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What is deprivation and why does it matter?

A neighbourhood can be said to suffer from deprivation if it does not have access to the basic necessities it needs to thrive.  This can mean access to financial resources such as stable jobs with good incomes, but it can also mean a wide range of other necessities such as access to education, healthcare, housing and a good, safe living environment.  We are interested in understanding the level of deprivation across Cornwall so that we and our partner organisations can make the right decisions to improve access to resources for every resident of Cornwall.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is a national measure of deprivation that is performed once every four years.  The index measures deprivation across small geographical areas or neighbourhoods that are called Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs).  IMD is a relative measure, which means that it ranks neighbourhoods across the country into those with relatively more or less deprivation.  Neighbourhoods are ranked within seven categories (often called domains) that includes income, employment, health and disability, education skills and training, barriers to housing and services, crime and the living environment.  Each neighbourhood receives a ranking against each category plus an overall Index of Deprivation ranking.

The latest IMD data were published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) in September 2019.  The 2019 data shows that Cornwall is now ranked 83rd out of 317 local authority areas for deprivation (where a rank of 1 is the local authority with the highest proportion of the population living in the most deprived neighbourhoods).  This is a slight improvement since 2015, when Cornwall ranked 68th out of 326 local authority areas. 

What does this mean?  IMD is a relative measure which means we cannot say whether absolute levels of deprivation have increased or decreased since 2015.  However, it is possible to say that the level of deprivation in Cornwall has improved relative to other local authorities compared with 2015.

We are currently analysing the 2019 data in detail and understanding what this means for Cornwall.  Please check this webpage regularly as we will publish a full report on the 2019 IMD results shortly.