A multilevel analysis of the effects of neighbourhood income inequality on individual self-rated health in Hong Kong

Irene O L Wong, Benjamin J Cowling, Su-Vui Lo, Gabriel M Leung
Social Science & Medicine 2009, 68 (1): 124-32
We examined the effect on self-rated health of neighbourhood-level income inequality in Hong Kong, which has a high and growing Gini coefficient. Data were derived from two population household surveys in 2002 and 2005 of 25,623 and 24,610 non-institutional residents aged 15 or over. We estimated neighbourhood-level Gini coefficients in each of 287 Government Planning Department Tertiary Planning Units. We used multilevel regression analysis to assess the association of neighbourhood income inequality with individual self-perceived health status. After adjustment for both individual- and household-level predictors, there was no association between neighbourhood income inequality, median household income or household-level income and self-rated health. We tested for but did not find any statistical interaction between these three income-related exposures. These findings suggest that neighbourhood income inequality is not an important predictor of individual health status in Hong Kong.

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