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Measuring deprivation in New Zealand regions

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and Associate Professor Dan Exeter are launching a series of discussion documents which look at the concentration and drivers of deprivation in regions across Aotearoa, using The New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

The IMD, produced by Dr Exeter and his team at the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health, is a set of tools for identifying and measuring concentrations of deprivation in New Zealand. It measures deprivation at a neighbourhood-level with populations as small as 500 in data zones that have been custom-designed to produce better small area information without losing information due to confidentiality or suppression issues.

If used widely, the IMD has the potential to inform a critical understanding of what systemic levers are needed to provide a better outlook for children and whanau in the most deprived areas, and to guide more efficient and appropriate distribution of resources.

The IMD comprises 28 indicators grouped into seven domains of deprivation: Employment, Income, Crime, Housing, Health, Education and Access to services, which may be used individually or in combination to explore the geography of deprivation and its association with a given health or social outcome.



In his presentations, which are being held in Nelson, Dunedin and Christchurch, Dr Exeter will discuss the development of the IMD, and demonstrate the different ways in which the IMD and its domains can be used to better understand the drivers of deprivation within each city’s region.

"The situation for people suffering the ill-effects of disadvantage isn’t going to get better any time soon, unless we get real about the causes of deprivation," says Dr Exeter.

"The IMD’s strength is its ability to drill down to see which of the seven domains are driving deprivation in each region, because it varies from region to region.

"High rates of crime in one area may be significant while it may be poor health outcomes in another."

The individual reports are intended to provide an overall understanding of how the IMD works along with an overview of each particular region. They also contain case studies to illustrate how the tool can be utilised for examining variations in the types of deprivation being experienced at a small neighbourhood area level.

"It is our hope that people who read the reports will realise the value of the IMD dataset and use them to guide solution-driven deprivation analysis for the region that they are concerned with," says Dr Exeter.

The first of Dr Exeter’s presentations on regional deprivation will be held in Nelson tomorrow, Tuesday March 26, from 5pm at the Red Cross Rooms, 59 Parkers Road, Nelson.

Further presentations will follow in Dunedin on April 2, and Christchurch on April 3. They are free to attend and media are warmly welcomed. For more information visit CPAG’s website.

The report "Deprivation in the Nelson Marlborough Region" is available for download here.


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