Updated: Ontario Marginalization Index and New Interactive Map


24 Aug 2023

Part of Public Health Ontario’s (PHO) mandate is enabling informed decisions and actions that protect and promote health and contribute to reducing health inequities in Ontario. Health equity is created when individuals have the fair opportunity to reach their fullest health potential.

PHO has partnered with the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael's Hospital to update the Ontario Marginalization Index (ON-Marg) with data from the 2021 Canadian census. This product measures multiple axes of marginalization in Ontario, including economic, ethno-racial, age-based and social marginalization, allowing users to identify priority populations and explore patterns of health inequity.

How can ON-Marg be used?

Many causes of health inequities relate to social and environmental factors including: income, social status, racism, sexism, education and physical environment. ON-Marg can help facilitate discussions about marginalized populations and contribute to a deeper understanding of health inequities trends across Ontario. The index can be used for:

  • Planning and needs assessment: For example, ON-Marg can be used to identify if rates of hospitalizations for a particular disease, such as diabetes, are higher amongst marginalized communities and additional supports are needed to address these inequities.
  • Resource allocation: For example, marginalization indexes could be used in funding formulae for primary health care services.
  • Monitoring of inequities: For example, marginalization indexes can provide a way to monitor changes in areas over time to look for improvement or to identify areas that may be in decline.
  • Research: For example, in the health sector there is a long history of using small area indexes to describe the relationship between marginalization and health outcomes; greater marginalization is associated with higher mortality rates and higher rates of many diseases.

With this latest release, ON-Marg data is available for 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021 – making it possible to track changes in marginalization and health equity over a 20-year timeframe. Users can also explore data within smaller or larger geographies, such as public health units.

What’s new this year?

After consulting with community groups across Ontario, the dimension names for the 2021 version of ON-Marg have been changed to be more inclusive:

  • Households and dwellings (previously called ‘Residential instability’): Includes indicators that measure types and density of residential accommodations, and certain family structure characteristics, such as % living alone and % dwellings not owned.
  • Material resources (previously called ‘Material deprivation): Includes indicators that measure access to and attainment of basic material needs, such as % unemployment and % without a high school degree.
  • Age and labour force (previously called ‘Dependency’): Includes indicators to describe % seniors (65+), the dependency ratio (the ratio of seniors and children to the population 15-64) and % not participating in the labour force.
  • Racialized and newcomer populations (previously called ‘Ethnic concentration’): Includes indicators to describe % recent immigrants and % who self-identify as a ‘visible minority’ (as defined by Statistics Canada).

New: Ontario Marginalization Index Map

The updated ON-Marg coincides with the launch of the new Ontario Marginalization Index Map. This new interactive map includes the most current ON-Marg 2021 data, as well as the historical 2016, 2011 and 2006 ON-Marg data, providing users the ability to visualize and explore the geographic distribution of marginalization in Ontario at the Dissemination Area (DA) level. This resource replaces the existing Social Determinants of Health Map and provides users with faster performance and enhanced functionality, such as the ability to summarize data by public health unit and display Ontario Health region boundaries and Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) boundaries (for historical purposes).

For the best experience and to learn more, please see the ON-Marg Map User Guide.


PHO Rounds: Nail Salon Workers Project at Parkdale Queen West Community Health Center (CHC): An example of community-driven public health

This Public Health Ontario (PHO) Rounds describes the progression of the project, illustrating how the CHC model has been leveraged to support public and occupational health through programs and academic partnerships.

See the Event Details
Chat icon




Published 24 Aug 2023