Deprivation: A Changing Picture for England?

The release of the English Indices of Deprivation provides a base from which to track the country’s progress since 2015, both socially and economically. An EU referendum and three Prime Ministers later, the past four years have brought with them two simple, but interesting questions: What has changed, and where has it changed?

Key Findings:

  • The bigger picture hasn’t changed too much; Coastal towns are still among the most deprived places, and so too are areas within large cities.

  • Cities in the North have become relatively more deprived than cities in the South and South East

  • Of the top 10 most deprived local authority districts, four reside in the North West, three in the Midlands (two West, one East), two in London and one in Yorkshire and the Humber.

  • Those neighbourhoods that have moved between deciles were place in decile 3-9 in 2015, with the majority of the 10% most and least deprived having remained so.

Figure 1.     Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019

Figure 1.png

Source: Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019

Pockets of high deprivation exist across the whole country, with 61% of local authority districts containing a neighbourhood within the top 10% of deprived places. While deprivation is dispersed, it is dispersed unevenly. Of the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in England (3,284), 137 rank as highly deprived on six out of the seven domains. 88 (64%) of these are located in within just 8 local authority districts – Blackpool (15); Liverpool (14); Birmingham (13); Leeds (13), and Bradford (11).

The majority of those local authorities listed above are in the North where deprivation spreads further afield from major cities into neighbouring towns. This appears less common in the Midlands, as deprivation is relatively more contained within the major cities and urban areas. The low number of local authority districts listed in the 50 most deprived in the country reflects this (4 from the West and 2 from the East Midlands).

Alongside coastal towns, where often vulnerable and low-income people also take residence, this is where the majority of deprivation is apparent (as illustrated in Figure 1).

Figure 2 shows the change in deprivation (by decile) across England. Coastal towns are some of the most deprived places in the country, but are becoming demonstrably more deprived – specifically coastal towns in the South, South East and the North East.

Figure 2.     Neighbourhoods that have moved decile since 2015

Figure 2.png

Source: Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019

A similar trend of growing deprivation is occurring in cities, but mainly in cities in the North of England. Cities north of, and including Birmingham, have a much larger concentration of neighbourhoods having dropped to a lower decile (with larger deprivation) than cities in the South of England. London has generally become less deprived as boroughs have moved into higher deciles; it is still relatively more deprived than other areas of the South East, however, reinforcing the trend that cities contain comparatively high levels of deprivation.

Figure 3.     Neighbourhoods that have moved decile since 2015 - Cities

Figure 3.png

Source: Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019

There has been little in the way of change since 2015 for those neighbourhoods at the polar extreme of the deprivation scale, with many deprived places remaining so. Some 88% of places in the top 10% of deprived neighbourhoods in 2015 have remained in the same decile, while 84% of the least deprived places in 2015 have remained so.

Figure 4.     Proportion of neighbourhoods in each decile of the IMD2019 that were in the same decile of the IMD2015

Figure 4.png

Source: The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

We will continue to support our partners across the country with the most current and up to date research, advice and support, while continuing to further develop our own capabilities. For more information on the research presented in this document, please contact Thomas Siddall.