Differences in living conditions and health between cities: construction of a composite indicator

Olinda do Carmo Luiz Luiza Sterman Heimann Roberta Cristina Boaretto Adriana Galvão Pacheco Umberto Catarino Pessoto Lauro Cesar Ibanhes Iracema Ester do Nascimento Castro Jorge Kayano Virginia Junqueira Jucilene Leite da Rocha Carlos Tato Cortizo Emílio Telesi Junior About the authors

OBJECTIVE: To describe an index to identify inequities in living conditions and health and its relationship with health planning. METHODS: Variables and indicators that would reflect demographic, economic, environment and education processes as well as supply and production of health services were applied for nondimensional scaling and clustering of 5,507 Brazilian municipalities. Data sources were the 2000 Census and the Brazilian Ministry of Health information systems. Z-score test statistic and cluster analysis were performed allowing to defining 4 groups of municipalities by living conditions. RESULTS: There was seen a polarization between the group with the best living conditions and health (Group 1) and the group with the worst living conditions (Group 4). Group 1 consisted of municipalities with larger populations while Group 4 comprised mainly the smallest municipalities. As for Brazilian macroregions, municipalities in Group 1 are clustered in the south and southeast and those in Group 4 are in the Northeast. CONCLUSIONS: The living conditions and health index comprises reality dimensions such as housing, environment and health which allows to identifying the most vulnerable municipalities and can provide input for setting priorities, and developing criteria for more equitable financing and resource allocation.

Indicators of Quality of Life; Socioeconomic Factors; Health Services Accessibility; Health Inequalities; Social Conditions; Health Services Epidemiology; Single Health System


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