In this paper we make use of the 9-year old wave of the Growing Up in Ireland study to analyse multidimensional deprivation in Ireland. The Alkire and Foster adjusted head count ratio approach (AHCR; 2007, 2011a, 2011b) applied here constitutes a significant improvement on union and intersection approaches and allows for the decomposition of multidimensional poverty in terms of dimensions and sub-groups. The approach involves a censoring of data such that deprivations count only for those above the specified multidimensional threshold leading to a stronger set of interrelationships between deprivation dimensions. Our analysis shows that the composition of the adjusted head ratio is influenced by a range of socio-economic factors. For less-favoured socio-economic groups dimensions relating to material deprivation are disproportionately represented while for the more advantaged groups, those relating to behavioral and emotional issues and social interaction play a greater role. Notwithstanding such variation in composition, our analysis showed that the AHCR varied systematically across categories of household type, and the social class, education and age group of the primary care giver. Furthermore, these variables combined in a cumulative manner. The most systematic variation was in relation to the head count of those above the multidimensional threshold rather than intensity, conditional on being above that cut-off point. Without seeking to arbitrate on the relative value of composite indices versus disaggregated profiles, our analysis demonstrates that there is much to be gained from adopting an approach with clearly understood axiomatic properties. Doing so allows one to evaluate the consequences of the measurement strategy employed for the understanding of levels of multidimensional deprivation, the nature of such deprivation profiles and socio-economic risk patterns. Ultimately it permits an informed assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the particular choices made.
- child poverty, deprivation, multdimensionality