A Map of Scotland’s Deprivation


[Updated] 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.

[Update – I have created a new user interface for SIMD12, you can see it at CDRC Maps]

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.


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5 thoughts on “A Map of Scotland’s Deprivation

  1. Dear Oliver,

    Im a postgraduate student at CASS, and doing some research regarding the Booth maps, particularly in east London.

    I cant seem to find your email, so i’m contacting you here.
    Would it be possible to talk?

    Best Wishes

    Robin Turner


  2. Hi, I am a sociology junior honours student at Glasgow with an interest in geography and maps, I was just wondering if all indices were included, and whether it could ever be possible to map in the same style only certain indices, like income? The main index of deprivation I have a problem with is transport, as by including it, prosperous suburbs are sometimes made out to be more deprived. Also when health and housing are included, usually prosperous places within cities are made out to look deprived. Also looking at the output classification map, using my local knowledge of Glasgow, I know some of the classifications are simply incorrect

    1. Yes, I am mapping the combined index, not the individual ones. it is possible to map the individual components of the IMD separately, using the same technique. Bear in mind that the index currently mapped is from 2010 and areas may have changed, and that the resolution is at Data Zone (DZ) level so variations within a DZ will not show.

      A prosperous area can also be deprived (as you can see on the map) because not everyone in such an area might be prosperous, but all people there might be deprived of certain things, e.g. transport.

  3. Hi Ollie,

    any plans to do similar for Wales?

    Now that the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2014 is available.

    Best regards


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