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Title: Leveraging open data to reconstruct the Singapore Housing Index and other building-level markers of socioeconomic status for health services research
Authors: Lim, Daniel Yan Zheng
Wong, Ting Hway 
Feng, Mengling 
Ong, Marcus Eng Hock 
Ho, Andrew Fu Wah 
Keywords: Health inequality
Health services research
Population characteristics
Population health
Social class
Socioeconomic determinants of health
Socioeconomic status
Issue Date: 3-Oct-2021
Publisher: NLM (Medline)
Citation: Lim, Daniel Yan Zheng, Wong, Ting Hway, Feng, Mengling, Ong, Marcus Eng Hock, Ho, Andrew Fu Wah (2021-10-03). Leveraging open data to reconstruct the Singapore Housing Index and other building-level markers of socioeconomic status for health services research. International journal for equity in health 20 (1). ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Socioeconomic status (SES) is an important determinant of health, and SES data is an important confounder to control for in epidemiology and health services research. Individual level SES measures are cumbersome to collect and susceptible to biases, while area level SES measures may have insufficient granularity. The 'Singapore Housing Index' (SHI) is a validated, building level SES measure that bridges individual and area level measures. However, determination of the SHI has previously required periodic data purchase and manual parsing. In this study, we describe a means of SHI determination for public housing buildings with open government data, and validate this against the previous SHI determination method. METHODS: Government open data sources (e.g. DATA:, Singapore Land Authority OneMAP API, Urban Redevelopment Authority API) were queried using custom Python scripts. Data on residential public housing block address and composition from the HDB Property Information dataset ( was matched to postal code and geographical coordinates via OneMAP API calls. The SHI was calculated from open data, and compared to the original SHI dataset that was curated from non-open data sources in 2018. RESULTS: Ten thousand seventy-seven unique residential buildings were identified from open data. OneMAP API calls generated valid geographical coordinates for all (100%) buildings, and valid postal code for 10,012 (99.36%) buildings. There was an overlap of 10,011 buildings between the open dataset and the original SHI dataset. Intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.999 for the two sources of SHI, indicating almost perfect agreement. A Bland-Altman plot analysis identified a small number of outliers, and this revealed 5 properties that had an incorrect SHI assigned by the original dataset. Information on recently transacted property prices was also obtained for 8599 (85.3%) of buildings. CONCLUSION: SHI, a useful tool for health services research, can be accurately reconstructed using open datasets at no cost. This method is a convenient means for future researchers to obtain updated building-level markers of socioeconomic status for policy and research. © 2021. The Author(s).
Source Title: International journal for equity in health
ISSN: 1475-9276
DOI: 10.1186/s12939-021-01554-8
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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