Deprivation in England, 1971–2020

C. D. Lloyd*, P. D. Norman, D. McLennan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Measures of small area deprivation have played a major role in targeting resources in the UK. The English Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is the official measure of small area deprivation in England and it has been used to allocate billions of pounds of government money. The success of schemes to reduce deprivation can only be assessed by measuring changes in deprivation over time. In addition, the effect of such schemes is likely to be a partly a function of the deprivation history of an area. More generally, the trajectory of deprivation, and not just its current state, is important in understanding the likely impacts of deprivation on those who live in deprived areas. This paper combines the strengths of the IMD as a broad-ranging measure based on administrative data (here, using the 2004, 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2019 indices) and the Townsend score derived from Census data for a much longer time period (1971 to 2011). In addition, benefit claimant count data are used as a proxy for unemployment following the national Covid-19 lockdowns. The paper identifies some major trends in small area deprivation and unemployment over the period 1971 to 2020 and it highlights some key similarities and differences between the Townsend score and the IMD and makes links to changes in unemployment in 2020. Areas with very long term deprivation are identified and the strong association between job losses following Covid-19 lockdown and deprivation histories is demonstrated. The analyses are used to argue that deprivation trajectories should be considered if effective strategies for reducing spatial inequalities are to be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalApplied Spatial Analysis and Policy
Early online date16 Nov 2022
Publication statusEarly online date - 16 Nov 2022


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