Objectives: This study examines the association of neighbourhood low income and income inequality with individual health outcomes in Toronto, Canada's largest census metropolitan area.
Data sources: The data are from the cross-sectional component of Statistics Canada's 1996/97 National Population Health Survey (NPHS) and the 1996 Census of Population.
Analytical techniques: Individual records for Toronto residents aged 12 or older who responded to the 1996/97 NPHS were augmented with aggregated data from the 1996 Census to provide information on the average socio-economic characteristics of the respondents' neighbourhoods. Hierarchical linear models were used to estimate the effect of low income and income inequality at the neighbourhood level on selected health outcomes.
Main results: When individual low-income status and several other individual characteristics were taken into account, the neighbourhood low-income rate and income inequality were not associated with individuals' reported number of chronic conditions or distress. However, both low income and income inequality at the neighbourhood level remained significantly associated with poor self-perceived health.