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Equiplot: A Chart to Display Equity Data

on Sat, 02/07/2015 - 23:27

The International Center for Equity in Health, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil has proposed a visual form to represent and communicate equity data effectively to health professionals, health managers and policy makers, and the general public. The chart has been called Equiplot.  

Equiplot allows to compare absolute inequality among countries, interventions, or even over time by presenting a health outcome metric (e.g. infant mortality, intervention coverage, etc.) across groups, so that it is possible to see both the level of the metric in each group and the distance between groups, which represents the absolute inequality. More info about equiplot can found here.

Groups are created based on a health determinant, for instance, quintiles of income per capita, education level using number of years of education; or simply by area of residence (rural and urban).

The International Center for Equity in Health has also developed a Stata code (do file) that allows for anyone using this package to produce this type of graph.

Equiplot in Tableau

Motivated by the proposal from the International Center for Equity in Health, I decided to implement Equiplot using Tableau Public.  

An hypothetical data set was created just for illustration purpose. The data table includes four fields or columns: years, group of countries by quintiles of income per capita (income_quintiles) where Q1 is the most diadvantge group and Q5 the most advantage group of countriews, infant mortality rate (IMR) and number live births (Pop<1). 


More dimensions could be included in the data set to be considered in the visualizatiobn, but for now the simplest configuration of Equiplot, with just one dimension (years), will be illustrated.

The bellow illustration of equiplot presents the infant mortality rate for groups of countries by quintiles of income per capita over the years 1991, 2000 and 2010. Panel 1 displays the dot/circle of groups color coded to facilitate thier identification and every dot having the same size. Panel 2 shows groups weighted by population size using graduated symbols. As this is an interactive data visualization, readers are able to get additional information by hovering over a dot symbol or the line representing the distance between groups. Note that hovering over the line two summary disparity measures will be shown, absolute difference (Q1-Q5) and relative difference (rate ratio: Q1/Q5). 

We are able to quickly see that both level and abosolute difference of infant mortality decrease over time from 1991 to 2010. 

This current version of Equiplot could be improved by showing summary measures of inequality. In further blog posts I will share next iterations of Equipot and its applications in health disparity analyses. 

Feel free to download the Tableau workbook (by clicking on the Download button at the bottom-right of the viz)  to learn how the visualization was built.

Best, Ramon

Related contents

From Health Disparity to Health Equity is a sound presentation about equity and disparities, and the operationalization of these concepts in the context of public health.



Apolosi's picture

Congratulation and this is great innovation. I am wondering is there a equity study can be done for a country on pharmaceutical accessibility and equity?

rod taylor's picture

Wonderful tool and great step in moving the use of metrics forward in depicting various health and healthcare disparities and inequities. Serious potential applications..

Congrats and Thanks!

Neelam Sekhri Feachem's picture

How would we access it?

Aluisio Barros's picture

Hi Ramon,

Great to see you enjoyed our equiplot, and improved it. They look very good in Tableau. And the sizing of the dots is a very nice touch if you work with unequal groupings. With wealth quintiles (readily available in DHS/MICS surveys) the population size is the same in each group and this is not necessary. But in many places various groupings in terms of minimum wage or poverty lines are often used and the weighting comes in handy.

Congratulations for you blog!

Aluisio Barros
Int. Center for Equity in Health (ICEH)

Qureshi's picture

Can anyone please tell the steps on how to create equiplot in Excel.

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