Deprivation covers a broad range of issues and refers to unmet needs caused by a lack of resources of all kinds, not just financial. The English Indices of Deprivation attempts to measure a broad concept of multiple deprivation, made up of several distinct dimensions, or domains, of deprivation, for example income, crime or housing. It is important to note that these statistics are a measure of relative deprivation, not affluence, and to recognise that not every person in a highly deprived area will themselves be deprived. Conversely, there will be some deprived people living in the least deprived areas.
The concept of relative deprivation reflects various socioeconomic inequalities between and within areas. It is important because these indices attempt to describe the conditions in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. These conditions influence a person’s opportunity to be healthy, risk of illness and life expectancy as well as a host of other socioeconomic outcomes.