Comparison of two approaches for measuring household wealth via an asset-based index in rural and peri-urban settings of Hunan province, China

Balen, Julie, McManus, Donald P., Li, Yue-Sheng, Zhao, Zheng-Yuan, Yuan, Li-Ping, Utzinger, Jurg, Williams, Gail M., Li, Ying, Ren, Mao-Yuan, Liu, Zong-Chuan, Zhou, Jie and Raso, Giovanna (2010) Comparison of two approaches for measuring household wealth via an asset-based index in rural and peri-urban settings of Hunan province, China. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology, 7 Article number 7: 1-17. doi:10.1186/1742-7622-7-7


Author Balen, Julie
McManus, Donald P.
Li, Yue-Sheng
Zhao, Zheng-Yuan
Yuan, Li-Ping
Utzinger, Jurg
Williams, Gail M.
Li, Ying
Ren, Mao-Yuan
Liu, Zong-Chuan
Zhou, Jie
Raso, Giovanna
Title Comparison of two approaches for measuring household wealth via an asset-based index in rural and peri-urban settings of Hunan province, China
Journal name Emerging Themes in Epidemiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1742-7622
Publication date 2010-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1742-7622-7-7
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue Article number 7
Start page 1
End page 17
Total pages 17
Place of publication London, England
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background.
There are growing concerns regarding inequities in health, with poverty being an important determinant of health as well as a product of health status. Within the People's Republic of China (P.R. China), disparities in socio-economic position are apparent, with the rural-urban gap of particular concern. Our aim was to compare direct and proxy methods of estimating household wealth in a rural and a peri-urban setting of Hunan province, P.R. China.

Methods.

We collected data on ownership of household durable assets, housing characteristics, and utility and sanitation variables in two village-wide surveys in Hunan province. We employed principal components analysis (PCA) and principal axis factoring (PAF) to generate household asset-based proxy wealth indices. Households were grouped into quartiles, from 'most wealthy' to 'most poor'. We compared the estimated household wealth for each approach. Asset-based proxy wealth indices were compared to those based on self-reported average annual income and savings at the household level.

Results.

Spearman's rank correlation analysis revealed that PCA and PAF yielded similar results, indicating that either approach may be used for estimating household wealth. In both settings investigated, the two indices were significantly associated with self-reported average annual income and combined income and savings, but not with savings alone. However, low correlation coefficients between the proxy and direct measures of wealth indicated that they are not complementary. We found wide disparities in ownership of household durable assets, and utility and sanitation variables, within and between settings.

Conclusion.
PCA and PAF yielded almost identical results and generated robust proxy wealth indices and categories. Pooled data from the rural and peri-urban settings highlighted structural differences in wealth, most likely a result of localized urbanization and modernization. Further research is needed to improve measurements of wealth in low-income and transitional country contexts. © 2010 Balen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 11 Feb 2011, 01:54:21 EST by Geraldine Fitzgerald on behalf of School of Public Health