Index of Multiple deprivation Scotland

Clifford McDowell

Index of Multiple deprivation Scotland

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 Scotland.

Index of Multiple deprivation Scotland (summary) are released by the Scottish Government, they are a measure of relative and collective deprivation at the Data Zone layer (equivalent to English LSOAs), 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 measure helps Scotland 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 Scottish government relies on 28 separate indicators of deprivation to provide a complete picture of each neighbourhood. Analysts consolidate the 28 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 seven subdomains are:

  • The Employment domain (12) is created using 3 indicators, Unemployment Claimant Count averaged over 12 months, Working age Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance recipients and Working-age Severe Disablement Allowance recipients.
  • The Income domain (12) is created using 5 indicators, Income Support and Income-based Employment Support Allowance claimants (16-59), Job Seekers Allowance and Guaranteed Pension Credit Claimants (All ages), Universal Credit claimants with no employment marker, Number of children in JSA, IS or ESA households and Number of Adults and children dependent on adults in receipt of tax credits.
  • The Crime domain (2) is created using 6 reported crime categories, these include, Domestic housebreaking, Drug offences, Common assault, Crimes of violence, Vandalism and Sexual offences.
  • The Housing domain (1) is created using 2 indicators, Persons in households which are overcrowded and Persons in households without central heating
  • The Health domain (6) is created using 7 indicators, Standardised Mortality Ratio, Hospital stays related to alcohol misuse, Hospital stays related to drug misuse, Comparative Illness Factor, Emergency stays in hospital, Proportion of population being prescribed drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis and Proportion of live singleton births of low birth weight
  • The Education domain (6) is created using 5 indicators, School pupil attendance, School pupil performance, Working-age people with no qualifications, 17-21-year-olds enrolling into full time higher education and School leavers aged 16-19 not in education, employment or training
  • The Access domain (4) is created using 2 measures, one based on drive time and other on public transport. Drive time includes time to GP, to retail centre, to petrol station, to primary and secondary schools and post office. Public transport measures time to GP, to retail centre and post office.

The above Domain scores are ranked using Scottish Data Zones (with 1 being the most deprived and 6,976 the least) to create individual domain ranks. Each domain rank is standardised and transformed to an exponential distribution using standard methodology; these values are combined using the weights shown in the brackets above to create an overall Index of Multiple deprivation for Scotland.


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