• Being run by the University of Manchester.
  • A research project investigating the extent to which the health of an individual is shaped by the average health of the places they identify with.
  • Will use algorithm and modelling techniques to create small area geographic-based place measures of health, and investigate a series of research questions around health and places, and the outcomes for individuals in those places.

Understanding how the health of individuals is related to where they work, rest and play is key to designing policies that improve place-based health, and deliver social and economic outcomes.

However, the definition of ‘place’ is not straightforward. Most research uses Lower-layer Super Output Area (LSOA), a level of administrative geography designed to have 1,500 inhabitants. These are the smallest areas at which detailed statistics are made available.

The majority of health measures are reported at an organisational level, such as Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or GP practice level. But it is often important to have more granular data, as analysing at CCG level can mask much of the differences within these areas.

This project aims to address these limitations by considering a series of research questions:

  • What is the most accurate way to attribute available health information to small geographical areas?
  • Can available data be used to create new geographical areas that contain individuals who are more similar in terms of health experience?
  • Is the social fragmentation of a place associated with the health and wider social and economic outcomes of the individuals within that place?
  • What definitions of place produce the strongest association between the average health of the place and the individuals within that place?
  • Does the association between health and wider social and economic outcomes vary across places?

This project will provide evidence on how place impacts on health. This evidence will then be shared in order to inform policy and decision making, which could have further impact on the overall health of the population.

Contact information

For more information, please contact Luke Munford, Lecturer in Health Economics, University of Manchester.

About this programme

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Social and Economic Value of Health: Place (2019)

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