Social Housing and Health in Manitoba IJPDS (2017) Issue 1, Vol 1:354 Proceedings of the IPDLN Conference (August 2016)

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Mark Smith
Greg Finlayson
Patricia Martens
Jim Dunn
Heather Prior
Carole Taylor
Ruth-Ann Soodeen
Aynslie Hinds
Charles Burchill
Wendy Guenette
Published online: Apr 19, 2017


Fourteen years of social housing data (1995-2008) were acquired from the provincial government. This allowed for an unprecedented opportunity to describe the population of individuals living in social housing and, through data linkage, to compare them to the rest of the province on a number of health and social indicators.

Using data from the entire population of the province of Manitoba, Canada, cross-sectional comparison were made between those living in social housing and those not on 19 indicators of morbidity, mortality, health care utilization and social development. Regression models were developed to control for age, sex, region of residence, comorbidities, income and neighborhood level SES.

50% of the population in social housing are under the age 20, 75% are female and 50% of applicants receive some form of income assistance. As expected there are significant differences on most health status measures when compared to individuals not in social housing. However, after controlling for confounding factors most differences between the two groups disappear indicating that there is no independent effect of living in social housing. A few exceptions were noted on measures of total respiratory morbidity, mammography and high school completion rates, the later showing a very significant interaction with neighborhood level SES.

Despite overall poor health status, after controlling for income and other confounding factors individuals in social housing score no worse on many measures of health care utilization and prevention. High school completion rates, in particular, showed a very strong interaction with neighborhood level SES. Policy implications of this research are discussed.


Failing to graduate high school is linked to many risk factors, including family history academic achievement. This research examines how important an older sibling's academic achievement is in predicting whether a younger sibling will graduate high school.


This study used linkable administrative databases housed at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP). The cohort consists of 33,843 individuals born in Manitoba between April 1, 1983 and March 31, 1994, who stayed in the province until at least their 20th birthday, had at least one older sibling, and had no missing values on key variables. Logistic regression, controlling for a variety of confounders, is used to determine how much having an older sibling who didn't graduate high school impacts the odds of a younger sibling not graduating high school.


The adjusted odds of not graduating high school within 6 years of entering grade nine for individuals who had at least one older sibling who did not graduate high school was 4.81 (p < 0.0001, 95% CI 4.4-5.2) times higher than for individuals whose older sibling(s) graduated high school. Individuals living in low income neighborhoods at birth or age 18, individuals living in rural northern Manitoba at birth or age 18, and individuals who moved before age 18 were significantly less likely to finish high school. High school graduation rates for those living in the lowest income quintile at age 18 whose older siblings graduated high school were higher than those living in the highest income quintile at age 18 and had at least one older sibling who did not graduate high school.


The influence of an older sibling's educational achievement has significant implications for younger siblings' odds of high school graduation. This is likely due to social learning (younger sibling modeling actions of older sibling), and the shared parental influence and social risk experienced by both siblings.

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