Social Indicators Research

, Volume 134, Issue 1, pp 237–251 | Cite as

Are Area-Level Measures of Employment Associated with Health Behaviours and Outcomes?

  • Hannah BadlandEmail author
  • Allison Milner
  • Rebecca Roberts
  • Billie Giles-Corti


Accessible employment suited to residents’ needs is an important equity issue and social determinant of health and wellbeing, and a balanced jobs-housing ratio within a region has the potential to provide health benefits. This paper aims to provide evidence on the associations between employment and health, and the potential pathways, as well as identifying spatial indicators that can be used to measure urban employment, a construct of liveability. We used 2011 census data to create and test two area-level spatial measures of urban employment with geo-coded population health behaviour and outcome data (2011 VicHealth survey) in 5206 employed adults living in urban Victoria, Australia. Those living in areas with higher levels of local employment had reduced odds of a longer commute (OR 0.87). The odds of a longer commute time was also greater for those who lived in an area where more people commuted to work by private vehicle (OR 1.20), and less for those who lived in local areas where more people travelled to work by public transport (OR 0.85) or active travel (OR 0.80). The odds of reporting longer sitting times was less for those who lived in a local area where more people commuted to work by private vehicle (OR 0.65). Those who had a longer commute times, regardless of travel mode, had greater odds of reporting more sitting during a typical weekday (OR 1.67). In turn, those who spent more time sitting had significantly greater odds of reporting poorer self-rated health (OR 1.34). Such work provides evidence to policy-makers to help build the argument for which area-level attributes are needed to support urban employment across a region.


Adults Geographic information system Liveability Social determinants of health 



This work was supported by the NHMRC Centre for Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities (No. 1061404) and The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (supported by NHMRC, ACT Health, NSW Health, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA), the Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia (HCF) and the HCF Research Foundation). BGC is supported by an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow Award (No. 1004900). All authors are in part, supported by VicHealth.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McCaughey VicHealth Community Wellbeing Unit, Melbourne School of Population and Global HealthThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Work, Health, and Wellbeing Unit, Population Health Strategic Research Centre, School of Health and Social DevelopmentDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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