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Heterogeneity of deprivation within very small areas
  1. C Salmond,
  2. P Crampton
  1. Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms C Salmond, Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, PO Box 7343, Wellington South, New Zealand;

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Area based measures of deprivation are used for resource allocation and research. In both these uses there is continuing debate about the likely proportion of deprived people who would be missed if area based indices were used for interventions or targeting resources.1–4 This report uses the same source deprivation variables at area and individual levels to quantify the degree of deprivation heterogeneity within very small areas using data from the New Zealand 1996 census.


Area deprivation is characterised by the NZDep96 index of deprivation for small areas. The small areas were constructed from one, or several neighbouring, “meshblocks” and 91.5% contained between 100 and 200 people. The small areas were designed to minimise local heterogeneity while yielding a robust measure of deprivation in the neighbourhood.

NZDep96 is derived from age/sex standardised proportions of people in the small area with each of nine characteristics related to deprivation: having no access to a telephone; aged 18–59 receiving a means tested benefit; aged …

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  • Funding: this research was funded by a grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.

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