Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2006: General Report

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2006: General Report


This report had been produced to provide an initial analysis of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD) 2006 and each of its domains.

The SIMD is the Scottish Executive's official tool for identifying small area concentrations of multiple deprivation across all of Scotland and is relevant to policies aimed at tackling the causes and effects of multiple deprivation. The SIMD provides a relative ranking of 6,505 small areas (data zones) across Scotland from the most deprived (ranked one) to the least deprived in Scotland (ranked 6,505).

The methodological approach used to construct the SIMD 2006 is based on the widely accepted methodology developed by Oxford University in their calculation of the Scottish Indices of Deprivation 2003. Following an evaluation by Glasgow University in 2005 of the methodology used to create the SIMD 2004, improvements have been made to the construction of the SIMD 2006 index, and these are explained in full in the SIMD 2006 Technical Report 1.

The SIMD is based on the small area statistical geography of data zones, which for the SIMD 2006 have a median population size of 769 people. The data zone boundaries have remained stable since their creation in 2004 but the population size of a data zone may have changed (see SIMD 2006 Statistical Compendium 1). As both the SIMD 2004 and the SIMD 2006 are based on data zones, for the first time we are able to look at change over time in the relative distribution of Scotland's deprived areas. This report, therefore, also contains a preliminary analysis of relative change in deprived areas between the SIMD 2004 and SIMD 2006 and each of the SIMD domains.

The SIMD is made up of a series of different 'domains'. Each domain represents a different subject area, such as education and consist of a number of indicators which are chosen to efficiently capture deprivation for that domain area.

The SIMD 2006 contains the same domains as the SIMD 2004 (Current Income, Employment, Health, Education, Geographic Access to Services and Housing), with the addition of a new public transport sub-domain in the Geographic Access to Services domain and a new Crime domain, which is a collection of selected recorded crimes linked to deprivation, made available for the first time, at a small area level. The SIMD 2006 is based on 37 indicators in seven domains. Updates to the indicators have used the most recent data that was available at the time of construction. In most cases the time lag is less than in the SIMD 2004 and indicators in SIMD 2006 are based mainly on data from 2004 or 2005 with their relevant denominators (see Annex 2 for details of indicators).

For some domains there have been unavoidable changes due to lack of data availability. This and other changes should be taken in to account when interpreting the results.

The Scottish Executive intended to include a new Physical Environment domain in the SIMD 2006. The indicators considered were: Air Pollution Concentrations, Proximity to Derelict Land and Proximity to Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory Sites. Considerable work was undertaken to develop and quality assure these three indicators. However, the physical environment domain will not be included in the SIMD at this time due to conceptual and methodological issues (see the SIMD 2006 Technical Report for more information).

The weighting for each domain or sub domain is based on the robustness of the data, the time lag between data collection and the production of the SIMD and the relative importance of the domain in measuring multiple deprivation. The domain weightings were subject to sensitivity analysis to assess the effects of any changes in weights on the overall index ranks.

Any decisions on changes to the methodology used to create the SIMD, and the indicators included in it, have been made in conjunction with data providers and the SCOTSTAT Measuring Deprivation Advisory Group ( MDAG). The MDAG is made up from users and analysts in local authority areas and other bodies (e.g. voluntary sector), experts in particular issues (e.g. access) and analysts within the Scottish Executive. The MDAG provides the Executive with advice on measuring deprivation as it works to implement the long term strategy for measuring deprivation. Advice covers: the needs of users; development priorities; methodological options; quality of outputs; dissemination and guidance on the use of outputs. Minutes and papers from all meetings with the MDAG are published on the Scottish Executive's website (see Annex 1).

The SIMD 2006 guidance leaflet 2 contains information on appropriate and inappropriate use of the SIMD 2006. It is important to note here that:

  • Changes in the rank of a data zone do not necessarily imply absolute change in that area, merely relative change in the overall Scottish context. Changes must be interpreted carefully and take into account absolute change in individual indicators, population changes in the area and absolute change in other data zones. Absolute change in some areas may cause a relative change in the rank of other data zones that have not undergone absolute change.
  • The SIMD is a relative measure of deprivation and can not be used to determine how much more deprived one data zone is than another, therefore, average ranks cannot be used.
  • The index is produced at data zone level only and cannot be used to rank at local authority area level, however, in this report, appropriate analysis of concentrations of deprivation in local authority areas has been included.
  • The SIMD does not measure affluence as the indicators used are selected to measure deprivation such as receipt of benefits. A lack of deprivation does not indicate affluence, therefore, data zones with high ranks are not necessarily affluent, simply relatively less deprived.
  • The SIMD is not a measure of, or a tool for tackling, individual deprivation as not all deprived individuals live in areas identified as having a high level of multiple deprivation. Conversely, not all people living in deprived areas are deprived themselves.
  • The number of data zones varies considerably between local authority areas as does the size of the population and this should be considered when making any comparisons between areas.
  • When comparing the SIMD 2004 results with the SIMD 2006 by urban-rural breakdown it must be borne in mind that the 2004 figures are grouped using the Scottish Executive Urban Rural Classification of 2003-2004 and the SIMD 2006 data are classified according to the Urban-Rural Classification 2005-2006 which has a reduction in the total rural area (see SIMD 2006 Technical Report for more details).

Due to changed data sources and improvements to indicators and methodology, much of the SIMD 2006 is not directly comparable with the SIMD 2004. Some part of observed changes may be due to these differences. The only domain that is directly comparable between SIMD 2004 and SIMD 2006 is the employment domain and, as such, this domain is used for the majority of analysis of absolute change between 2004 and 2006 indices in this report.

Absolute measures of change over time are available for some individual indicators on the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics website and in the SIMD background data (see Annex 1). Details on comparing individual indicators are given in the SIMD 2006 Technical Report. Due to statistical disclosure control some indicators are only available combined together.

Where comparisons are made between SIMD 2004 and SIMD 2006 in this report, (apart from the employment domain) they relate to the relative movement of data zone ranks into and out of the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland in terms of the overall SIMD, or in terms of individual domains.

The 15% cut-off is used in the Scottish Executive's analysis to define deprived areas, as this cut-off identifies the highest concentrations of multiple deprivation in Scotland. The distribution of deprivation from most to least deprived, begins to shallow after the 15% most deprived data zones, which are the data zones ranked between one and 976.

The analysis for the 'Social Focus on Deprived Areas 2005' was based on the SIMD 2004 (see Annex 1). This helped improve the understanding about the outcomes and circumstances of people living in the most deprived areas in Scotland and is relevant to a range of the Executive's Partnership Agreement Commitments especially those relating to community regeneration and Closing the Opportunity Gap 4 (see Annex 1).

There are also English, Welsh and Northern Ireland Indices of Deprivation which are not directly comparable to the SIMD as they contain some similar but some different indicators and domains, cover varying time periods and have differences in the way they are compiled. More detail is available on the 'Indices of Deprivation across the UK' on the ONS website (see Annex 1).

Alongside this report, the Scottish Executive is publishing:

  • A detailed online technical report which includes a description of the methodology and information about each individual indicator.
  • A hardcopy and online guidance leaflet, highlighting results and outlining appropriate use of the SIMD 2006.
  • An updated interactive mapping website, showing local authority maps of the most deprived areas in SIMD 2004 and SIMD 2006, and maps showing change in location of areas of deprivation between the two Indices.
  • An online Statistical Compendium of tables, charts and maps of analysis of the overall index and each domain, particularly at the local authority level.
  • Online spreadsheets of background data used to construct the SIMD 2006.
  • Ranks, Deciles and Vigintiles for the overall SIMD 2006 and by domain will be published on the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics website (see Annex 1).

Back to top