Glossary

Index of Multiple deprivation Northern Ireland

Clifford McDowell

Index of Multiple deprivation Northern Ireland

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


The Index of Multiple deprivation Northern Ireland (Technical Notes) is a measure of relative and collective deprivation at the Lower Super Output Area (lsoa), 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 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 Index of Multiple deprivation which conform to each area’s unique social, cultural, and economic construct.

The Northern Irish government relies on several separate indicators of deprivation to provide a complete picture of each neighbourhood. Analysts consolidate these indicators into seven domains of deprivation to create a single Index of Multiple deprivation. The resulting numbers provide as objective a ranking as possible for every officially designated neighbourhood (lsoa) across the country.

The seven domains for Northern Ireland are :

  • The Income domain (25%) consists of 1 indicator, the proportion of the population living in households whose equivalised income is below 60 per cent of the NI median.
  • The Employment domain (25%) consists of one indicator, namely, the proportion of the working age population (i.e. those aged 18-64 for both males and females) who are in receipt of Job Seeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance, or, who are not in receipt of the selected benefits and have not received income from employment.
  • The Health and Disability domain (15%) consists of nine indicators, including one combined mental health indicator, these are;
    • Standardised preventable death ratio (excluding Suicides)
    • Standardised physical health-related benefit ratio
    • Standardised ratio of cancer registrations
    • Standardised emergency admission ratio
    • Proportion of Singleton Births with Low Birth Weight
    • Standardised ratio of Children’s Dental Extractions,
    • Standardised ratio of people on multiple prescriptions on a regular basis,
    • Standardised ratio of people with a long-term health problem or disability (Excluding Mental Health problems).
    • The combined mental health indicator includes, ratio of population in receipt of prescriptions for mood and anxiety disorders, Suicide rate, Rate of mental health inpatient stays, Mental health related benefit ratio and Proportion of people with Mental Health problems
  • The Education, Skills and Training domain (15%) consists of eight indicators:
    • Proportions of pupils attending Special Schools or attending primary school with Special Education Needs Stages 3-5
    • Absenteeism at Primary Schools
    • Proportions of school leavers not achieving 5 or more GCSEs at A*-C (and equivalent) including English and maths
    • Proportions of those leaving school aged 16, 17 and 18 and not entering Education Employment or Training
    • Proportions of 18-21 year olds who have not enrolled in Higher Education Courses at Higher Education or Further Education establishments
    • Proportions of pupils attending Special Schools or who are attending post-primary schools with Special Education Needs Stages 3-5
    • Absenteeism at post-primary schools and
    • Proportions of working age adults (25-64) with no or low levels of qualification.
  • The Access to Services domain (10%) consists of three indicators measuring, Service-weighted fastest travel time by private transport , Service-weighted fastest travel time by public transport and Proportion of properties with broadband speed below 10Mb/s. The services to be included in the private transport travel time are, Accident and Emergency hospital, GP premises, Job Centre or Jobs and Benefits Office, Dentists, Post Office, Pharmacists, Supermarket / Food Store, Opticians, Primary Schools, Libraries, Post-Primary Schools, Day nurseries and Crèches, Council Leisure Centre, Financial Services, Large Service Centres and Other general services: Restaurants, fast-food outlets, pubs, filling stations, and health & beauty establishments.
  • The Living Environment Domain (10%) consists of nine indicators, grouped into three sub-domains, these are:
    • Housing quality – Proportion of domestic dwellings that are unfit, Proportion of domestic dwellings in a state of disrepair and Proportion of domestic dwellings without (1) modern boiler, or (2) loft insulation and double glazing.
    • Housing Access – Proportion of population in overcrowded households and Proportion of population with disability without adaptations to dwelling.
  • The Crime and Disorder domain (5%) consists of six indicators, grouped into two sub-domains these are:
    • Crime – Violence (including sexual offences), robbery and public order, Burglary, Theft, Vehicle Crime, Criminal Damage and Arson
    • Disorder – Deliberate Primary and Secondary Fires, Anti-Social Behaviour Incidents

The above Domain scores are ranked using Northern Irish Lower Super Output Areas (with 1 being the most deprived and 890 the least) to create individual domain ranks. These values are merged using the weights shown in the brackets above to create the combined Index of Multiple deprivation Northern Ireland.

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