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Socio-economic Deprivation Index update

Monday 19 November 2007

Socio-economic Deprivation Index update

The University of Otago, Wellington has recently updated the New Zealand Index of Socio-economic Deprivation, based on data from the 2006 census. Led by Professor Peter Crampton from the Department of Public Health, NZDep2006 updates three previous indexes going back to 1991; these are NZDep91,NZDep96 and NZDep2001.

The Index measures socioeconomic deprivation over geographical units as defined by Statistics New Zealand. Each unit or mesh-block contains a median of 87 people in 2006. These mesh-blocks are then transferred to maps to provide a coloured visual representation of comparative socio-economic deprivation according to area and location.

The Index provides a graduated scale of deprivation based on a number of variables from Statistics New Zealand. 1 represents the areas with least deprived scores and 10 the most deprived scores regarding socio-economic deprivation.

Variables for assessment include: income, home ownership, family support, employment, qualifications, living space, communication and transport.

Professor Crampton says the Index is widely used for the application of funding formulas for health care by DHBs, social services and in other sectors. It is also useful for research, such as determining the relationship between socio-economic deprivation and health outcomes by community groups and community based service providers.

“It’s important to note that the Index is about relative socio-economic deprivation and not absolute deprivation,” explains Professor Crampton. “This means that there will always be 10% of the country which falls into the most deprived decile, as the way the index is constructed divides the deprivation scores into tenths over the whole country.”

Professor Crampton is not aware of significant changes in the distribution of socio-economic deprivation since the 2001 index. Changes in scores tend to be incremental and slow, and are unlikely to occur over one census period.
NZDep2006 and associated documentation can be downloaded from:


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