Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2014

27 November 2014

Article written by Helen Jones, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

The Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) 2014 was published on 26 November 2014 by the Welsh Government.

Most deprived and least deprived areas

The headline WIMD 2014 results in the table below show the 5 most deprived and 5 least deprived Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs).

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Source: Welsh Government, Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2014 – overall and domain ranks

The Welsh Government will also produce an online interactive map which allows users to explore the data and find out the WIMD score in the areas they are interested in.

What is WIMD 2014?

WIMD 2014 attempts to measure relative levels of deprivation in small areas across Wales. The small areas used to construct the index are called Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) with an average population of 1,600 people. There are 1,909 LSOAs in Wales and the most deprived area is given a rank of 1 and the least deprived a rank of 1,909.

WIMD 2014 uses a range of indicators across eight domains to measure the concept of ‘multiple deprivation’. The domains are listed below and the percentages in brackets show the weighting or importance given to each domain as an aspect of deprivation:

  • Income (23.5%)
  • Employment (23.5%)
  • Health (14.0%)
  • Education (14.0%)
  • Access to services (10.0%)
  • Community safety (5.0%)
  • Physical Environment (5.0%)
  • Housing (5.0%)

As well as the overall WIMD 2014 rank and domain ranks, data for the individual indicators are also published on Stats Wales.

Why is WIMD important?

WIMD is used to target policies and services. Previous versions of WIMD have been used to determine which geographical areas are eligible for funding under the Communities First tackling poverty programme. The indicator data underlying WIMD have also been used to identify where Flying Start services are placed. In addition WIMD is used to measure health inequalities as well as helping local authorities develop needs assessments and neighbourhood policing teams target resources.

How often is WIMD updated?

WIMD was first published in 2000 at an electoral division level and there have been subsequent versions of WIMD published in 2005, 2008 and 2011 at LSOA level.

The differences between the recent versions of WIMD are minor in terms of the indicators, domains and weightings used.

Can comparisons be made with other countries?

England, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have their own separate Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMDs). The English Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010 is due to be updated in summer 2015. The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2012 is planned to be updated in 2016 and the Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure 2010 is the latest version available.

It is not possible to compare the WIMD with the IMDs from other UK countries as they all use different indicators, are updated at different time periods and have different underlying geographies.

What are the limitations of WIMD?

WIMD is a useful tool for measuring concentrations of many types of deprivation at a small geographical level. However its main limitation is that it is an area based measure. People that would be considered deprived can live in the least deprived areas and vice versa.

Several responses to the consultation on the proposed indicators for WIMD 2014 also commented that deprivation in rural areas tends to be more geographically dispersed than in urban areas. Therefore pockets of deprivation in rural areas are likely to be below LSOA level and harder to identify.

WIMD is also not a direct measure of the amount of deprivation in an area. It is possible to say that one area is more deprived than another however it is not possible to state that one LSOA is twice as deprived as another LSOA. It is also not possible to compare the WIMD 2011 ranks with WIMD 2014 ranks. In order to make comparisons over time it is necessary to use the annual WIMD indicator data.

Inquiry into poverty in Wales

The National Assembly’s Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into poverty in Wales. The fourth strand of the inquiry – community-based approaches to tackling poverty will consider the geographical consistency of anti-poverty initiatives and the effectiveness of area-based anti-poverty programmes such as Communities First.

RS143047 WIMD 2014 Eng picture

Infographic from Statistics for Wales. Licensed under the Open Government License