The accuracy of address coding and the effects of coding errors

Health Place. 2007 Mar;13(1):293-8. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2005.08.006. Epub 2005 Sep 12.


Studies that estimate the influence of characteristics of place on health often use geocoded addresses to identify location of study subjects. This study uses housing built before 1990 selected for the 1995-2001 National Health Interview Survey (N=252,421) to develop a standard against which geocodes obtained from an address-coding program are compared. The results show that geocoding is generally accurate and is more successful in urban areas. Blockgroups with missing codes are more rural and somewhat poorer than blockgroups with correct codes. The effect of incorrect codes on statistical analyses depends on the proportion rural in a study population.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Censuses
  • Forms and Records Control / standards*
  • Geographic Information Systems / standards*
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Residence Characteristics / classification*
  • Rural Population / classification
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Urban Population / classification
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data