What do we mean by small area analysis?
__ Small area analysis is an assessment procedure that focuses on small specific geographic areas or populations in order to point up disparities or differences among them and between them and a larger statistical pattern.
__ It is usually important to involve the community in conducting small area analysis.
Why conduct small area analysis?
__ Small area analysis can identify disparities in health and services.
__ It can show you issues you wouldn’t otherwise see.
__ It helps you decide where to allocate resources.
__ Small area analysis clarifies what problems, issues, and assets exist where.
__ It can show what kind of effort is likely to be most effective in a particular place or with a particular population.
__ Small area analysis can help to identify causes or contributing factors to a condition.
When should you conduct small area analysis?
__ When small areas are what you’re responsible for.
__ When you have to allocate limited resources among a large number of areas.
__ When statistics don’t add up.
__ When you’re trying to pinpoint sources or causes of conditions.
Who should be involved in conducting small area analysis?
A short list of those who might conduct or contribute to small area analysis:
__ Citizens concerned with or affected by conditions that create disparities among groups in different areas or with different characteristics.
__ Public health agencies, officials, and coalitions.
__ Other public agencies that provide services (e.g., welfare, children’s services).
__ NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and community-based human service organizations.
__ Community activists.
__ Police and fire departments.
__ Hospitals, clinics, and health professionals.
__ Community developers.
__ Community and regional planners.
__ Municipal service departments, such as water, sewer, traffic, and public works.
__ Foresters, wildlife biologists, and others concerned with the natural environment and unbuilt areas.
How do you conduct small area analysis?
__ Encourage community participation.
__ Identify the outcomes you hope will result from small area analysis.
__ Define the small areas you’ll examine.
__ Choose the information you’ll look for, including:
- Environmental factors that might contribute to disparities
- Social determinants related to disparities
__ Decide where you’ll seek information.
- The census
- Organizational and institutional files
- Municipal records
- State and federal government agency files
- Direct, hands-on information gathering
__ Determine how you’ll analyze the information.
- Consider the timeliness of the information.
- Consider the quality of the information.
- Consider the geographic and demographic areas the information describes.
- Ask yourself questions that will help to identify and explain differences among small areas and between them and the larger community or statistical area.
- Are there disparities between small and larger areas?
- Are there disparities among small areas?
- Are there disparities within small areas?
- Are there factors in the physical environment that might contribute to or explain differences?
- Are there social, political, and/or economic factors (social determinants of health or SDOH) that might contribute to or explain differences?
- Are there cultural differences among the residents of small areas that contribute to the differences?
- Are there trends that show the issue increasing or decreasing in particular small areas or among particular population groups?
- Are numbers dependent on when measurements were taken?
- Do you know something the numbers don’t?
__ Evaluate your small area analysis effort.