Introducing Lower Zones for analysing neighbourhood patterns of health and social outcomes across New Zealand Event as iCalendar

(School of Social Sciences)

27 May 2016

3 - 4pm

Venue: Room 104, Fale Pasifika Complex (273-104)

Contact info: Dr Barry Milne

Contact email:

Website: COMPASS

Dr Daniel Exeter, University of Auckland

There is growing interest in the influence a neighbourhood has on health and social outcomes. Researchers and policy analysts have used geographical boundaries constructed for national censuses to report small-area, or ‘neighbourhood’ patterns. In New Zealand, we commonly use Meshblocks (MBs) or Census Area Units (CAUs) in our analyses. While users can easily associate MBs with ‘a street’ and CAUs with ‘a suburb’, the considerable variation in their population distributions can be problematic for small area research.  In this presentation, we outline the development of an intermediary geography for New Zealand, in which the 45,989 MBs from the 2013 Census were aggregated into 5,958 ‘Lower Zones’ (LZs), as an intermediary in size between MBs and CAUs. We then demonstrate the application of these new geographical boundaries using data from the 2013 Census and from routine health databases.

Dr Daniel Exeter is a Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at the University of Auckland. He is a quantitative health geographer and has a background in Geographical Information Systems and spatial analysis. Using large datasets such as the census or routine health databases, his research aims to identify, and provide solutions to inequalities in health. He is currently leading research to deliver a new measure of neighbourhood disadvantage in NZ, and was recently awarded Marsden funding to conceptualise socioeconomic position among the elderly population. He is a co-investigator on the HRC-VIEW programme of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction research, where he uses big data to investigate the geographical variations in treatment, outcomes and CVD-related service utilisation.


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