Project 038

The effect of population movement on the spatial distribution of socio-economic and health status.


Dr Sheelah Connolly


Queen’s University Belfast, Centre for Public Health



Project Summary:

Recent research has shown that despite government efforts to reduce inequalities in health between areas, the relative gap between those areas with the poorest and best health outcomes has in fact widened.  One explanation for the widening gap is that health improvements amongst people living in affluent areas have occurred at a faster rate than for people in deprived areas. An alternative explanation is there has been selective movement between areas, with more affluent individuals leaving deprived and moving towards more affluent areas. Untangling the reasons for the increasing gap is essential if the appropriate policy response is to be implemented. There is now a wealth of evidence showing that there has been a net movement of population from deprived and towards more affluent areas in recent decades and that the propensity to migrate is greatest amongst the younger, better educated and more affluent individuals and households. However, the impact of this movement on the spatial distribution of socio-economic and health status within countries remains unclear. The aim of the proposed  project is to determine if internal migration between 2000 and 2001 in Northern Ireland influenced the spatial distribution of socio-economic and health status, and therefore contributed to the widening health gap.

Publications to date

Connolly, S., Rosato, M. and O'Reilly, D. (2011) The effect of population movement on the spatial distribution of socio-economic and health status: analysis using the Northern Ireland Mortality Study. Health and Place. 10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.02.005


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