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.

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