IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Health and well-being of movers in rural and urban areas – A grid-based analysis of northern Finland birth cohort 1966


  • Lankila, Tiina
  • Näyhä, Simo
  • Rautio, Arja
  • Koiranen, Markku
  • Rusanen, Jarmo
  • Taanila, Anja


We examined the association of health and well-being with moving using a detailed geographical scale. 7845 men and women born in northern Finland in 1966 were surveyed by postal questionnaire in 1997 and linked to 1 km2 geographical grids based on each subject's home address in 1997–2000. Population density was used to classify each grid as rural (1–100 inhabitants/km²) or urban (>100 inhabitants/km²) type. Moving was treated as a three-class response variate (not moved; moved to different type of grid; moved to similar type of grid). Moving was regressed on five explanatory factors (life satisfaction, self-reported health, lifetime morbidity, activity-limiting illness and use of health services), adjusting for factors potentially associated with health and moving (gender, marital status, having children, housing tenure, education, employment status and previous move). The results were expressed as odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI). Moves from rural to urban grids were associated with dissatisfaction with current life (adjusted OR 2.01; 95% CI 1.26–3.22) and having somatic (OR 1.66; 1.07–2.59) or psychiatric (OR 2.37; 1.21–4.63) morbidities, the corresponding ORs for moves from rural to other rural grids being 1.71 (0.98–2.98), 1.63 (0.95–2.78) and 2.09 (0.93–4.70), respectively. Among urban dwellers, only the frequent use of health services (≥21 times/year) was associated with moving, the adjusted ORs being 1.65 (1.05–2.57) for moves from urban to rural grids and 1.30 (1.03–1.64) for urban to other urban grids. We conclude that dissatisfaction with life and history of diseases and injuries, especially psychiatric morbidity, may increase the propensity to move from rural to urbanised environments, while availability of health services may contribute to moves within urban areas and also to moves from urban areas to the countryside, where high-level health services enable a good quality of life for those attracted by the pastoral environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Lankila, Tiina & Näyhä, Simo & Rautio, Arja & Koiranen, Markku & Rusanen, Jarmo & Taanila, Anja, 2013. "Health and well-being of movers in rural and urban areas – A grid-based analysis of northern Finland birth cohort 1966," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 169-178.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:76:y:2013:i:c:p:169-178 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.10.021

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Norman, Paul & Boyle, Paul & Rees, Philip, 2005. "Selective migration, health and deprivation: a longitudinal analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(12), pages 2755-2771, June.
    2. Connolly, Sheelah & O'Reilly, Dermot & Rosato, Michael, 2007. "Increasing inequalities in health: Is it an artefact caused by the selective movement of people?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(10), pages 2008-2015, May.
    3. Rahkonen, Ossi & Arber, Sara & Lahelma, Eero, 1995. "Health inequalities in early adulthood: A comparison of young men and women in Britain and Finland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 163-171, July.
    4. Curtis, Sarah & Setia, Maninder S. & Quesnel-Vallee, Amelie, 2009. "Socio-geographic mobility and health status: A longitudinal analysis using the National Population Health Survey of Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 1845-1853, December.
    5. Jarmo Rusanen & Toivo Muilu & Alfred Copaert & Arvo Naukkarinen, 2001. "Finnish Socio-Economic Grid Data, GIS and the Hidden Geography of Unemployment," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 92(2), pages 139-147, May.
    6. Larson, Ann & Bell, Martin & Young, Anne Frances, 2004. "Clarifying the relationships between health and residential mobility," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(10), pages 2149-2160, November.
    7. Cox, Matthew & Boyle, Paul J. & Davey, Peter & Morris, Andrew, 2007. "Does health-selective migration following diagnosis strengthen the relationship between Type 2 diabetes and deprivation?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 32-42, July.
    8. Riva, Mylène & Curtis, Sarah & Norman, Paul, 2011. "Residential mobility within England and urban–rural inequalities in mortality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(12), pages 1698-1706.
    9. Lu, Yao, 2008. "Test of the 'healthy migrant hypothesis': A longitudinal analysis of health selectivity of internal migration in Indonesia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(8), pages 1331-1339, October.
    10. Boyle, Paul & Norman, Paul & Rees, Philip, 2002. "Does migration exaggerate the relationship between deprivation and limiting long-term illness? A Scottish analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 21-31, July.
    11. Bentham, Graham, 1988. "Migration and morbidity: Implications for geographical studies of disease," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 49-54, January.
    12. Tiina Lankila & Simo Näyhä & Arja Rautio & Tanja Nordström & Markku Koiranen & Anja Taanila & Jarmo Rusanen, 2012. "Self-reported health in urban–rural continuum: a grid-based analysis of Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 57(3), pages 525-533, June.
    13. Connolly, Sheelah & O'Reilly, Dermot, 2007. "The contribution of migration to changes in the distribution of health over time: Five-year follow-up study in Northern Ireland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 1004-1011, September.
    14. Ellis, Mark & Muschkin, Clara, 1996. "Migration of persons with AIDS--A search for support from elderly parents?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1109-1118, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:76:y:2013:i:c:p:169-178. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.