures, thus simplifying analyses of contextual effects on health. (Am J Prev Med 2011; 41(1): 88-97) (C) 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine


Health -- Social Aspects; Social Status; Public Health Research; Home Ownership; Income; Real Property; Deprivation (psychology); Health Education; Disparities Geocoding Project; Body-mass Index; Socioeconomic-status; Ecological Fallacy; Built Environment; Deprivation Indexes; Multilevel Analysis; Individual-level; Social-class; Inequalities