Our study used multilevel regression analysis to identify individual- and neighbourhood-level factors that determine individual-level subjective well-being in Rhini, a deprived suburb of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The Townsend index and Gini coefficient were used to investigate whether contextual neighbourhood-level differences in socioeconomic status determined individual-level subjective well-being. Crime experience, health status, social capital, and demographic variables were assessed at the individual level. The indicators of subjective well-being were estimated with a two-level random-intercepts and fixed slopes model. Social capital, health and marital status (all p<.001), followed by income level (p<.01) and the Townsend score (p<.05) were significantly related to individual-level subjective well-being outcomes. Our findings showed that individual-level subjective well-being is influenced by neighbourhood-level socioeconomic status as measured by the Townsend deprivation score. Individuals reported higher levels of subjective well-being in less deprived neighbourhoods. Here we wish to highlight the role of context for subjective well-being, and to suggest that subjective well-being outcomes may also be defined in ecological terms. We hope the findings are useful for implementing programs and interventions designed to achieve greater subjective well-being for people living in deprived areas.

Deprived communities, Multilevel regression analysis, Neighbourhood socioeconomic status, South Africa, Subjective well-being
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-011-9790-0, hdl.handle.net/1765/68173
Social Indicators Research: an international and interdisciplinary journal for quality-of-life measurement
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Cramm, J.M, Møller, V, & Nieboer, A.P. (2012). Individual- and Neighbourhood-Level Indicators of Subjective Well-Being in a Small and Poor Eastern Cape Township: The Effect of Health, Social Capital, Marital Status, and Income. Social Indicators Research: an international and interdisciplinary journal for quality-of-life measurement, 105(3), 581–593. doi:10.1007/s11205-011-9790-0