Page updated 12/06/23
‘Deprivation’ refers to unmet needs caused by a lack of resources of all kinds, not just financial. It is different from ‘poverty’ which refers to the lack of resources required to meet those needs.
The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the English Indices of Deprivation (IoD) suite is the main measure of relative deprivation across England. Deprivation as measured by the IoD is an area based measure, so people living within the area may have different experiences, although it describes the area as a whole. Socioeconomic Status is the alternative individual measure.
Poverty is typically defined in terms of disposable household income (income after adding on benefits and taking off direct taxes), adjusted for the number of people in the household. Although low income is a significant aspect of poverty, there are other aspects of poverty too.
What is deprivation and how do we measure it?
The Indices of Deprivation provides a set of relative measures of deprivation for small areas across England, based on seven different domains of deprivation. Each of the domains are constructed from a basket of different datasets or indicators. Combining information from the seven domains produces an overall relative measure of deprivation, the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) which is the most widely used of the IoD. The domains can also be used seperately if that is a specific focus of work. IMD combines domains with the following weights:
As far as is possible, each indicator is based on data from the most recent time point available. The latest IoD release was in 2019, so the datasets used were from up to 2016/17. Because of the rollout of Universal Credit which particularly affected indicators in the Income Deprivation and the Employment Deprivation domains, the data for these domains relates to the tax year 2015/16. The next IoD release is expected in 2025.
There are substantial health inequalities between people from different deprivation groups, which you can explore more at https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/inequality-tools. The IoD is an area based measure, so not every person in an area will experience deprivation to precisely the same extent - see also socioeconomic status.
The Bolton picture
IMD is calculated for small areas (Lower Super Output Areas - LSOAs) and there are a number of ways of combining this to larger geographies such as local authority areas. The two most commonly used methods are ‘rank of average scores’ and ‘rank of average ranks’. The main difference is that more deprived LSOAs tend to have more ‘extreme’ scores than ranks. So highly deprived areas will not tend to average out to the same extent as when using ranks; highly polarised areas will therefore tend to score higher on the average score measure than on the average rank. Here we have used the rank of average scores.
- Regarding the IMD rankings 1 is always the most deprived
- In IMD 2019, Bolton is ranked the 34th most deprived local authority in the country (out of 317). In 2015 it was ranked 46th, and in 2010 34th (adjusted to 2019 local authorities). So Bolton has become relatively more deprived since 2015 - but becasue it's relative a lower rank doesn’t necessarily mean things have got worse in real life, they may just not have improved at the same rate as other areas around them
- Within Greater Manchester, Bolton is around average for the conurbation. Manchester is the most deprived borough, and Trafford the least.
The IMD ranks every LSOA (Lower Super Output Area, a small administrative goegraphy) in England from 1 (most deprived area) to 32,844 (least deprived area). It is common to describe how relatively deprived a small area is by saying whether it falls among the most deprived 10% or 20% of small areas in England (although there is no definitive cut-off at which an area is described as ‘deprived’).
Using 2021 census day LSOA population estimates, 26% of the Bolton population live in an area that is among the 10% most deprived nationally, while 45% of the population live in an area that is among the 20% most deprived nationally. 4% of the Bolton population live in an area that is among the 10% least deprived nationally, while 12% live in an area that is among the 20% least deprived nationally.
Since IMD 2010 there have been few changes regarding our most deprived neighbourhoods and deprivation remains at its greatest in the Wards of Halliwell, Crompton, Breightmet, Great Lever, Rumworth, and Farnworth, with pockets outside the town centre identifying Johnson Fold and Washacre
There are a number of interactive tools to explore IMD. Here of some of those we’ve found most useful.
- Dashboard by Concentra
- Interactive maps by the Consumer Data Research Centre
- Interactive maps from Mapping GM including deprivation and many boundary types and other datasets that can be overlaid
- Dashboard by Trafford data lab
- Deprivation in Bolton - overview briefing
- GMCA briefing on the Indices of Deprivation 2019
- All data and documents relating to the English Indices of Deprivation from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Governmen
- Mapping resources, interactive tools and Open Data facilities to aid user’s exploration of the English indices of deprivation 2019 from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.
- LSOA population estimates from ONS for matching with deprivation
- The postcode lookup in the Neighbourhoods Data Hub includes deprivation decile for each Bolton postcode ('imd decile')
Poverty is typically defined in terms of disposable household income (income after adding on benefits and deducting direct taxes), adjusted for the number of people in the household. Although low income is a significant aspect of poverty, there are other aspects of poverty too.
The UK's official poverty statistics are provided by the Housholds Below Average Income (HBAI) release. Two commonly used measures of poverty based on disposable income are given below. Median income is the point at which half of households have lower income and half have higher income. Income can be measured before or after housing costs are deducted.
- Relative low income - people living in households with income below 60% of the median in that year.
- Absolute low income - people living in households with income below 60% of median income in a base year, usually 2010/11. This measurement is adjusted for inflation.
HBAI also includes measures of ‘material deprivation’, which provide an indication of peoples’ ability to access or afford a range of everyday goods and services. Statistics are also included on household food security, which measure the percentage of households considered to have access to sufficient, varied food to facilitate an active and healthy lifestyle.
Other useful resources
- House of Commons Library briefing on poverty
- Households below average income - from the ONS. These statistics are the UK’s official source of poverty estimates
- Measuring poverty 2020 - from the Social Metrics Commission. The report uses the most recent data available to provide a comprehensive account of poverty based on the Commission’s measurement framework
- Greater Manchester Poverty Monitor
- Child poverty
- Small area income estimates - from ONS (the official measure of small area income)
- Admin based small area income estimates - experimental statistics from ONS. Not the official measure but may be of use as they give income percentiles rather than one overall figure per area which could help to identify where people may be on lower incomes in areas of affluence
- Sub regional fuel poverty - experimental statistics from ONS
- Fuel poverty statistics collection - from Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy