Developing measures of multiple environmental deprivation for New Zealand

Our work in the United Kingdom created two area-level multivariate measures of health-related physical environmental deprivation that captured both pathogenic and salutogenic environmental characteristics (MEDIx and MEDClass).  We then tested the transferability of the methods developed in the UK to a different context.  New Zealand was selected due to certain similarities with the UK and our familiarity with health and environmental data availability here.

As a result we developed the New Zealand Multiple Environmental Deprivation Index (NZ-MEDIx) and Classification (NZ-MEDClass) for small areas across the country (Census Area Units, n = 1860).  We then investigated the relationships between environmental deprivation and health in New Zealand and reflected on the applicability of transferring methods in an international context.

We found that neighbourhoods with higher levels of multiple environmental deprivation (as indicated by NZ-MEDIx) tended to have greater social disadvantage.  Further, NZ-MEDIx and NZ-MEDClass both had a modest but significant relationship with health that was independent of the age, sex and socioeconomic structure of the population.  Our findings demonstrate that it is possible to develop useful measures of multiple environmental deprivation in other contexts than the UK.

You can read more about this work in the following publications:

Pearce J, Richardson EA, Mitchell RJ, and Shortt NK (2011) Environmental justice and health: a study of multiple environmental deprivation and geographical differences in health in New ZealandSocial Science & Medicine. 73(3):410-20

Shortt NK, Richardson EA, Pearce J, and Mitchell RJ (2012) Mortality inequalities by environment type in New ZealandHealth & Place 18(5): 1132-1136.

You can download these data from here. Please acknowledge that we created them by both citing Pearce et al (2011 ) (citation above) and crediting the CRESH website.

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