The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation is a relative measure of deprivation across 6,976 small areas (called data zones). If an area is identified as ‘deprived’, this can relate to people having a low income but it can also mean fewer resources or opportunities. SIMD looks at the extent to which an area is deprived across seven domains: income, employment, education, health, access to services, crime and housing.
SIMD is the Scottish Government's standard approach to identify areas of multiple deprivation in Scotland. It can help improve understanding about the outcomes and circumstances of people living in the most deprived areas in Scotland. It can also allow effective targeting of policies and funding where the aim is to wholly or partly tackle or take account of area concentrations of multiple deprivation.
SIMD ranks data zones from most deprived (ranked 1) to least deprived (ranked 6,976). People using SIMD will often focus on the data zones below a certain rank, for example, the 5%, 10%, 15% or 20% most deprived data zones in Scotland.
SIMD is an area-based measure of relative deprivation: not every person in a highly deprived area will themselves be experiencing high levels of deprivation.
Data zones in rural areas tend to cover a large land area and reflect a more mixed picture of people experiencing different levels of deprivation. This means that SIMD is less helpful at identifying the smaller pockets of deprivation found in more rural areas, compared to the larger pockets found in urban areas. SIMD domain indicators can still be useful in rural areas if analysed separately from urban data zones or combined with other data.
Please note that the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2020 has been revised as a result of a problem identified with the income domain ranks provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. This revision only affects the income domain ranks and overall SIMD ranks (referred to as SIMD 2020v2). The impact is minimal for the majority of data zones, and the remainder of the SIMD 2020 is not affected. SIMD 2020v2 ranks should now be used when carrying out any analyses.
A summary of the revision is provided below, alongside the revised data.
The SIMD 2020v2 spatial data has been published on the Scottish Spatial Data website.
Postcode and data zone lookup files have been revised to SIMD 2020v2.
Previous versions of SIMD
Information for previous versions of SIMD can be found in the website archive. This includes a range of guidance documents and historic analyses illustrating how SIMD can be used.