Day 2: Measures of Deprivation and Area Type

Day 2: Measures of Deprivation and Area Type
Lecturer: Dr Paul Norman, University of Leeds
Tuesday, 12 January 2016, 9.30 to 16.00, Queen’s University Belfast, McClay Library Training Room 2.
Deprivation indexes and geodemographic classifications aim to reduce multidimensional attributes of areas
to a single score or summary description which captures the essence of each area’s characteristics.
Deprivation measures and geodeomographic schemes are widely used in research on spatial variations in
many phenomena, ranging from health and crime to education and economic activity but the strengths and
weaknesses of these measures is often poorly understood.
To identify relatively deprived areas in the UK, various indexes have been devised such as the Townsend
index and the Carstairs index. These types of scheme use a set of deprivation indicator variables, mainly
census derived, and combine them into a single index score. The need for deprivation measures outside
census years, the potential use of administrative data sources as deprivation indicators led to the
development of the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).
Classification methods which cluster geographically distant places together on the basis of socioeconomic
commonalities underpin geodemographics. Geodemographics has mainly been used in business
applications but ONS and others have produced a series of classifications, including the 1991 and 1999
classifications of local government areas and the small area census geographies in 2001 and recently for
2011. The 2001 Supergroups, for example, includes areas labelled ‘Multicultural City Life’ and
‘Disadvantaged Urban Communities’.
Outline syllabus
This course will first explain the geographies which are used for deprivation and geodemographics schemes
and the data sources which are used as inputs. Then, ‘traditional’ measures of area deprivation will be
explained followed by a practical in which participants will calculate small area deprivation.
Then, the methods underpinning geodemographics will be explained along with their usage in both
commercial and academic situations. Participants will then develop a classification using ‘k-means’ one of
the regularly used approaches.
Data sources to be used:
For both the deprivation index and classification practicals, data will be from the 2001 Census and for
the Lower Super Output Area geography;
If the course presenter gets time, equivalent datasets for small areas in Northern Ireland will also be
made available so that participants can use these. At the time of writing, no promises are given!
Mathematical and statistical methods & software being used:
There are some examples of calculations in Excel but the practical work will all be carried out using
SPSS. It is possible to calculate the deprivation measures with the methods here using Excel but the
classifications method needs SPSS (or other statistical packages not used in this course);
The course is aimed at people involved in research who may want to develop their own area measures.
However, the knowledge and skills obtained during the course will help people to understand pre-existing
area characteristics measures better. People are likely to be postgraduates or professionals involved in local
government or health research. Whilst specific locations and datasets are used, the skills are readily
transferable to other locations and data sources.
N.B. There is a course on Demographic Analysis of Area, Individual and Longitudinal Data on the previous
day. Each course is standalone but highly complementary.
Course leader:
Paul Norman is a population and health geographer whose interests include: harmonisation of small area
level socio-demographic, morbidity and mortality data to enable time-series analysis of demographic and
health change; using area typologies to understand migration patterns and resulting health outcomes; and
using individual level microdata to understand aggregate differences in population stratification and
characteristics over time. He is programme manager of the MSc in GIS at the School of Geography,
University of Leeds supervising Masters and PhD researchers on applied demographic topics.