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An urban–rural classification for health services research in Ireland

Conor Teljeur, Alan Kelly


To analyse small area variation in health status and outcomes, it is important to understand area type and the degree to which an area is urban or rural. The previous urban-rural classification for Ireland was based on a simple dichotomy which ignored the range of settlement and area types. Multiple data sources including population density, settlement size and land-use were used to develop a new urban-rural classification for small areas in Ireland. This classification provides better distinction between the variety of settlement types that exist than the simple dichotomous classification. Comparison using proxies for socio-economic and health status shows how the various classes are distinctive. This classification provides a useful new tool for Irish health research.

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