National Deprivation Index for Ireland published

Researchers at the Department of Public Health & Primary Care in Trinity College have published the National Deprivation Index for Ireland.

The index uses indicators of material deprivation from the 2016 Census to calculate a measure of deprivation for small areas in Ireland. The deprivation index enables researchers to identify underprivileged areas. Deprivation has demonstrated strong correlations with a range of health and social outcome measures across many countries. Outcomes are worst in the most deprived areas.

In the report researchers looked at deprivation over time using data from the 2006, 2011 and 2016 Census results. While deprivation worsened for the whole country between 2006 and 2011, it improved between 2011 and 2016. Deprivation in 2016 was above 2006 levels, suggesting a country still in recovery. It was found that while the majority of areas have been relatively stable over time, a small number of  electoral divisions (EDs) have experienced quite large shifts in deprivation. Of most concern are EDs that have worsened markedly between 2011 and 2016, contrary to the average experience in the country.

Researchers analysed life expectancy by deprivation at a county level, and found that life expectancy in the most deprived county was 7 years lower than in the least deprived county.

Dr Conor Teljeur, lead author of the report, said:

“Our analysis shows that although many areas improved between 2011 and 2016, some deteriorated. For over 20 years the index has been an important tool both for analysing health data and for supporting local and national-level health policy development.”

According to Dr Catherine Darker, Head of Discipline in Public Health & Primary Care:

“The deprivation index reflects our research interest in health inequalities. Health is worst amongst the most deprived populations and it is imperative that we try to understand why and direct initiatives to address and minimise health inequalities.”

The report and data are freely available to download from: https://www.tcd.ie/medicine/public_health_primary_care/research/deprivation/