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Neighbourhood influences on health in Montréal, Canada


  • Ross, Nancy A.
  • Tremblay, Stéphane
  • Graham, Katie


This paper examines neighbourhood effects on health within a large Canadian city--Montréal. Our approach is to consider that individual health outcomes are determined both by individual and neighbourhood characteristics and we consciously take on the problem of neighbourhood definition by developing 'natural' neighbourhoods. Our data come from the Montréal health region sample of the 2000/1 Canadian Community Health Survey, a comprehensive national survey that contains information on health outcomes as well as behavioural and socio-demographic information. Respondents were placed into 'naturally' defined neighbourhoods as opposed to arbitrary geostatistical units, responding to calls in the literature to develop more meaningful units of analysis. We also compare the 'natural' neighbourhood approach with the use of standard census tracts as the unit of analysis. Results show significant between-neighbourhood variation in health status with about 3% of the variance in the Health Utilities Index captured at the neighbourhood level, even after controlling for a variety of socio-demographic and behavioural variables at the individual level. Models using census tracts as the unit of analysis had remarkably similar results to the 'natural' neighbourhood models, suggesting that census tracts are good proxies for natural neighbourhood boundaries in studies of neighbourhood effects on health.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross, Nancy A. & Tremblay, Stéphane & Graham, Katie, 2004. "Neighbourhood influences on health in Montréal, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 1485-1494, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:7:p:1485-1494

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    Cited by:

    1. Verbich, David & El-Geneidy, Ahmed, 2017. "Public transit fare structure and social vulnerability in Montreal, Canada," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 43-53.
    2. Harrington, Daniel W. & Elliott, Susan J., 2009. "Weighing the importance of neighbourhood: A multilevel exploration of the determinants of overweight and obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 593-600, February.
    3. Dike, Nkem & Onwujekwe, Obinna & Ojukwu, Juliana & Ikeme, Arthur & Uzochukwu, Benjamin & Shu, Elvis, 2006. "Influence of education and knowledge on perceptions and practices to control malaria in Southeast Nigeria," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 103-106, July.
    4. Carpiano, Richard M., 2008. "Actual or potential neighborhood resources and access to them: Testing hypotheses of social capital for the health of female caregivers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 568-582, August.
    5. Crouse, Dan L. & Ross, Nancy A. & Goldberg, Mark S., 2009. "Double burden of deprivation and high concentrations of ambient air pollution at the neighbourhood scale in Montreal, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 971-981, September.
    6. Robinette, Jennifer W. & Charles, Susan T. & Mogle, Jacqueline A. & Almeida, David M., 2013. "Neighborhood cohesion and daily well-being: Results from a diary study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 174-182.
    7. Stafford, Mai & Duke-Williams, Oliver & Shelton, Nicola, 2008. "Small area inequalities in health: Are we underestimating them?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 891-899, September.
    8. Newbold, K. Bruce & Neligan, David, 2012. "Disaggregating Canadian immigrant smoking behaviour by country of birth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(6), pages 997-1005.
    9. Mercado, Ruben & Páez, Antonio, 2009. "Determinants of distance traveled with a focus on the elderly: a multilevel analysis in the Hamilton CMA, Canada," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 65-76.
    10. Wanyeki, Ian & Olson, Sherry & Brassard, Paul & Menzies, Dick & Ross, Nancy & Behr, Marcel & Schwartzman, Kevin, 2006. "Dwellings, crowding, and tuberculosis in Montreal," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 501-511, July.
    11. Abada, Teresa & Hou, Feng & Ram, Bali, 2007. "Racially mixed neighborhoods, perceived neighborhood social cohesion, and adolescent health in Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(10), pages 2004-2017, November.
    12. Frohlich, Katherine L. & Ross, Nancy & Richmond, Chantelle, 2006. "Health disparities in Canada today: Some evidence and a theoretical framework," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(2-3), pages 132-143, December.
    13. Kendzor, Darla E. & Reitzel, Lorraine R. & Mazas, Carlos A. & Cofta-Woerpel, Ludmila M. & Cao, Yumei & Ji, Lingyun & Costello, Tracy J. & Vidrine, Jennifer Irvin & Businelle, Michael S. & Li, Yisheng , 2012. "Individual- and area-level unemployment influence smoking cessation among African Americans participating in a randomized clinical trial," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(9), pages 1394-1401.


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