New ‘Poverty in England’ measures confirm Warwickshire’s pattern of need

Credit ratings company Experian has ranked 326 local authorities in England by key poverty indicators, from child poverty to the risk of long-term unemployment. The findings for Warwickshire are not unexpected; Nuneaton & Bedworth, as a whole, performs least well in Warwickshire across all measures, while Stratford-on-Avon is amongst the best performing areas in the country.

The specific measures included are;

  • Greatest overall risk of poverty taking account of multiple factors
  • Greatest likelihood to contain those in current poverty
  • Greatest likelihood to contain those who may fall into poverty in the short to medium term
  • Greatest likelihood to contain those who may fall into poverty in the longer term
  • Greatest likelihood to contain households whose income is less than 60% of the median for England
  • Likelihood for the presence of households at risk of long-term unemployment
  • Likelihood for the presence of households at greatest risk of experiencing child poverty
  • Greatest likelihood to contain households at risk of financial exclusion
  • Greatest likelihood to contain households at risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

The data is published at district level.  These generalisations mask much more complex and diverse issues at the more local level, but nevertheless provide a useful indication of positions in a national context.  One specific observation is that the three northernmost boroughs in the county are considered to contain households that are at greater risk of falling into poverty over the medium and long term than are currently in poverty, relative to national trends.

Our graphic illustrates the Warwickshire data.  Nuneaton & Bedworth is ranked 81st, out of 326 local authority areas, in terms of the overall risk of poverty, while Stratford-on-Avon is ranked 298th.  Rugby is ranked 154th, and is typically placed right in the centre of the rankings across all the measures.  North Warwickshire is 126th most at risk of poverty and, in terms of rankings, sits between Nuneaton & Bedworth and Rugby for all but one of the indicators.  Warwick is ranked 213th and is the second best performing area in Warwickshire for all the indicators.

The data and value of the maps is being debated on the Guardian website.  The comments range from perceptive to ridiculous, although one of the common themes to emerge is the limited value of considering these kinds of issues at the local authority district level.  Much more useful are the Indices of Deprivation, which analyse deprivation at the local level.  The data has also been mapped by the Guardian.

We’re promoting the availability of these new indicators in the spirit of sharing research, although it’s fair to say they probably raise as many questions as they answer. Experian have not provided much background on how the indicators have been constructed, stating that “the majority of indices are derived from our proprietary sources and our own modelled work“.  You may already know that we hold the Mosaic dataset, also produced by Experian, within the Observatory.  If not, more details are available here and here, and this data can provide a much richer understanding of localised issues.  The value of this new research is to compare Warwickshire’s districts in a consistent national setting.

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