Creating small-area deprivation indices: a guide for stages and options

Allik, M. , Leyland, A. , Ichihara, M. Y. T. and Dundas, R. (2020) Creating small-area deprivation indices: a guide for stages and options. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 74(1), pp. 20-25. (doi: 10.1136/jech-2019-213255) (PMID:31630122) (PMCID:PMC6929699)

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Small-area composite measures (such as for deprivation, geographic access or green space) have become increasing popular among both researchers and policy makers and are frequently used to compare or rank areas. Because of their seeming simplicity and wide appeal, it is important to set out for researchers and users the different stages and options that underlie the development of composite indices. Using small area deprivation measures as an example, this article reviews the key decisions faced by researchers from choosing the data and variables to validation and measuring uncertainty. Our aim is to guide researchers in the planning and following through with the process of developing a small-area measure. To date, the different choices are often not considered and the methodological decisions tend to be based on tradition or convenience. While there is no widely accepted framework for choosing between methods, we argue that researchers should compare different methods and justify their decisions at each stage of the process. In particular, more emphasis should be put on validating measures for different population subgroups.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was also supported for CIDACS by grants from CNPq/MS/Gates Foundation (401739/2015-5) and the Wellcome Trust, UK (202912/Z/16/Z).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Leyland, Professor Alastair and Allik, Dr Mirjam and Dundas, Professor Ruth
Authors: Allik, M., Leyland, A., Ichihara, M. Y. T., and Dundas, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1470-2738
Published Online:19 October 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 74(1): 20-25
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300390Strengthening data linkage to reduce health inequalities in low and middle income countries: building on the Brazilian 100 million cohortAlastair LeylandNational Institute for Health Research (NIHR)16/137/99HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU13