Intended for healthcare professionals


Postcodes don't indicate individuals' social class

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 09 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1003
  1. Philip McLoone, research associate,
  2. Anne Ellaway, research
  1. MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RZ

    EDITOR—In their report Danesh and colleagues said that an individual's postcode of residence could be used as a marker for his or her social class.1 This inference was based on the association between income reported in a survey and estimated household income for postcodes supplied by a commercial company. The accompanying commentary by Ben-Shlomo and Davey Smith cautioned that researchers should not attribute population characteristics to individuals—the ecological fallacy.2 These authors questioned the meaning of the association reported …

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