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SNS MDAG: Paper 05 (04) 4 February 2005

Measuring Deprivation Advisory Group

Life-Stages Measure of Deprivation

Background

In 2003 the Scottish Executive (SE) contracted Glasgow University's Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice (SCRSJ) to develop its long-term strategy for measuring deprivation. One of the recommendations from their final report is to produce 'life stages' measures of deprivation based on the SIMD 2004. The Scottish Executive accepted this recommendation in principle.

The SCRSJ suggested that the life stages approach should aim to produce 'life stage area based indices' by grouping the 31 indicators in the SIMD 2004 by life stages such as children, working age and pensioners rather than by particular types of deprivation (e.g. income, employment and health). This would lead to an overall index as well as an index for each life-stage. Their approach was intended to complement the SIMD 2004 and prompt more joined up thinking by providing further information on specific groups of individuals and bridging the gap between area-based and individual measures of deprivation.

The Office of the Chief Statistician (OCS) is currently exploring this recommendation to produce life-stage area-based measures of deprivation. The first step has been to focus on the children's life stage. We have therefore commissioned a breakdown of the children on low income indicators, which were used in SIMD 2004, from the Department for Work and Pensions and are exploring how to combine these with the other child focused indicators within the SIMD. Work on working age adults will commence once we have looked at children. The SIMD does not include many indicators that can be broken down by older age and early indications are that it may not be possible to develop an area based pensioner measure at this stage.

Recommendation

The working group is invited to comment on the work being carried out to produce life-stages measures of deprivation and on the specific issues raised above.

Office of the Chief Statistician

January 2005