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A rural advantage: urban rural health differences in northern England.

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter Phillimore


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Rural health inequalities have been relatively neglected in recent years. The data assembled for a large study of health and deprivation in the Northern Region of England have been reanalysed to examine three questions. How wide are rural health inequalities compared with those in urban areas? Is health intrinsically better in rural areas, given comparable deprivation or affluence? Is the association between health and wealth weaker in rural than in urban areas? It is shown that, although health inequalities are wider in urban areas, this corresponds to wider socioeconomic divisions: at equivalent levels of wealth, health measures are similar. This relationship breaks down, however, when the most remote rural areas are compared with matching localities in conurbations, for in this case rural areas have a clear advantage. We go on to show that the apparent weakness of the association between health and wealth in rural areas is largely an artefact; the association becomes stronger when the units of population (electoral wards) are enlarged to resemble more closely those in urban contexts. The comparability of rural and urban forms of deprivation is discussed in the light of these results.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phillimore PR, Reading R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Public Health Medicine

Year: 1992

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 290-299

Print publication date: 01/09/1992

ISSN (print): 1741-3842

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3850