Saturday 9 May 2009

Sustainable Communities in Manchester

A new piece of work has recently been published by the Manchester Independent Economic Review (MIER), a Commission set up to provide an evidence-base for decision making in the Manchester city region (MCR). The publication is called 'Sustainable Communities' and is an overview of deprivation and neighbourhoods in MCR. Some of the material is related to work I was involved in during my time at the Centre for Urban Policy Studies in Manchester and I still have an interest in what's going on there. Changes in neighbourhoods in many parts of MCR have been good, but the performance varies across the different areas.

Since I'm doing some work on indicators and spatial policy monitoring at the moment, I thought I'd do a short post on this topic. In particular, I wanted to explore the changes in the percent of people in each Greater Manchester district (Bolton, Bury, Oldham, etc...) who live in areas ranked among the 10% most deprived nationally between the Indices of Deprivation from 2004 and 2007. In actual fact, of course, the IMD2004 is based mainly on data from 2001 and the IMD2007 on data from 2005 - so the comparison here is really between conditions in 2001 and 2005. Nonetheless, I wanted to see how things had changed.

I linked the population in each lower layer super output area (LSOA) to the IMD data for each area and then added up the population in each district that fell within the most deprived 10% nationally (i.e. ranked from 1 to 3,248). The results are provided in the chart below, followed by some comments. [Quick explanation: for example, Trafford now has around 2% less of it's population living in areas classified as amongst the 10% most deprived in England - this ought to mean things are getting better - very crudely speaking]

As you can see, the population of Manchester within the 10% most deprived nationally (England) has fallen by around 8%. This is the most obvious change. Falls were also evident in Bury, Salford, Trafford and Wigan. In contrast, Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport and Tameside (marginal) saw a rise in the population ranked amongst the 10% most deprived nationally.

Notwithstanding such issues as the ecological fallacy and questions about the validity of such indices in the first place - the changes are very interesting - particularly when we begin to ask questions about how these changes have occurred. Has it been because of household mobility, increased prosperity, or another reason? That's for someone else to answer. For now, I'll just finish by adding this chart on population changes between 2001 and 2005 - it makes an interesting comparison (has the increase in Manchester's population between 2001 and 2005 been a process of displacement of less well off people by more affluent people? maybe).