The first all-island deprivation index has just been launched. Based on 2011 Census data from both the North and South, this is the first time the deprivation index has been prepared on a common all-island basis.
The key finding from the all-island index is that the North is more affluent than the South. This was strongly influenced by higher unemployment in the Republic as a result of the recession, whereas high public sector employment in the North lessened the impact.
The other key finding was the considerably lower levels of rural deprivation across the North. One of the strengths of the deprivation index compared to some other measures of deprivation and poverty is its approach to measuring rural deprivation. The indicators used attempt to measure opportunity deprivation or the lack of access to certain opportunities. In rural areas this results in the loss of the economically active population as they emigrate or move to larger urban centres in search of work. The index found that rural areas in the Republic of Ireland are much more negatively affected by opportunity deprivation than equivalent areas in Northern Ireland.
On the all-island scale, the vast majority of local authority areas in the Republic have a negative deprivation index score. In the Western Region, Donegal has the second lowest all-island deprivation index of local authority areas on the island (-6.06) and Mayo has the fourth lowest (-5.13) meaning they are among the least affluent areas on the island. Roscommon also has a relatively low deprivation index (-3.73). Galway city and county Sligo are the only areas in the Western Region with a positive all-island deprivation index score (+5.47 and +0.87 respectively).
The spatial pattern of affluence and deprivation across the island closely mirrors employment patterns and the availability of high quality employment opportunities. This has important implications for regional development policy and support for employment growth in smaller centres and more rural areas, as well as the accessibility of rural areas.
The all-island deprivation index can be viewed here
The deprivation index, developed by social and economic consultants Trutz Haase and Dr Jonathan Pratschke, in collaboration with the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) and Maynooth University’s All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO), was presented at a seminar in Maynooth last week and is featured in today’s Irish Times.