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The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
icddr,b
ISSN: 1606-0997
EISSN: 2072-1315
Vol. 28, No. 5, 2010, pp. 509-519
Bioline Code: hn10066
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 28, No. 5, 2010, pp. 509-519

 en Constructing indices of rural living standards in Northwestern Bangladesh
Gunnsteinsson, Snaebjorn; Labrique, Alain B.; West, Keith P.; Christian, Parul; Mehra, Sucheta; Shamim, Abu Ahmed; Rashid, Mahbubur; Katz, Joanne & Klemm, Rolf D. W.

Abstract

This study aimed to construct indices of living standards in rural Bangladesh that could be useful to study health outcomes or identify target populations for poverty-alleviation programmes. The indices were con-structed using principal component analysis of data on household assets and house construction materials. Their robustness and use was tested and found to be internally consistent and correlated with maternal and infant health, nutritional and demographic indicators, and infant mortality. Indices derived from 9 or 10 household asset variables performed well; little was gained by adding more variables but problems emerged if fewer variables were used. A ranking of the most informative assets from this rural, South Asian context is provided. Living standards consistently and significantly improved over the six-year study period. It is concluded that simple household socioeconomic data, collected under field conditions, can be used for constructing reliable and useful indices of living standards in rural South Asian communities that can assist in the assessment of health, quality of life, and capabilities of households and their members.

Keywords
Health; Living standards; Socioeconomic status; Wealth index; Bangladesh

 
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