The Surprising Pattern of Food and Service Deserts in Victoria
Access to groceries, banks and other basic services in Victoria varies with income, but not the way you may think.
The range and accessibility of basic services such as supermarkets and banks varies along with average income between neighboring postcodes in Victoria, Australia.
However, unlike the US where “banking deserts” are leaving low-income communities without access to financial services and western Sydney where “food deserts” are limiting access to groceries, Victoria seems to demonstrate the opposite pattern.
Lower income communities have significantly more schools, banks, supermarkets and health vendors within walking distance than their high income counterparts. Conversely, high income suburbs do have significantly more options within a larger driving distance.
- A high income suburb has 40% fewer banking institutions and 51% fewer grocery stores within walking distance than neighboring low income suburbs.
- Higher income suburbs have 48% more health providers and 30% more schools within driving distance.
This somewhat counter intuitive result suggests that basic services may be more numerous and distributed more widely in and around higher income suburbs, while lower income suburbs enjoy fewer, more densely grouped and accessible services.
These results are based on an analysis of the ATO postcode income data and location data extracted from the Google Maps API.
JsonMapsData = json.loads( requests.get("https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/place/textsearch/json?query=supermarkets+in+3052&radius=10000&key=YOUR_API_KEY).text)
To account for differences between regions within the state, postcodes are compared to other nearby postcodes within subregions. To further control for intra-subregion differences in general accessibility, the distance to the nearest regional center and urban or regional status of the postcode are also used as controls. Poisson regression was used to provide estimates of the intra-subregion variation in service availability. For the technically inclined, the code and data is available here.