Glossary

Index of Multiple deprivation England

Clifford McDowell

Index of Multiple deprivation England

In the 1970s, government officials decided to gain an idea of the breadth and depth of rural and urban poverty by creating the Index of Multiple deprivation England.

Index of Multiple deprivation England are released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, they are a measure of relative and collective deprivation at the Lower Layer Super Output Area level, commonly referred to as neighbourhoods. It recognises that some individuals living in deprived areas do not themselves live in deprivation. Conversely, some in affluent areas live in deprivation. The Index of Multiple deprivation England measure helps governments at all levels recognise which neighbourhoods as a whole struggle relative to other areas and apply policy accordingly.

England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland all maintain separate Indices of Deprivation which conform to each area’s unique social, cultural, and economic construct.
The government relies on 37 separate indicators of deprivation to provide a complete picture of each neighbourhood. Analysts consolidate the 37 indicators into seven domains of deprivation to create multiple measures of deprivation. The resulting numbers provide as objective a ranking as possible for every officially designated neighbourhood across the country.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is an overall relative measure of deprivation constructed by combining seven domains of deprivation according to their respective weights, as described below.

England uses the following weights for the seven domains of deprivation:

  • Employment Deprivation Domain (22.5%) charts the level of the population legally approved for work in an area who would like to work but are unable to do so due to lack of available jobs, chronic illness, disability, or responsibility to care for a family.
  • Income Deprivation Domain (22.5%) measures how much lower the income of an area is relative to other neighbourhoods
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation (13.5%) charts the skills and career training gap in the local population. The government divides this into two sub-domains: one relating to children and another relating to adults potentially gainfully employed.
  • Health Deprivation and Disability (13.5%) measures the level of possible risk posed by poor physical or mental health and its contribution to early death or the reduction of quality of life. This domain charts a number of health and well-being levels, but not aspects of behaviour that could lead to the same consequences.
  • Crime (9.3%) measures the risk posed by various forms of crime at the local level. The real and perceived crime levels affect quality of life, as well as social and economic development
  • Barriers to Housing and Services (9.3%) measures how easily residents can access housing, whether due to physical or financial barriers. The government divides these indicators into two sub-domains: ‘geographical barriers,’ which refer to the closeness and convenience of local services, and ‘wider barriers’ which includes issues affordability.
  • Living Environment Deprivation (9.3%) measures the quality of the local living conditions. The government recognises two sub-domains. The inside sub-domain rates the quality of housing; while the outside living conditions measure includes levels of local pollution and traffic accidents.

The above Domain scores are ranked using English Lower Super Output Areas (with 1 being the most deprived and 32,844 the least) to create individual domain ranks. These values are combined using the weights shown in the brackets above to create an overall Index of Multiple deprivation England.

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