Heterogeneity/granularity in ethnicity classifications project: the need for refining assessment of health status

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Title: Heterogeneity/granularity in ethnicity classifications project: the need for refining assessment of health status
Authors: Villarroel, Nazmy | Davidson, Emma | Pereyra-Zamora, Pamela | Krasnik, Allan | Bhopal, Raj S.
Research Group/s: Grupo Balmis de Investigación en Salud Comunitaria e Historia de la Ciencia
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Enfermería Comunitaria, Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública e Historia de la Ciencia
Keywords: Heterogeneity | Granularity | Ethnicity classifications | Health status
Knowledge Area: Enfermería
Issue Date: Apr-2019
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Citation: European Journal of Public Health. 2019, 29(2): 260-266. doi:10.1093/eurpub/cky191
Abstract: Background: Identifying ethnic inequalities in health requires data with sufficiently ‘granular’ (fine detailed) classifications of ethnicity to capture sub-group variation in healthcare use, risk factors and health behaviors. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), in the USA, commissioned us to explore granular approaches to ethnicity data collection outside of the USA, commencing with the European Union. Methods: We examined official data sources (population censuses/registers) within the EU-28 to determine the granularity of their approach to ethnicity. When ethnic information was not available, related variables were sought (e.g. country of birth). Results: Within the EU-28, we found 55% of countries collected data on ethnicity. However, only 26% of these countries (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) had a granular approach, with half of these being within the UK. Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Republic of Cyprus and Slovenia collected one to six categories. A ‘write-in’ option only was found in Latvia, Romania and the Czech Republic. Forty-five percent of countries did not collect ethnicity data but collected other related variables. Conclusions: (i) Although there is reasonable attention to the diversity of ethnic groups in data collection, a granular approach does not predominate within EU-28 classifications. (ii) Where ethnicity is collected, it is conceptualized in different ways and diverse terminology is used. (iii) A write-in option provides the most granular approach. (iv) Almost half of the countries did not collect data on ethnicity, but did collect related variables that could be used as a proxy.
Sponsor: Funding for the study was provided through funds from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and CAF America as part of the project Heterogeneity/Granularity in Ethnicity Classifications outside the United States: HGEC project (RB0408 CAF RWJF). This research was supported by the Usher institute of population health science and informatics, The University of Edinburgh.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/90187
ISSN: 1101-1262 (Print) | 1464-360X (Online)
DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/cky191
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cky191
Appears in Collections:INV - BISCHA - Artículos de Revistas

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