Use of the Area Deprivation Index and Rural Applications in the Peer-Reviewed Literature


The Area Deprivation Index (ADI) was developed to capture area-level social deprivation for use in policy and research. In this literature review, researchers find that the use of the ADI in research is common. Findings from this study suggest that there is a growing body of evidence regarding the ADI, but there is significant heterogeneity in these studies and interpretation of findings, including inconsistency in adjustments for rurality.

Key Findings:

  • The ADI has been used widely in the peer-reviewed literature related to health outcomes, particularly in clinical research and studies based at single organizations.
  • There is a lack of consensus in how researchers define “deprivation” based on ADI.
  • About a third of studies include ADI and a measure of rurality, but none consider the relationship between ADI level and rurality.
  • Future research is needed to understand how applications of the ADI may differentially affect communities and individuals by rurality, race, and ethnicity.
Rural Health Equity Research Center
Casey Balio, Nicole Galler, Stephanie Mathis, Margaret Francisco, Chyanne Morrison, Michael Meit, Robert Pack, Kate Beatty