Neighborhood characteristics

Neighborhood characteristics

LASA filenames:
LASAz095 / LASMB095

Contact: Fleur Thomese


Social and physical characteristics of the neighborhoods in which older adults live may be relevant to a variety of outcomes in the lives of older adults, like social participation and network characteristics, institutionalization, or physical exercise. We collected data at both neighborhood and individual level, with a focus on neighborhood characteristics that are connected to large-scale societal dynamics.

Information on housing characteristics can be found here.
Information on relocation can be found here.
Information on urbanization can be found here.

Measurement instruments

Neighborhood level data come from a database provided by Statistics Netherlands. They include the geographical location of the address, the level of urbanization and a variety of indicators of neighborhood status. For each neighborhood, the postal code (with four digits, without the alphanumeric extension) served as the variable to match the data with the respondents. More information on the level of urbanization and delineation of neighborhoods can be found here. The percentage of non-western immigrants is based on population registries.

At the individual level, three items were asked for neighborhood evaluation:

– How many years do you live in this neighborhood?,
– Do you generally like living in this neighborhood?, and:
– Do you feel safe to go out in this neighborhood in the evening?
Answers to the last two questions were yes or no.


LASA015: see housing

Variable information

LASA015: see housing;
LASAz095 / LASMB095: see urbanization

Availability of information per wave


Neighborhood level



% Immigrants

Mean income

Individual level
Years in neighborhood
(var: yneigh)
Feel safe night
(var: safe)
Like living
(var: pleas)

¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort (in processing);
K=not available yet

Ma=data collected in main interview

Previous use in LASA

The number and continuation of relationships with proximate kin and non-kin partly depend on qualities of the neighborhood (Thomese et al., 2000, 2003). Such neighborhood qualities are relevant to physical and mental health as well (Deeg and Thomese, 2005) ), and may also affect the choice of destination when moving (Bloem et al., 2008). Neighborhood safety has also been related to cycling (Kremers et al., 2012).


  1. Bloem, B.A., Van Tilburg, T.G., Thomése, G.C.F. (2013). Starting relationships with neighbors after a move later in life: An exploratory study. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 27, 28-47.
  2. Kremers, S.P.J., De Bruijn, G.J., Visscher, T.L.S., Deeg, D.J.H., Thomése, G.C.F., Visser, M., Van Mechelen, W., Brug, J. (2012). Associations between Safety from Crime, Cycling, and Obesity in a Dutch Elderly Population: Results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Journal of Environmental and Public Health,article ID 127857, 1-6
  3. Bloem, B.A., Van Tilburg, T.G., Thomése, G.C.F. (2008). Residential mobility in older Dutch adults: Influence of later life events. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, 1, 3, 21-44.
  4. Deeg, D.J.H., Thomése, G.C.F. (2005). Discrepancies between personal income and neighbourhood status: Effects on physical and mental health. European Journal of Ageing, 2, 98-108.
  5. Thomese F, van Tilburg TG and Knipscheer CPM (2003). Continuation of exchange with neighbors in later life. The importance of the neighbourhood context. Personal Relationships, 10: 535-550.
  6. Thomese F and van Tilburg TG (2000). Neighbouring networks and environmental dependency. Differential effects of neighbourhood characteristics on the relative size and composition of neighbouring networks of older adults in The Netherlands. Ageing and Society, 20: 55-78.

Date of last update: February, 2015