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Where are England's most deprived communities?

Last month, the Department for Communities & Local Government published the latest version of its English Indices of Deprivation including the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). Last published in 2010, the IMD 2015 is the fifth release of this statistical series, which measures multiple forms of relative deprivation at the hyperlocal* level.

Within the IMD, deprivation is related to a broad range of factors which can influence an individual’s living conditions. Specifically, seven distinct “domains” are considered:

  • Income;
  • Employment;
  • Health deprivation and disability;
  • Education, skills and training;
  • Barriers to housing and services;
  • Crime;
  • Living environment.

It’s worth remembering that the statistics are intended as a measure of deprivation, not affluence.

The release also includes summary measures for 326 local authorities. Presenting the data at the local authority level obviously loses the granularity of the analysis possible at a more local level, because it assumes that deprivation is evenly spread across a local authority.

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Nonetheless, the map below shows the spatial variations across the country:

Source: DCLG, English Indices of Deprivation (2015), NLP analysis

This table identifies the 20 most deprived and least deprived local authorities.

Source: DCLG English Indices of Deprivation (2015), NLP analysis.

On this broad measure (based on the average rank of across a local authority), Manchester ranks as the most deprived local authority in England. Interestingly, four of England’s “Core Cities” (Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham) feature among the most deprived areas nationally, alongside six London Boroughs.

It is apparent that communities are more likely to be deprived in urban local authority areas than rural areas: Rushcliffe ranks among the least deprived local authorities, despite being situated adjacent to Nottingham, which features among the most deprived areas.

This trend is confirmed by considering the least deprived local authorities; no cities feature within this top 20 ranking. Hart District in Hampshire ranks as the least deprived local authority nationally.

The next chart shows the proportion of local authorities that fall within the top 20 per cent of the most deprived areas nationally (expressed as a proportion of the number of local authorities within that region). It shows that London and the North East have the greatest concentrations of deprived areas, while the South West, South East and East of England have relatively fewer deprived areas.

Proportion of deprived local authorities by region within 20 per cent of most deprived local authorities. Source: DCLG, Indices of Deprivation (2015), NLP analysis.

The Indices of Deprivation represent an invaluable resource, enabling the identification of areas with high levels of deprivation or areas where specific issues are concentrated (e.g health issues, barriers of access to housing and services). This information allows us as planners to:

  • identify areas most in need of regeneration;
  • formulate an evidence base for justifying the need for development;
  • provide a baseline for the assessment of impacts of development; and,
  • assist in making a case for the allocation of government funding opportunities.

Lorna O’Carroll is a town planner with Nathanial Lichfield & Partners. This article originally appeared on the firm’s blog.

*IMD is compiled using Lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) LSOAs are small areas of relatively even size containing approximately 1,500 people.
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