Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (4): 685-698.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201704010

• Spatial and Temporal Behavior and Cultural Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Regional inequalities of residents' health level in China: 2003-2013

Xueyan ZHAO(), Weijun WANG, Wenyu WAN   

  1. College of Geography and Environment Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2016-07-07 Revised:2016-12-20 Online:2017-04-20 Published:2017-04-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41661115, No.41361106


As one of the core problems clsoely related with human development, health inequality has aroused an increasing concern in the world. Through an integration of the coefficient of variation, Theil index, exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) and spatial panel econometric model, we examine the regional inequality, spatial-temporal dynamic patterns and the key factors of the residents' health level (RHL) in China from 2003 to 2013. The aim is to provide scientific basis for policy making on regional health inequality reduction in China. The results are shown as follows: (1) China's RHL index decreased from 0.404 to 0.295 in 2003-2013, with an annual rate of 2.698%. Specifically speaking, the growing rate in the western region was higher than that in the eastern and central regions, but the there is no change in RHL in terms of the basic pattern which decreases from the east to central part then to the west. (2) The regional inequality of RHL presented an extending trend in 2003-2013. Among this, the RHL inequality between regions presented a reducing trend, but that within a region presented an expanding trend. And the growing rate of inequalities of RHL in the western region was higher than that of the eastern and central regions. (3) The spatial distribution of RHL has tended into the letter "T" shape, and the RHL presented a stepped decrease from the east to the central part then to the west and a symmetric decrease from the north to the central part then to the south. (4) By observing the change of Moran's I in 2003, 2008 and 2013, we found that the spatial agglomeration range of RHL presented a narrowing trend. All the hot spots and cold spots presented a shrinking tendency, the RHL in the west formed a stable cold spot, including Xinjiang, Qinghai and Xizang, but that in the east coastal area formed a stable hot spot, including Shandong, Henan, Qinghai, Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shanghai. (5) The selected explanatory variables, such as per capita GDP, per capita spending on health, urbanization level and environment quality, have significant direct impacts on the RHL in China. With the increase of per capita GDP, per capita spending on health and urbanization level and the improvement of environment quality, the RHL will be raised. Finally, this paper points out the attention should be focused on the research of the regional inequality of RHL, such as the problems of the residents' multi-time-domain, multi-scale and multi-influencing mechanism.

Key words: residents, health level, regional inequality, influencing factors, China