Place of Residence and Cognitive Function among the Adult Population in India

Hanzhang Xu, Truls Ostbye, Allison A. Vorderstrasse, Matthew E. Dupre, Bei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The place of residence has been linked to cognitive function among adults in developed countries. This study examined how urban and rural residence was associated with cognitive function among adults in India. Methods: The World Health Organization Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health data was used to examine cognition among 6,244 community-residing adults age 50+ in 6 states in India. Residential status was categorized as urban, rural, urban-to-urban, rural-to-urban, rural-to-rural, and urban-to-rural. Cognition was assessed by immediate and delayed recall tests, digit span test, and verbal fluency test. Multilevel models were used to account for state-level differences and adjusted for individual-level sociodemographic, psychosocial, and health-related factors. Results: Urban residents and urban-to-urban migrants had the highest levels of cognition, whereas rural residents and those who migrated to (or within) rural areas had the lowest cognition. The differences largely persisted after adjustment for multiple covariates; however, rural-to-urban migrants had no difference in cognition from urban residents once socioeconomic factors were taken into account. Conclusion: Cognition among adults in India differed significantly according to their current and past place of residence. Socioeconomic factors played an important role in the cognitive function of adults in urban areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • India
  • Social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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