Tuesday, 15 January 2013

SIMD Trends

Details: the four waves of the SIMD between 2004 and 2012 allow for some analysis as to how Glasgow has changed over the last decade.

1%-15%: the most striking change has been the reduction in the proportion of Glasgow's population living in the bottom 15% of Scotland's datazones.  The convention has been to define deprivation as being people resident in the bottom 15% datazones in Scotland.  This has reduced from 53.4% in 2004 to 39.4% in 2012: a fall of 23.8%.  Put another way, between 2004 and 2012 73,600 people were lifted out of poverty, or 12.3% of the population (2011 estimate).  The bulk of the reduction came between 2004 and 2006 - and since then the fall has been less dramatic, but no less significant.

1%-5%: the same pattern can be seen with the number of people living in extreme deprivation - such as the bottom 5% of datazones in Scotland.  In Glasgow, this has fallen from 32.2% of the population in 2004 to 19.8% in 2012, equivalent to a fall of 63.5%.  Even so, the share of Glasgow's population in this category is four times as high as it would be, if deprivation was spread equally throughout Scotland.  It is also scarcely believable that in 2004 one in three of Glasgow's population lived in an area of extreme deprivation - yet that is what the data suggests.

16%-50%: with the population in the bottom 15% reducing in number in Glasgow, it is only to be expected that the population living in the 16%-50% category would increase.  And that is confirmed by the data: the proportion of the city's population living in these datazones in Glasgow increased from 25.9% in 2004 to 33.8% in 2012 - an increase of 34.7%.  This increase has been reasonably proportionate across the decade.

51%-100%: it is also notable that, just as the 16-50% category increased, so too has the number of people living in the 51%-100% group.  This has increased from 20.6% in 2004 to 26.9% in 2012, at an increase of 34.8%.  The significance of this is that it shows that the improvement in Glasgow has not just been at the margin of deprivation but throughout the population - that the city's experience has not simply been a reduction in deprivation but also an increase in the number of people living in the top half of Scottish society.  But a sense of perspective is also required, as the city's population in this category is around half of what it would be if it were distributed equally across Scotland.  Also, the increase mainly took place between 2004 and 2006, with little real change between 2009 and 2012.

Analysis: this improvement in the reduction of deprivation in Glasgow has been driven by a number of factors: 

  • Employment: the number of people in work has increased and was the main factor in reducing deprivation in the early part of the decade.  Given the time lags inherent in the data, the employment rate increased from 54.9% in March 1999-February 2000 to 64.3% in March 2003-April 2004;
  • Housing change: the decade has also seen an ambitious programme of housing demolition led by the Glasgow Housing Association involving the rehousing of a substantial number of people.  Three datazones have had all their multi-storey housing demolished: in S01003031 (Castlemilk, 2001 population 523), S01003319 (Ibrox, 804) and S01003505 (Sighthill, 722); and other demolitions have taken place in Red Road and Shawbridge, amongst others.  All of these areas were in the bottom 15%  in 2004 and through the demolition programme no longer feature in this category;
  • Demographic change: since 2001 the proportion of the city's population aged between 25 and 44 has increased, from 182,300 (31.5% of the total) to 196,800 (32.9%) at a time when the Scottish total declined from 29.2% to 26.4%.  As this group has the highest employment rate of any other age group, the outcome of this shift will have been to contribute to the overall reduction in deprivation.

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