INDEX - An index of socio-economic status
Many of the concepts social
scientists study are quite complex and cannot adequately be measured by a single
indicator. In these cases researchers develop several indicators and in some case will
give different weights to each indicator. This combination of indicators and weights is an
index. Socio-economic status is difficult to
measure and typically the indicators of income, occupation and education are used.
If occupation is seen as more
central it may be given more weight. An index of socio-economic status is developed. Some
examples of usage of : "An index of socio-economic status"
"An index of socio-economic
status (SES) was modelled as a linear combination of parents' education (FE and ME for
fathers' and mothers' education, respectively), previous and present family social class
(SC1 and SC2) based on fathers' occupation."
"We undertook an ecological
study to investigate differences in coronary heart disease mortality within Nottingham
health authority, England, to establish whether coronary mortality varied according to
socio-economic status, and how mortality rates changed over a decade. An index of
socio-economic status was developed from Census variables."
"To explore the relationship between family average income (FAI; an index of
socio-economic status) and Type 2 diabetes in a region of mainland China."
"To explore the relationship
between family average income (FAI; an index of socio-economic status) and body mass index
(BMI; a widely used, inexpensive indicator of weight status) above the healthy weight
range in a region of Mainland China."
Development of a
Socio-Economic-Status Index Using United States Census Data.
Grosset, Jane M.; Hawk, Thomas R.
Abstract: The study reported here employed a quasi-factorial ecological approach to
explore the possibility of using economic and social indicators available from the 1980
census to construct a socio-economic status (SES) index. The study hypothesized that if an
appropriate factor analysis model could be identified, factor score equations could be
used to construct an SES index for each of the 49 zip codes in a large eastern city. In
turn, students attending a public two-year college in the city could be assigned an SES
measure on the basis of their residential zip code. Using census data, seven economic and
social indicators (i.e., mean per-capita income, median household income, percentage of
persons below the poverty level, percentage of high-school graduates and college
graduates, percentage of individuals on unemployment, and percentage of individuals on
work disability) were factor analyzed. Indices representing dimensions of economic
deprivation and educational attainment were used to categorize zip codes as either high or
low SES. Correlations of the SES indices with high-risk student behaviors, academic
performance, and attrition were statistically significant in most analyses, albeit they
offered only modest contributions to the explanation of overall variation. Institutional
efforts to use the SES variables in counseling and recruitment have been extremely
cautious, in recognition of the fact that SES data can only be used in the context of a
holistic assessment. - eric.ed.gov
Creating and Validating an
Index of Socioeconomic Status
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - ahrq.gov
Over the years, there has been considerable empirical evidence accumulated that indicates
in the US that health status, mortality, and health services use differ by what has been
referred to variously as socioeconomic status, social class, social position or SES.
(Braveman et al. 2005) More recently, there has been a growing unease about the
accumulation of evidence on the extent of variation in health status, mortality, and
health services use that is associated with race and ethnicity (Krieger et al., 2005).
While they are different, it is unfortunate that socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity
are not independent of one another in their association with health status, mortality, and
health services use. This has at times led to the mistaken use of race/ethnicity as a
surrogate measure of socioeconomic status.
Because of this, it is particularly important to try to separate the influences of
socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity on health and utilization of health services
in our empirical research. Only then will it be possible for policymakers to identify
where to place their priorities in the development of ameliorative interventions to
overcome the socioeconomic barriers to accessing timely, appropriate, and good quality
care, the sub-cultural values and restricted world view that keep some minorities from
taking full advantage of the services available to them, or the prejudice against
minorities of providers and the health care system. As we indicated earlier, the first
objective of this project is to create and validate a measure of SES to include in
analyses of racial/ethnic health care disparities in the use of covered services by
Our interest in this issue arises from the use of Medicare claims in the study of
racial/ethnic disparities. Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the fee-for-service program
present an ideal opportunity to study racial/ethnic disparities in health status,
mortality, and health services use because they have similar health care coverage. The
Medicare enrollment database (EDB) contains person-specific information on the demographic
characteristics age, gender, race/ethnicity of beneficiaries. It also
includes information on whether beneficiaries receive additional Government benefits
ranging from help paying their share of premiums to benefits not included in
regular Medicare due to their low income level. It does not, however, include any
person-level measures that are typically considered indicators of socioeconomic status.
The EDB does contain residential address information for beneficiaries that, while not in
a form that is immediately useable, can with some reasonable effort be transformed into a
geocode that corresponds to US Census designated areas (e.g., block groups, tracts,
municipalities, counties, ZIP code tabulation areas, states, divisions, regions). These
areas have some well-accepted indicators of socioeconomic status reported at least every
10 years. In fact, a literature has developed in Epidemiology, Social Medicine, and
Medical Sociology that has established the relevance of SES measures at the level of
meaningful homogeneous social aggregates like neighborhoods and communities. It has been
shown that such social aggregates reflect common culture, behavior, norms, and values in
response to selected symptoms of ill health, health care seeking behavior, as well as
demonstrating likely differences in access to services, quality of available care, and
discrimination in the provision of services.