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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


METZGER, Xavier. Data aggregation in measuring inequalities and inequities in the health of populations. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.12, n.6, pp.445-453. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To compare how different degrees of data aggregation influence the measurement of health inequalities and health inequities within a population, and to assess the appropriateness of those different degrees of data aggregation in performing studies on inequalities and inequities. METHODS: As an example, we used data on the infant mortality rate in Costa Rica in 1973 and in 1984 and calculated measurements that are frequently used to quantify inequalities and inequities. RESULTS: According to our results, the inequality measures presented (except for those that were derived using regression models) are not sensitive to data aggregation by socioeconomic groups. However, when geographic areas are compared, more disaggregation of the data results in the measures indicating greater inequality. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that some measures can vary widely depending on the level of data aggregation. It is thus crucial to know how to select these measures and also how to aggregate the data in a way that is consistent with the objectives of each study.

Keywords : Inequidad; desigualdad; medición de inequidades; indicadores; situación sanitaria.

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