Lecturer Alasdair Rae said the Scottish Government's official mapping tools were "frustrating" to use
Lecturer Alasdair Rae has used the official Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 2012 to create a colourful area by area guide of the nation’s most impoverished areas.
Rae overlaid the SIMD onto Google Maps to allow users to hover over the various geographical ‘datazones’ based on information from a variety of sources including local authorities and the NHS.
He said: “With the release of the latest version of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation I thought I would take the time to put together an interactive mapping website so that people who are interested in exploring spatial patterns of deprivation could easily interact with the data. The official Scottish Government interactive mapping site has some nice features but I find it a bit cumbersome and the map interface is too small for my liking so that’s why I’ve produced my own version, based on Google Fusion Tables.”
Users can use Rae’s map to zoom in or out of regions and if they click on a datazone, a graph appears showing how the area has performed, in terms of its deprivation ranking, since 2004.
The areas with the highest concentration of red on the map, indicating the most deprived 20 per cent in the country, appear mostly in the urban areas in or close to Glasgow.
According to Rae’s map, Scotland’s most deprived area is Ferguslie Park in Paisley with the least deprived, ranked at 6,505, being an area of Craiglockhart in Edinburgh.
Rae says: “From the interactive map it is easy to spot large concentrations of areas with similar deprivation levels. A high percentage of Edinburgh’s Data Zones are amongst Scotland’s least deprived 20%, whereas a high percentage of Glasgow’s Data Zones are amongst Scotland’s most deprived 20%. At a very basic level this tells us that there is often a high degree of correlation between areas that are located close to each other.”
Rae, a lecturer at the University of Sheffield, also points out that the data is based on factors much wider than just household income – a traditional measure of poverty – and also includes employment, health, education, housing, access, and crime.
He adds: “It would not be technically correct to conflate the two but given the links between income and employment/health/education/housing/access/crime it is safe to assume a strong relationship between the deprivation and poverty.”
Rae posted his map online within hours of the Scottish Government’s own annual release of the SIMD data.
A Scottish Government press release said the 2012 data showed deprivation in Scotland has become “less concentrated over time, with Glasgow City, Edinburgh City and Aberdeen City seeing relatively large decreases in their share of Scotland’s most deprived areas between 2009 and 2012.”
It said the data is used to target funding at the communities most in need of help and said by September £3.4m had been allocated to 20 organisations in some of Scotland’s most deprived areas.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added: “It is absolutely imperative that the most vulnerable members of society are protected and cared for during these tough economic times.
“Earlier this year we announced the organisations to benefit from our People and Communities Fund. We use SIMD data to help us allocate funding to areas that are in greatest need of support.
“The regeneration of our deprived and disadvantaged communities is a key priority for this Government. Since 2008, we have invested £121.9 million in Urban Regeneration Companies to drive this change, helping to create more than 2,000 jobs and 900 training places.”