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Deprivation and Poverty

Defining Deprivation

Deprivation as a concept is both relative and subjective. For example, for someone living in one of Rio de Janeiro's shanty towns, deprivation may mean something different to someone living in one of England's many deprived coastal areas. Similarly deprivation is also subjective since the importance given to an issue or factor of deprivation by one person is likely to be of a different scale of importance to another.

Nationally there was a recognised need for a set of indicators to be developed and since the 1970s the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has calculated local measures of deprivation in England. The aim of this was to identify unmet needs caused by a lack of resources of all kinds, not just financial.

The English Indices of Deprivation, developed by Social Disadvantage Research Centre at Oxford University and commissioned by DCLG, attempt to measure a broader concept of multiple deprivation made up of several distinct dimensions, or domains, of deprivation.

The 2015 Indices of Deprivation is the official measure of deprivation in England. It is through the results of this study that many areas across England are identified as a priority for funding to improve the quality of life of their various populations. The Indices of Deprivation are useful to help identify and evidence aspects of deprivation in local areas.

Understanding Deprivation in Lincolnshire

In the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) showing overall deprivation, the 2015 data shows Lincolnshire ranked 90th out of 152 upper tier local authorities in England, where 1st is the most deprived. However, when looking at individual domains showing aspects of deprivation, Lincolnshire's ranking shows some variation.

Lincolnshire's overall deprivation rank sits between North Lincolnshire and North Tyneside. But it is placed between Bristol and Kirklees for Education and Skills, and between North Yorkshire and Essex for Barriers to Housing and Services. Whilst Lincolnshire may have similar deprivation rankings to these other areas, it will most likely be for very different reasons, which is why additional information and data is advisable in local analysis.

But while that is generally good practice, keep in mind that if the official Indices of Deprivation show a local area as deprived in any way, they provide strong and credible evidence in their own right for use in funding bids.

Below the County Level

Within the most deprived 10% of all the 32,844 lower-level super output areas (LSOA) used in 2015 to measure overall deprivation in England, 29 such areas are in Lincolnshire, and are home to about 50,000 people.  And as well as overall deprivation shown in the IMD, the individual deprivation domains can also highlight distinct patterns of deprivation, with rural access to housing and services being one example among a range of deprivation issues affecting some areas in the county. In addition to the seven domains within the overall IMD, two supplementary datasets are also included in the deprivation indices. These two show patterns of Income Deprivation affecting Children (IDACI data) and Older People (IDAOPI data).

You can look at small areas in more detail using the data at the bottom of this page.

Interpreting the Domains

The Overall Rank of Deprivation is a composite indicator made from a number of domains and sub-domains. Local intelligence should always supplement these indicators when they are considered for analysis, as the following examples illustrate.

IMD 2015 - Lincolnshire Overall

Employment

The Employment Deprivation Domain forms a large part of the overall ranking, and as such it is not particularly useful in identifying areas that are not already shown as deprived using the overall rank. Alternative data around employment can be found in the area profile at the bottom of this page .

The Employment Deprivation Domain measures the proportion of the working age population in an area involuntarily excluded from the labour market. This includes people who would like to work but are unable to do so due to unemployment, sickness or disability, or caring responsibilities.

IMD 2015 - Employment

Crime

Crime rates in Lincolnshire are generally low, but the Crime Rank for Deprivation is national. It is, therefore, important to consider when looking at small areas whether to use local comparisons instead of the national ones before analysing the data.

The Crime Domain measures the risk of personal and material victimisation at local level.

IMD 2015 - Crime

Education and Skills

Attainment levels tend to be high in Lincolnshire, so the Rank for Education and Skills domain is likely to highlight more in the way of issues around skills - this is predominant in the coastal and south eastern parts of the county; there is further supporting evidence for this from the 2011 Census.

The Education, Skills and Training Deprivation Domain measures the lack of attainment and skills in the local population. The indicators fall into two sub-domains: one relating to children and young people and one relating to adult skills.

IMD 2015 - Education, Skills and Training

Barriers to Housing and Services

Lincolnshire is the fourth largest county in England based on land area, so inevitably a large proportion of the population lives in rural areas some distance away from main towns and service centres. It is unsurprising, then to see the effect of this in the Barriers to Housing and Services domain, as the Services aspect is calculated on distance to services. There are a number of additional sources of information available to better understand issues around Housing and Transport in Lincolnshire .

The Barriers to Housing and Services Domain measures the physical and financial accessibility of housing and local services. The indicators fall into two sub-domains: ‘geographical barriers’, which relate to the physical proximity of local services, and ‘wider barriers’ which includes issues relating to access to housing such as affordability and homelessness.

IMD 2015 - Barriers to Housing and Services

Health

The Health Deprivation and Disability Domain measures the risk of premature death and the impairment of quality of life through poor physical or mental health. The domain measures morbidity, disability and premature mortality but not aspects of behaviour or environment that may be predictive of future health deprivation.

IMD 2015 - Health and Disability

The Living Environment

The Living Environment Deprivation Domain measures the quality of the local environment. The indicators fall into two sub-domains. The ‘indoors’ living environment measures the quality of housing; while the ‘outdoors’ living environment contains measures of air quality and road traffic accidents.

IMD 2015 - The Living Environment

Income

The Income Deprivation Domain measures the proportion of the population experiencing deprivation relating to low income. The definition of low income used includes both those people that are out-of-work, and those that are in work but who have low earnings (and who satisfy the respective means tests).

Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index The Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) measures the proportion of all children aged 0 to 15 living in income deprived families. This is one of two supplementary indices and is a sub-set of the Income Deprivation Domain.

Income Deprivation Affecting Older People Index The Income Deprivation Affecting Older People Index (IDAOPI) measures the proportion of all those aged 60 or over who experience income deprivation. This is one of two supplementary indices and is a sub-set of the Income Deprivation Domain.

IMD 2015 - Income

More about the Indices of Deprivation 2015

The Indices of Deprivation, produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government, are used to create an overall Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), which provides an indicator of general deprivation levels across England. It is through the results of this study that many areas are identified as a priority for funding to improve the quality of life of their various populations.

Visit DCLG's IMD 2015 pages for the English Indices of Deprivation 2015 Guidance Document, Technical Report and full national datasets. For local 2015 data, see the data profile below.

Limitations of the Indices of Deprivation

The Indices of Deprivation were originally intended to have comparability over time, which they largely had in 2004, 2007, and 2010. But there are some heavy caveats on backwards comparability of the ID 2015 data.

However, please note that none of the limitations or caveats suggested in any way detract from using the official Indices of Deprivation 2015 data - wherever and in whatever way they show deprivation within Lincolnshire, they provide strong and credible evidence of deprivation, for example to use in funding bids.

There are a number of caveats that need to be taken into account when using and interpreting the Indices:

  • The ID is not a direct measure of deprivation in the way that the Unemployment Rate is a real measure of the proportion of people out-of-work. This means it can tell you if one area is more deprived than another but not by how much. Therefore, an area with a score of 100 is not twice as deprived as an area with a score of 50.
  • The ID is a measure of deprivation, not affluence; therefore, the area ranked as the least deprived is not necessarily the most affluent.
  • Not every person living in a deprived area will themselves be deprived. Equally, there will be some deprived people living in the least deprived areas.

Comparisons over time

  • While ID data could in theory be compared with earlier ID data to assess how areas may be changing over time relative to other areas across England, the ID is not a direct measure of whether areas are 'improving' or 'closing the gap' against an average.
  • The Indices of Deprivation had been intended to have continuity of data and methodology to enable comparisons through time. However, ID 2015 data should not be compared to earlier Indices of Deprivation releases without considerable caution. The ID 2015 data not only uses the newer 2011 LSOA boundaries, but also there are changes to underlying indicators within five of the seven Domains that inform the overall Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). Also, the ID 2015 underlying indicators use data from the more recent 2011 Census.
  • Differences between Indices of Deprivation at different time points in theory show how an area has fared relative to other areas across England, however, the relative aspect is important. For example, an area could well have improved in real-terms (e.g. unemployment has fallen, incomes and skills higher, a fall in crime rates, etc.), and may have improved faster than the average. But if other areas with similar levels of deprivation have done slightly better, the area will score as more deprived compared to previous Indices. So while the ID is useful in understanding an area relative to others it needs to be used alongside other direct measures to understand how the area has changed over time.
  • The majority of data used in the ID 2010 was from 2008 (with one indicator using 2001 Census data). This meant the data used was pre-recession so the ID 2010 would not show the effects of the recession on areas. The majority of data used for ID 2015 was from 2012/2013 so would be influenced by the recession.
Area Profiles