Does alcohol outlet density differ by area-level disadvantage in metropolitan Perth?

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Introduction and Aims: Research suggests that there are area-level disparities in alcohol outlets, with greater density in disadvantaged areas. In part, this might be explained by the inequitable distribution of retail, attracted by lower rents to disadvantaged neighbourhoods. This ecological study examines the distribution of liquor licences in Perth, Australia, and whether discrepancies in the distribution of retail land-uses could account for a socio-economic gradient. Design and Methods: Area disadvantage was determined for each Statistical Area 1 (SA1) using the Australian Bureau of Statistics Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage, and licence locations were mapped in GIS. Negative binomial loglinear models examined whether licence densities within SA1s differed by area disadvantage, controlling for demographics and spatial correlation. Models included an offset term, so the estimated effects of area-level disadvantage were on licences per km2, or licences per retail destination. Results: In the area-based analyses, for every unit increase in disadvantage decile (i.e. a reduction in relative disadvantage), general licences reduced by 15% (P=0.000) and liquor stores reduced by 7% (P=0.004). These gradients were not apparent when licences were examined as a function of retail; however, for every unit increase in disadvantage decile, the density of on-premise licences per retail destination increased by 14% (P=0.000). Discussion and Conclusions: The direction of the socio-economic gradient for general licences and liquor stores in Perth is concerning, as all licences selling packaged alcohol were more abundant in disadvantaged areas. However, the over-representation of packaged liquor in disadvantaged areas may relate to the increased provision of retail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-708
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


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