Why the Indices of Multiple Deprivation are essential when evidencing local need

The English Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) are an important measure of how local areas compare on a comprehensive basket of deprivation indicators. They are a key input to understanding relative “need” for developing strategies and service commissioning. Often used to provide evidence of need for grant applications, they can be used to identify priority areas and target programmes and resources to help tackle inequality and improve outcomes.

The 2019 IMD provides an update on previous Indices for 2015 and 2010.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has produced a postcode mapper which allows a user to compare the 2019 IMD against the 2015 IMD. The maps can be accessed at this LINK.

Deprivation is a lack of the basic necessities. It covers a wide range of factors that impact heavily on both individuals and families. The Indices of Deprivation combines seven domains to produce an overall relative measure of deprivation. The domains and weights used to combine them are:

o Income 22.5%.
o Employment 22.5%.
o Health 13.5%.
o Education 13.5%.
o Living environment 9.3%
o Crime 9.3%, and
o Barriers to housing and services 9.3%.

Two supplementary indices, the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and the Income Deprivation Affecting Older People Index (IDOAPI) are also produced.

The IMD is the official measure of relative deprivation for all small areas (or LSOAs) in England. It has also been summarised to describe relative deprivation at a local authority level.

Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) are small areas or neighbourhoods with an average of around 1,500 residents each. There are 32,844 LSOAs in England. The IMD ranks each LSOA in England from 1 – the most deprived to 32,844 – the least deprived.

The LSOAs are grouped into 10 equal deciles. LSOAs in decile 1 fall within the most deprived 10% nationally, and LSOAs in decile 10 fall within the least deprived 10% nationally. 

Further information on the English IMD is available on the GOV.UK website.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own, separate IMD.