Sunday 12 April 2009

The Economic Deprivation Index (EDI)

I've been meaning to blog on this for a while, so here goes...

Relatively recently, the Department for Communities and Local Government released the Economic Deprivation Index for the purposes of 'tracking neighbourhoods' through time in relation to their levels of economic deprivation. They did this because the existing Indices of Multiple Deprivation (2004 and 2007) 'do not facilitate backwards comparison nor do they enable users to understand how the pattern of deprivation is changing between these fixed points' (CLG, 2009).

Despite this, several examples of comparison between 2004 and 2007 deprivation levels have been produced at the local level - e.g. exhibit a, exhibit b - though I'm not picking on anyone here; I actually think there is a good deal of confusion that needs to be addressed since the new EDI says what is quoted above and the information on the 2007 Indices of Deprivation page says 'comparison between the two Indices is therefore acceptable'. So, it is hardly surprising that people compare IMD 2004 and 2007.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The EDI is comprised of data from the Income and Employment Domains of the IMD and is produced on a yearly basis from 1999 to 2005. The maps below summarise changes at LSOA level, where green is an improvement in rank and red is a reduction in rank. You can click on the images for larger maps.

More commentary follows below... but the official report is worth a look.

England EDI Change in Rank 1999-2005 (Green = Improvement, Red = Decline)

A couple of nuggets here for England as a whole... The largest change in rank towards being more deprived was 17,769 - for a LSOA in Slough (008D), which changed from a rank of 31,509 in 1999 to 13,740 in 2005. Since LSOAs are quite small, and the data very sensitive to micro-spatial factors, such changes are not entirely surprising (but I do wonder what happened here). In total, 27 LSOAs saw their rank change by 10,000 or more places towards being more deprived and the majority of these were in the south of England.

At the other end of the scale, there were 22 LSOAs which changed rank by 10,000 or more towards being less deprived. The LSOA experiencing the largest improvement was in Tower Hamlets (029A) with a rank change of 18,463 places. In 1999 it was ranked as the 12,878th most deprived in England (so, not really that deprived) and by 2005 it had moved to 31,341. More interestingly, one LSOA in Nottingham (026C) was amongst the most deprived in 1999 (ranked 3,150) but by 2005 was ranked 16,873 (a change of 13,723 places - the fourth largest improvement). The big leap forward came between 2002 and 2003 (new build 'luxury apartments'?).

London EDI Change in Rank 1999-2005 (Green = Improvement, Red = Decline)

We can also take a closer look at London - there does seem to be a more obvious pattern of change between 1999 and 2005 than for England as a whole. This is clearer towards inner London and perhaps reflects even more severe housing market pressures in the capital - particularly in Westminster, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Hackney. The outer boroughs, and Hillingdon in particular, seem to have become more deprived according to the EDI - although this is all relative of course because some of these areas are not at all 'deprived'.

Manchester EDI Change in Rank 1999-2005 (Green = Improvement, Red = Decline)

And now to Manchester, because it is the location of the LSOA that has remained most deprived on the EDI for each year from 1999 to 2005 (Manchester 009C). The overall pattern looks not too bad, with mostly greens. However, when you overlay the location of the 10% most deprived LSOAs (2004 IMD - since these are the main policy targets), things don't necessarily look so good. Lots of areas which remain the focus of policy have not improved on the EDI - they have become worse according to this measure. The exact change in rank may not be statistically significant but it is notable that they have not been able to improve rank at all. I'll not go into whether or not such indices are a useful measure - that's not for me to decide. I just thought it would be useful to explore the data for now.

So, that's the Economic Deprivation Index... Now I need a holiday.