• We are seeking feedback from rural health stakeholders, the health research community and health policy makers on the proposed models for a Geographic Classification for Health (GCH).


  • When reviewing the proposed versions of GCH you should bear in mind what the statistician George Box famously said, that is “all models are wrong, but some are useful”.  All models will contain anomalies. The aim is to generate a model that is a best, not a perfect fit.


  • Different purposes demand different classification systems. The goal here is a valid and reliable rural-urban taxonomy that is fit-for-purpose in relation to identifying rural health needs and status, differences in the availability of health services, and as the basis for the efficient and equitable allocation of scarce health resources.


  • There are 3 different maps that represent different ways of defining rural/urban for health purposes. The base unit of all the maps is the Statistics NZ small area unit (SA1), meaning that they can all be used to compare health related outcomes using nationally collected data sets.


  • The population numbers in each category are presented in tables that are beside each map on the blog. See attached links or use the menu on this blog to go to each version of the proposed maps.


Example of Map Version 1 South Island

Stats NZ- UAC

South Island map version 2

Statistics NZ UAC map

Proposed Geographic Classification for Health Maps- Version 1

Proposed Geographic Classification for Health Maps- Version 2

  • The Statistics NZ UAC represents the new statistical rural/urban classification. It includes a significantly sized peri-urban population, but does not differentiate rural areas with different levels of health services


  • In the proposed version 1 and version 2 of the GCH maps, rurality is defined as beginning 25 minutes travel time from the outer perimeter of larger urban centres. There are then increasing degrees of rurality as travel time increases.




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