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From Norfolk RCC
It is easy to assume that rural areas are idylic places to live and for many they are. However, rural areas have significant levels of deprivation. The challenge is that this deprivation is often spread out and hidden, making it harder to identify and address.
Access to information and data regarding the rural share of deprivation has historically been very difficult. One of the standard tools for looking at deprivation is the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).
However, this approach was primarily developed with urban centred deprivation in mind and as such does not provide a clear picture of rural deprivation.
The rationale for Evidencing Rural Need lies with work already undertaken by Rural Community Action Network (RCAN) members, namely Norfolk Rural Community Council, Suffolk Rural Community Council, South East Rural Community Councils (SERCC) and the South West ACRE Network (SWAN). These members have all commissioned Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI) to produce reports covering the rural share of deprivation in their respective areas.
One question that the IMD or Index of Multiple Deprivation seeks to answer is which geographical areas do we channel resources into to achieve the best overall effect e.g. the greatest reduction in deprivation. The solution has often been to target those areas that appear to be the most deprived. IMD is used as a way of comparing areas and although it is far from perfect it is widely used. However, one of the major problems has been the level at which data is aggregated. The principle underlying this resource is that analysing evidence at a more detailed level reveals a greater proportion of disadvantaged rural residents.
Why and how Evidencing Rural Need gives a more accurate picture of rural deprivation
Analysis of the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007 identifies only 50 of the 3,248 most-deprived 10% of areas across England as being rural, and only 143 of the 6,496 most deprived 20% of areas – in other words only just over 2% of the most deprived 20% of areas in England are rural.
However, the proportion of deprived people living in rural areas is substantially larger than this. In fact, 17% of the 5,310,000 households living on less than 60% of median income across England are in rural areas (for context, 19% of England’s population live in rural areas).
Put simply, rural areas are substantially more deprived based on the location of deprived people than based on the location of deprived areas. This level of understanding is a critical tool in influencing resource allocation for small rural communities and supporting local action such as Community Led Planning.
Updated Norfolk Picture
- 53% of the Norfolk population live in rural areas (population below 10,000).
- Across a range of indicators an average of 45% of deprivation is found in rural areas.
- Using the traditional super output area approach only 3.2% of rural areas fall within the 30% most deprived in England.
- The RCAN/OCSI output area approach identifies 6% of rural areas within Norfolk in the 30% most deprived in England.
- Rural deprived areas exhibit many of the same statistical characteristics as there urban counterparts. However the percentage of no car ownership households is over double the rural norm. (35.5% compared to 14.4%). What this means is that those most in need of services and support are among the least able to access them.
- Although due to changes in data it is difficult to make comparisons between the 2004 and 2010 studies looking at selected indicators 4 had improved, 5 had got worse and 2 had seen no change.
Norfolk Rural Share of Deprivation
Additional reports and data are available from Norfolk RCC for which there is a discretional charging structure. Bespoke data analysis can also be undertaken on a consultancy basis.
More information on other areas of the country and access to the data can be found here. http://www.rural-evidence.org.uk/home/