June 2012


My colleague, Adrian Kavanagh, has designed a very simple but clever metric to explore the recently published data on general health from the 2011 Census. Calculated at local authority, traditional county, provincial and state level, it shows an overall weighted score* based on the levels of self reported health in each area. The results are presented in the table below and seem to make intuitive sense.

The national average for the state is 149.92. We then see that the range of scores that in essence give us a score for healthicity or healthiness. The area with the highest score and therefore the least healthy, is Limerick City with 164.03. At the other end of the scale, the area with the lowest score and by extension, the most healthy, is Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. Looking at the other local authorities with high scores/low healthicity, we can see a good mix of urban and rural areas which makes sense in terms of extremes of urban and rural poverty. By comparison, Galway City fares better than the other urban areas while the bulk of the counties in the low score/high healthicity categories seem to be the suburban and urban region counties around Dublin and Cork which typically have younger and relatively affluent age-income profiles.

Longer term it will be a very interesting process to see how robust this measure is in relation to other associated measures of poverty and deprivation. Recalculating this data at ED level and comparing the ranked results with deprivation scores may confirm this relationship, though issues of age-standardisation also have to be considered and applied. In addition, there will be some pockets of poverty in affluent counties like Dún-Laoghaire Rathdown and Fingal which will only emerge from more fine-scaled geographical analysis.  

Area Health Status (% of respondents)

 

 

 

Very Good

Good

Fair

Bad

Very Bad

Healthicity Index

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

66.71

25.50

6.53

1.02

0.23

142.55

Fingal

65.63

27.21

6.01

0.95

0.20

142.89

Meath

65.09

27.23

6.54

0.94

0.21

143.93

Cork County

64.97

27.01

6.88

0.93

0.20

144.38

Kildare

64.91

27.09

6.67

1.10

0.22

144.62

Wicklow

64.16

27.07

7.46

1.09

0.22

146.16

South Dublin

63.30

27.94

7.29

1.20

0.27

147.20

Waterford County

63.08

27.80

7.86

1.06

0.20

147.51

Cork (City & County)

63.09

27.80

7.73

1.14

0.25

147.65

Kilkenny

62.88

27.81

7.90

1.15

0.26

148.09

Cavan

62.85

27.43

8.40

1.11

0.20

148.39

Leinster

62.62

28.07

7.76

1.27

0.28

148.52

Dublin (City & Counties)

62.64

28.03

7.70

1.32

0.30

148.61

Limerick County

61.97

28.89

7.81

1.10

0.22

148.72

Laois

61.58

28.82

8.07

1.21

0.32

149.86

State

61.66

28.58

8.20

1.28

0.28

149.92

Galway City

60.64

30.12

7.72

1.25

0.27

150.38

Munster

61.15

28.99

8.35

1.25

0.26

150.49

Waterford (City & County)

61.22

28.83

8.40

1.31

0.25

150.55

Galway (City & County)

60.93

29.34

8.24

1.23

0.27

150.58

Galway County

61.05

29.00

8.46

1.22

0.26

150.66

Wexford

61.21

28.54

8.59

1.37

0.28

150.98

Monaghan

61.02

28.47

9.17

1.11

0.22

151.04

Louth

61.23

28.32

8.74

1.41

0.30

151.23

Clare

60.05

30.14

8.28

1.25

0.26

151.53

Westmeath

60.46

29.42

8.47

1.34

0.32

151.63

Kerry

59.48

30.28

8.79

1.17

0.27

152.46

North Tipperary

59.88

29.46

9.07

1.34

0.25

152.63

Ulster (part of)

60.24

28.73

9.47

1.31

0.26

152.63

Offaly

59.86

29.63

8.82

1.38

0.31

152.66

Carlow

59.63

29.73

9.01

1.38

0.25

152.88

Limerick

59.42

29.93

8.93

1.43

0.30

153.26

Connacht

59.21

29.94

9.20

1.35

0.29

153.58

Sligo

58.99

29.71

9.59

1.44

0.26

154.28

Leitrim

58.34

30.42

9.80

1.20

0.24

154.59

South Tipperary

58.65

30.11

9.46

1.49

0.31

154.70

Dublin City

59.11

29.51

9.26

1.71

0.40

154.77

Waterford City

58.52

30.32

9.17

1.66

0.33

154.97

Donegal

58.76

29.40

10.05

1.48

0.30

155.15

Roscommon

58.52

29.66

10.01

1.48

0.33

155.44

Longford

57.95

30.28

9.96

1.46

0.34

155.95

Mayo

56.59

31.24

10.29

1.52

0.36

157.82

Cork City

56.71

30.45

10.61

1.84

0.39

158.73

Limerick City

53.36

32.40

11.57

2.20

0.48

164.03

 Ronan Foley, Centre for Health GeoInformatics, NUI Maynooth.

* The score is calculated on the basis of weighting the percentage for ‘very good’ by 1, the percentage for ‘good’ by 2 and all the way through to weighting the percentage for ‘very bad’ by 5. This ends up by balancing out the scores across all responses but giving a higher level of impact, in poor health terms, to the ‘very bad’ and ‘bad’ responses. It also gives a sense of levels of variation from the national average.

This morning saw the release of the second summary publication presenting the results of the 2011 census relating to socio-economic topics. Some quick reflections on employment trends. The headline figures are shocking, but don’t come as a surprise. In April 2011 the labour force stood at 2.23 million, an increase of about 123,000 or 5.8 per cent since 2006. The average annual increase of 1.1 per cent reflects a serious slow down compared to the previous, inter-censal period when growth averaged 4 per cent. Numbers at work fell by about 123,000 over the five-year period while the number of unemployed workers increased by about 245,000, up 136.7 per cent.

 In April 2011, the unemployment rate as defined by the Census was 19 per cent (this is not the same as the official unemployment rate as defined by the ILO, which stood at 14.3 per cent). The 19 per cent figure arguably underestimates the scale of the problem if we take account of the fact that a substantial number of workers have moved out of the labour force for a range of reasons. Apart from the emigration vent, the report shows that the student population grew by 16.9 per cent since 2006. In particular, the male student population has experienced a strong increase with participation rates for 19 to 24 year of males increasing from 27.1 in 2006 to 38.9 per cent in 2011. Against the background of very high male youth unemployment rates (41.1% for 20-24 year old males) we may assume that quite a number of young males are finding refuge in the education sector. Overall, the total number of people outside the labour force was up by about 110,000.

Geographically, there are substantial differences in how the various local authorities fared. Limerick City, Donegal and Waterford City are topping the unemployment league with unemployment rates between 25 and 29 per cent. On the other end, below average unemployment rates are evident in Dublin City (18.5%) and its suburbs Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown (11.2%) and Fingal (16%), the commuter belt counties Kildare ( (17.9%) and Meath (18%), Cork County (14.8%), Limerick County (17.5%) and Galway County (18.1%). The greatest percentage point increases in the inter-censal period were experienced in Offaly, Wexford and Limerick City. Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin City and Galway City experienced the smallest increase.

The general pattern is one of relatively low unemployment rates in the commuter belts of the main cities. The main cities are characterised by higher unemployment rates than their commuter zones but Dublin City (18.5%), Galway City (18.6%) and, to a lesser degree, Cork City are performing much better than Waterford City and Limerick City. In addition Dublin City, Galway City and Cork City have experienced amongst the lowest percentage point increases. Unemployment appears to be more a regional issue than a city-hinterland issue. These figures corroborate the findings of a recent analysis by Proinnsias Breathnach and me of the annual Forfás Employment Survey which monitors employment trends in firms which have received assistance from the government’s economic development agencies (see here). We showed how almost 80 per cent of jobs created by new foreign firms in the last decade were located in Dublin, Cork and Galway. The share of these three Gateways of all foreign employment rose markedly, from 49% to 58%, while Waterford and Limerick are losing share.

The Census analysis at Electoral Division level shows that substantial intra-city differences exist. Over half of the country’s unemployment 81 ‘blackspots’ (EDs where unemployment rates exceeded 35%) are found in Limerick City, Cork City, Dublin, City, Waterford City and South Dublin.

At an industrial level the greatest loss in employment occurred in the construction sector (-120,000) followed by manufacturing (-50,000). Most of the services sectors experienced employment growth. Employment in education grew by over 36,000, up 28.4%. Interestingly, employment levels in the financial services sector were up 9 per cent since 2006. I suggest that here the internationally traded segment is making up for the job-losses on the domestic front. Even ignoring the anomaly of the Irish construction industry, these figures reflect an ongoing international trend towards a tertiarisation of the economy. The services sector now accounts for 78 per cent of all employment in Ireland.

Whether this is a good or bad development clearly depends on the type of service jobs and the related earnings. The dynamics of persons at work by intermediate occupational group give us some insight – although the taxonomy is not unproblematic and lumps quite different occupations into the same categories (for a discussion see, Breathnacht, 2007). Most of the better paid informational economy occupations are experiencing employment growth. Managers and executives increased from about 123,000 to about 138,000, up 12.3 per cent. Other high-earning occupations experiencing growth include scientific and technical, health and related, teachers, central and local government, computer software and other professional. On the other end, we note gains in the relatively low earning personal services (up 7.8%) and sales (4.0%) occupations. Importantly, these two categories now account for over a quarter of all people at work. The falls in clerical and office occupations (-15.3%), engineering and allied trades (-27.3%), electrical trades (-30.2) and other manufacturing (-52.4%) may point to “a disappearing middle”. Although more detailed analysis is required the data seem to suggest a continued professionalization as well as polarisation of our society, a trend that started in the 1990s (Breathnach, 2007).

The spatial distribution of the various occupations has important implications for inter-regional spatial polarisation and balanced regional development. The data on socio-economic groups show clearly how the higher-income earning social groupings ‘employers and managers’ and ‘higher professionals’ are disproportionately concentrated in the East Region (See Rob Kitchin’s post today).

Chris.vanegeraat@nuim.ie

Context.

 The results for the newly introduced general health question from the 2011 Census have just been released (June 28th, 2012). The decision to ask such a question is a laudable one and the first ever attempt to ask a question of this type. It is a self-reported question with census respondents asked to tick a box as to the health status of head of household as well as all household members. Five categories were presented to allow respondents to say if their health was; very good/good/fair/bad/very bad. Such questions are common to census outputs in other jurisdictions and have generally been found to be useful for two broad reasons. Firstly, the value of collecting this data within a census allows for much deeper spatial analysis of the patterns of good and poor health across the country. Knowing something about these deeper geographies of health will be vitally important for a number of state, semi-state and private organizations and agencies. Secondly, asking a general health question within the Census allows analysts to also explore and cross-tabulate relationships, both numeric and geographical, between health status and associated variables in the Census such as social class, education, disability and informal caring. In this way, one can analyse the potential explanatory causes of good/poor health and relate these to wider casual factors and provide good empirical material for wider social and economic profiling.

 Overall Results

As the first time a general health question was asked in the census, the response suggests a generally good level of self reported health for all respondents. The results show that 60.3% reported they were in ‘very good’ health and a further 28% in ‘good health’. Just over 8% recorded their health as ‘fair’, with a small number, 1.3% recording their health as ‘bad’ and an even smaller number, only 0.3%, recording their health as ‘very bad’.  In addition, 2.1% of the population did not answer the question. The total proportion of the population who answered Very Good or Good accounted for 88.3% of the population, which tallies well with recent survey responses of 84% for the same question as reported by the OECD Health at a Glance Report from 2009[1]. Comparisons with country level reporting across the rest of the British Isles suggests the Irish population to consider themselves much more healthy than populations in those other countries. As Table 1 below shows, when compared with the most recently available data from 2001 for Northern Ireland, Scotland and England/Wales, the rates of good health are much higher in Ireland. This is likely to be for two reasons. One is that the phrasing of the question is slightly different, but more importantly, the Irish question provided 5 optional categories whereas the UK questions asked only whether health was Good, Fair and Not Good. This is likely to have thrown up significantly different responses. Given the broad level of agreement across the UK in 2001, it is interesting to speculate that recoding and re-aggregating the Irish data into three categories, as Very Good, Good and combining Fair/Bad/Very Bad as a sort of generic ‘not good’ response, shows a closer match (see adjusted figures in Table 1 below). The use of ‘fair’ in both categorizations makes such an aggregation problematic, but makes for an interesting comparison nonetheless.

 Table 1 General Health Results across British Isles, 2001-2011

General Health

 

 

 

 

2001/2

2011

 

 

%

%

 

Ireland*

 

 

Adjusted

Good/Very Good

n/a

88.28

60.32

Fair

n/a

8.02

27.96

Bad/Very Bad

n/a

1.52

9.54

Northern Ireland

 

 

 

Good

70.00

n/a

 

Fair

19.34

n/a

 

Not Good

10.66

n/a

 

Scotland

 

 

 

Good

67.91

n/a

 

Fair

21.94

n/a

 

Not Good

10.15

n/a

 

England&Wales

 

 

 

Good

68.55

n/a

 

Fair

22.23

n/a

 

Not Good

9.22

n/a

 

 

 

 

 

* 5 point scale (VG-G-F-B-VB) UK 3 point (G-FG-NG)
 

 

 

 

As the CSO’s preliminary analysis suggests, there is a strong relationship for example, between social class and health, with the affluent Professional Class reporting levels of Very Good Health at 75.2%, that are significantly higher than those for Unskilled Workers at 45.3%. With the release of more detailed data at electoral division (ED) and small area (SA) level, it will also be important to compare the health question against deprivation scores to further deeper our understanding of relationships between health, poverty and inequality. If results are comparable to other countries, the inverse relationship between deprivation and good health should be both apparent, and consistently identifiable down to neighbourhood level.

Geographical Patterns

As the CSO identify in their preliminary reporting[2], it is possible to map the rates of good and poor health by local authority and county across the country but with some important caveats at this early stage. Clearly counties with significantly older populations come out with poorer health status so to get a more accurate measure, it will be necessary to perform age-standardisation adjustments to take this into account. In addition, it is also clear that in general urban areas have lower levels of very good health than some of the ‘younger’ counties in their hinterlands. The CSO preliminary report provides a map of ‘very good’ health. But a map of a cumulative ‘bad/very bad’ health status, Figure 1b below, shows us a pattern of relatively high rates in the cities of Limerick, Dublin, Waterford and Cork as well as rural parts of Central Connacht, Longford and Tipperary South. Having this information makes it possible for example to compare with other regularly used indicators of mortality and morbidity, though few of these are available at any meaningful spatial scale. One example, drawn from preliminary results from a HRB-funded project being carried out at the Centre for Health GeoInformatics at NUI Maynooth, shows age-standardised mortality rates for 2006 (Figure 1a). The rates are calculated for the population under 75, a proxy measure of premature mortality. While this is a 26 county, rather than a 34 local authority map, the results are quite different. Updating the map to include the cities would be likely to improve the match, but it may be that the inclusion of the ‘fair’ category in Figure 1b might see a better correlation. In addition, deeper analysis on the disability data, as a proxy of limiting long-term conditions, might also throw up a sharper correlation.

 Figure 1.     a) ASMs (per 100k), 2006                

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b) % with Bad/Very Bad Health, 2011  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Future directions.

It is very exciting to have this new data available for visual and statistical analysis. As well as cross-tabulations and comparisons with other Census data, it may also be used to compare with proxy measure of potential health care demand, such as the % of residents in each county in receipt of a medical card and other primary care supports. In addition, the mapping of disability data may also enable analysts to uncover and verify relationships between disability and health status and explore this geographically. In the different UK censuses, there is an additional question on limiting-long term illness which typically throws up much higher rates (20.4% for NI, 18.2% for England & Wales) than forIreland.  Given the better match between the new data for people reporting a disability, 13% in Census 2011, this suggests that the re-phrasing of the question is moving a little closer to the type of question used elsewhere and acts as a proxy for chronic illness levels. One advantage perhaps of the Irish census question in its use of five rather than three categories, is an ability to really pick out those with genuinely poor health, which may also prove useful in predicting potential future demand for health services. Indeed, given the paucity of detailed spatial information on the utilization of both hospital and general practitioner services inIreland, this may act as a subtle push to produce better spatial forecasting of demand on health services. Finally, the provision of a general health question is not unproblematic. All censuses are self-reported and therefore are, to an extent, unverifiable. The introduction of a new question, especially one as relatively subjective as health status, will always have associated teething problems. As noted above, the way in which the question is posed will also affect the results. But the data is likely to be useful in a whole variety of fields and will be used at a range of scales from local partnership work up to cross-border and international comparative scales. As a medical/health geographer, for whom any sort of health data, especially those collected at a range of meaningful geographical scales, is crucial, the CSO are to be lauded for suggesting and collecting this valuable dataset.

 Ronan Foley, Centre for Health GeoInformatics.


[1]  OECD (2011), Health at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/health_glance-2011-en

[2] CSO (2012) This isIreland: Highlights from Census 2011, Part. 2. Government of Ireland.

The census shows that between 2006-2011, the total number of post 15 year old students in the country has risen by 16.9% from 349,596 to 408,838 (figure 1).  This rise has occured despite the decline in the age cohort presently finishing school (there are 55,865 seventeen year olds, as opposed to 82,614 thirty year olds).  Given the present baby boom, numbers are set to grow even more strongly in the coming years which in turn will place enormous stress onto the third level sector to provide additional places, which will require a capital building programme and additional staffing given already very high staff-student ratios.

Figure 1

The data also shows a very clear relationship between the level of education attained and the employment status of individuals, with the higher the qualifications obtained the more likely the person is to be in employment (figure 2).  For example, the unemployment rate for people who had attained at most a primary education was 33.7% as opposed to 7.8% for those with a third level degree or higher.  This is reflective of the changing nature of the Irish economy as it becomes more dependent on high skilled manufacturing and services, and FDI investment, but is also reflective of the unemployment fallout of the present crisis with most jobs being lost in construction and the services sectors that require fewer qualifications.

Figure 2

In Census 2011, a new question on the main field of study of the highest qualification completed to date (excluding secondary school qualifications) was asked for the first time, extending a question that used to be directed only at third level graduates.  The data reveals the educational background and skills of people in the labour market.  Social sciences, business and law dominate, roughly three times the size of science, maths and computing.  Given the difficulties of recruiting in some sectors of the economy, such as IT, the latter seems to be one area that needs to grow.

Figure 3

The data in the three graphics above also provides some detail on gender.  Balance on the overall participation post-15 has improved slightly, with a growth in male participation.  Women in the labour force are more likely to be employed than males, regardless of qualification level.  There are notable differences in the fields of study taken by males and females, with males dominating engineering, manufacturing and construction, agricuture and veterinary.  Women dominate health and welfare, education, social sciences, business and law, and services.  This domination for some sub-areas of work is very stark, for example, women dominate child care and youth services (97.3%), secretarial and office work (96.7%) and hair and beauty services (96.3%).

Rob Kitchin

This is Ireland, Part 2, was released this morning.  It provides macro-level (national and county) results for a broad set of socio-economic data: labour force, occupation, education, health, social class, travel pattern. There are some maps at ED level for unemployment and a couple of occupational sectors, but the full ED and Small Area data set will not be released until later in the summer.  At that stage, we’ll be able to get a much more detailed sense of how the economic crash has played out socio-economically at a local scale.

In this post, I’m just going to concentrate on the socio-economic group and class results.  Analysing these at a county level is problematic because aggregation effects mask the highly variable way in which these play out locally, nevertheless we can see the broad pattern changes.

Socio-economic grouping classifies the entire population into one of ten categories based on the level of skill and educational attainment of their occupation (inc. those at work, unemployed or retired, with dependents classed on the basis of whom they are deemed to be dependent).  There has been growth between 2006-11 (see Figure 1) at the higher, more skilled end of this classification, with increases in employers/managers, higher professional, lower professional and non-manual, whilst those dependent on manual work have declined (in line with job losses in related sectors such as construction).  Moreover, there is a broad spatial pattern to the data with a greater proportion of the highest two categories in and around Dublin reflecting the higher proportion of FDI and public sector jobs around the capital (see Figure 2).

There are also some marked gender contrasts in socio-economic group (Figure 3), with strong differences in the gender profile of some classes.  For example, men make up a much stronger proportion of manual, farmers, agricultural workers, self-employed, and are marginally more likely to be employers/managers, higher professional, semi-skilled and unskilled.  Women make up a strong proportion of lower professional, non-manual and other.  Whilst the balance of the top two classes of employers/managers and higher professional are getting better, it seems that a glass ceiling does still exist.

 

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

The socio-economic group data is used as the basis for assigning households into a social class, based on almagmating occupations with similar skill sets together to produce seven classes: professional workers, managerial and technical, non-manual, skilled manual, semi-skilled, unskilled and other.  Figure 4 shows the distribution of social class by local authority.  Clearly the standout LAs are in the cities.  DLR has a disproportionate number of professional and managerial/technical classes, whereas Cork City, Waterford City and Limerick City have low rates compared to their surrounding hinterlands, reflecting the suburbanisation of professional/managerial labour.

Figure 4

Rob Kitchin

 

The AIRO team have taken the data from the CSO’s Residential Property Price Index report and compiled it into an interactive data visualisation.  It provides details on overall price drop, year-on-year drop, and RPP index score for all properties, houses and apartments nationally, Dublin only, and nationally minus Dublin.  Click on the image below to connect to the data visualisation, then just click on the check boxes/drop down menus to change the data, and click on the graph itself to get specific information.

 

Eoghan McCarthy and Rob Kitchin

The latest CSO house price report has been released by the CSO.  What the data show is that “Residential property prices grew [nationally] by 0.2% in the month of May. In Dublin residential property prices rose by 0.2% in May but were 17.5% lower than a year ago. Dublin house prices increased by 0.5% in the month but were 17.7% lower compared to a year earlier. Dublin apartment prices were 16.3% lower when compared with the same month of 2011.  The price of residential properties in the Rest of Ireland (i.e. excluding Dublin) rose by 0.1% in May … Prices were 14.2% lower than in May 2011.

The piece of data that the media are likely to focus on is that Dublin houses have now not fallen for three months in a row, growing very marginally each month.  In other words, prices for Dublin houses seem to be potentially stablising.  Before we get ahead of ourselves my view would be that prices have to stabilise for at least 6-9 months before we can start to call the bottom as the market is still fragile and there have been other periods on the way down where it appeared to level off before then falling again.  Moreover, the year-on-year reduction is still large.  Dublin apartments still seem fragile – they have fallen the most from peak (61%), fell again last month after two months of not falling further.  Nationally, excluding Dublin, seems fragile still and one would expect prices to fall as much as Dublin prices in the long term given levels of oversupply outside the principal cities.  Dublin does have relatively normal levels of housing vacancy (4.9% according to Census 2011) but not apartments (18.6%), so it does seem supply/demand might be coming into line for houses (particularly in South Dublin where vacancy is 3.4%) but certainly not apartments.  There is oversupply of houses and apartments everywhere else, including the other cities.  It should also be noted that the CSO index does not including cash sales and is based on a relatively small number of transactions.

Basically what this means, is whilst the indications are positive for Dublin houses, we should be careful not to read too much into the data until we have a time-series of stabilisation, and the property market remains very fragile.

Rob Kitchin

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