New Scottish Indices of Multiple Deprivation data (SIMD) 2012 have been released today.
And in remarkable speed, Dr Alasdair Rae, a lecturer at the University of Sheffield has put together this map illustrating the new data for the whole of Scotland. (You can see the map on a larger canvas, with more explanation here.)
The red areas show neighbourhoods that are amongst the 20% most deprived in the whole of Scotland, whilst the yellow areas show neighbourhoods that between 40% and 20% most deprived. Other areas are colour coded in various shades of blue, with the darkest areas showing areas that are in the 20% least deprived areas.
Alasdair has also combined the latest data with the data from previous SIMD surveys so that you can see how different areas have fared all the way back to 2004.
As he points out on his website, “deprivation” is calculated by looking at a whole range of indicators, such as health, crime, income, employment and housing. So, it shouldn’t be confused with “poverty” which is a more specific term that’s relative mainly to income.
And of course, these figures are also averages – it doesn’t mean that there are only “deprived people” living in the red areas.
One thing that many people remark upon is that the areas tend not to change very much over time – and that neighbourhoods with different levels of deprivation tend to cluster together.
There are lots of explanations you might hear for this. Could it be that regeneration policies aimed at improving the lot of the people in the most deprived areas just aren’t working? Are public services giving with one hand, and taking away with another in some places? Could it be that folk in the most deprived areas get a raw deal from public services? Or is it simply that deprivation is a tricky problem with no easy solutions?
The area which has seen one of the biggest improvements according to the latest stats includes the Fort, which has now moved out of the most deprived category and into the middle 20% of Scottish neighbourhoods.
But then, given that this statistical “improvement” was achieved by demolishing hundreds of flats and moving the previous occupants out wholesale, then it’s fairly hard to see that as a straightforwards ‘regeneration win,’ unless of course someone knows whether the lives of the ex-Fort residents have all improved as a result of being moved out of their homes.
In other areas of Leith there have been less drastic changes between 2009 and 2012 – and its difficult to see any pattern. Some of the more deprived areas have improved, but some have not, whilst some of the less-deprived areas have improved and others have not.
If you’re interested in these stats you might also like to check out Peter Matthew’s earlier guest posts where he asks “Is Leith a deprived neighbourhood?” and “Is Leith a gentrified neighbourhood and does it matter?”
UPDATE following Scottish Government press release:
The Scottish Government uses these stats to target additional resources at the areas most in need of support. Ministers are trumpeting the fact that across the country they say the new stats show that deprivation is becoming less concentrated.
In Edinburgh, the number of areas in the most deprived 15% fell from 60 to 54.
How has your immediate neighbourhood changed? And what do you think might explain it? Let us know in the comments.