A Map of Scotland’s Deprivation


About this time last year, I created a “Map of the Geodemographics of Great Britain” which included the Output Area classifications (OAC) for GB, based on the 2001 Census, and also included the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for England, published in 2010. At the time, there was no up-to-date equivalent to the IMD for Scotland. However the 2012 SIMD (Scottish IMD) has recently been published, and I’ve applied the resulting datasets to my map, using the same technique of filling in just the buildings, rather than all the land, in the appropriate colour (a red-yellow-green Colorbrewer ramp from most to least deprived).

The SIMD and IMD are calculated in a similar way – by looking at measurements of poverty for each area across several categories (e.g. education, crime, income) – however the details of the way the measures are taken is slightly different between the two countries. Additionally each index is based on the range of deprivation found in that country. This means that the indices should not be directly compared across the two countries, i.e. A dark green area in Scotland only has the same relative level of deprivation to similarly coloured areas in Scotland, not in England. Accordingly, the website does not show the two IMD maps at the same time – there is a toggle at the bottom to switch between the two (and to the OAC). As an example – just because Edinburgh is largely green does not mean that it has the same leve of affluence/deprivation, on absolute terms, as a similarly-coloured city in England.

Nonetheless, comparisons within Scotland are perfectly valid, and the differences between the cities are striking – most notably Edinburgh vs Glasgow. See the whole map here.

As always with classifications, remember that they represent an average throughout the geographical area concerned – in Scotland this area is known as a Data Zone, which is similar to an English Output Area (as an aside, the SIMD is more fine-grained than the IMD – the latter uses a more aggregated measure). This means that the colour covering a house is not a measure for that house, simply that that house is within an area where the average SIMD is that value. Also, non-residential buildings get coloured, as the dataset I’m using for the building (Ordnance Survey Vector Map District, via the OS Open Data releases) does not distinguish building types. The SIMD of buildings that have no occupants is meaningless, and they are not included in the underlying calculation.