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Indices of Deprivation


Indices of Deprivation (or Indices of Multiple Deprivation - IMD) 2019 now published nationally

View Wirral IMD detail on our Local Insight tool

Wirral-based reports and details will be released in coming months


The Indices of Deprivation (also known as the Index of Multiple Deprivation or IMD) is a measure of relative deprivation at a small area level covering all 32,844 Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in England.

In other words, it measures how deprived an area is compared to all other areas of England. It is an important tool to identify disadvantaged areas so that policy makers can target limited resources where they are most needed. 

The IMD was first calculated in 2000 and has been re-calculated every 2-3 years since (2002, 2004, 2007 and 2010). A briefing on the previous IMDs and how they related to Wirral is available on the Wirral JSNA site. 

The 2015 update is broadly comparable to the 2010, 2007 and 2004 Indices (but not the 2002 and 2000 Indices, due to significant differences in calculation). It is common to describe how deprived areas are by saying whether they fall into among the most deprived 10% or 20% of areas in England (although there is no definitive cut-off at which an area is described as ‘deprived’). 

Deprivation covers a broad range of issues and refers to unmet need caused by a lack of resources of all kinds, not just financial resources. The IMD attempts to capture deprivation in its broadest sense, using seven distinct ‘domains’.

National and regional summary

As was the case in previous IMDs, the 2015 IMD shows that most urban areas in England contain high levels of deprivation. These are often areas that have historically had large heavy industry, manufacturing and/or mining sectors which have declined over recent decades. 

Middlesbrough, Knowsley, Kingston upon Hull, Liverpool and Manchester are the local authorities with the highest proportions of the population classed as living among the most deprived in England. It would appear that deprived neighbourhoods have become more common over the last decade. 

For example, the proportion of local authorities which have at least one neighbourhood in the most deprived decile (10%) has increased from just under half (49%) of local authorities in 2004, to 61% in 2015.   As with previous Indices, Merseyside stands out as containing large concentrations of deprived LSOAs (many of which are in Wirral).

IMD for Wirral 2015: Summary

  • Wirral was the 66th most deprived authority (of 326 authorities) in England according to the 2015 IMD (1 being the most deprived, 326 the least deprived). Wirral ranked 60th in the previous IMD in 2010

  • This ranking of 66, means Wirral is no longer classified as being one of the 20% most deprived authorities in England (as it was previous IMDs). This could mean that relative to other authorities, Wirral has become less deprived, or that other authorities in England have become more deprived (the IMD is a relative Index, areas are always judged in relation to one another, they are not compared historically)

  • Although Wirral overall is no longer in the 20% most deprived of areas in England, many of the LSOAs within Wirral are classed as being amongst the most deprived in the country (and Wirral is only just outside the 20% most deprived, as the cut off was the 65th ranked authority, Wirral was 66th)

  • There are 10 Wirral LSOAs which are classed as being in the 1% most deprived LSOAs in England. Eight of these were in Birkenhead Constituency, two were in Wallasey Constituency

  • The overall number of Wirral LSOAs in the most deprived 20% of areas in England has decreased from 67 in the 2007 IMD, to 64 in 2010, to 62 in 2015. This appears to show a trend toward deprivation in Wirral being concentrated in fewer LSOAs over time

  • The population of those Wirral LSOAs (n=62) classified as being amongst the 20% most deprived nationally is 95,585. In other words, almost one in three (30%) of the Wirral population live in areas classified as being amongst the 20% most deprived in England (see Figure 1 below)

  • Wirral performs best on the Education & Skills and Living Environment domains, but these two only contribute 23% to the overall IMD

  • Wirral performs particularly poorly on three domains (Income, Employment and Health & Disability). Two of these are heavily weighted on the IMD (Income and Employment contribute 22.5% each to the overall Index) hence Wirral’s relatively poor ranking on the overall IMD 2015 (and previous IMDs)

Key documents:

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