Section 3: Deprivation

10.       Income Support Claimants

The data contained in Tables 10(a) to 10(e) provide a breakdown of the proportion of people claiming each type of income support benefit.  These are intended to supplement the income deprivation information provided in Section 11 that illustrates the geographic distribution of deprivation. 

Table 10(a) covers the number of claimants as a proportion of the population aged over 16 years for all quarters between February 1998 and August 2002, (although August 2002 data for Northern Ireland were not available in time for inclusion in this edition). Tables 10(b) to 10(e) break down the receipt of Income Support benefits by broad client group, namely; pensioners, disabled, lone parents and 'other' recipients.

As a proportion of the adult population, in May 2002, Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of Income Support claimants of any UK region or country in each of the benefit categories with the exception of lone-parent benefits, where the proportion was highest in London (with 2.8 per cent of all adults claiming Lone Parent Income Support benefits).

Focusing on the total number of claimants, 13.6 per cent of Northern Irelandís adult population were claiming Income Support benefit during May 2002. This was more than 2 percentage points higher than the region with the next largest proportion - the North East at 11.3 per cent. Since February 1998, the South East has consistently had the lowest proportion of Income Support claimants in any UK region or country with the figure standing at 5.6 per cent during May 2002.

Chart 10

11.       Income Deprivation

The information included in Table 11 and Chart 11 provides an indication of the distribution of income deprivation within each of the English regions. The proportion of the population dependent on Income Support (IS) benefits is used as a proxy for this. These estimates are drawn from the Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2000 (IMD 2000) for England. See Definitions for further details.

The electoral wards in each region have been ranked according to their overall deprivation score in the IMD 2000. The proportion of the population within families that are dependent on IS benefits has been calculated for the region as a whole as well as for the 20 per cent of the population resident in the most deprived wards within the region.

For the English regions, the proportion of people within families dependent on IS benefits was lowest in the South East (at 16 per cent) followed by the East (at 18 per cent). Across England, the proportion was highest in the North East (32 per cent of all people), 8 percentage points higher than the average for England as a whole.

Amongst the most deprived 20 per cent of people in each region, the proportion of people within IS - dependent families was highest in the North West (54 per cent of people in the most derived wards) followed by the North East (at 52 per cent). The proportion was lowest in the South East (with 32 per cent of the most deprived within IS families). The latter result is nearly 13 points lower than the percentage for England as a whole.

However, the analyses so far do not tell the whole story. Although the South East had the lowest proportion of its residents in families dependent on these benefits, among the most deprived 20 per cent of its population, the proportion of dependants was double that for the South East as a whole. This differential was higher than for any other English region. Conversely, the proportion of IS dependants amongst the most deprived 20 per cent of the North East population was only 1.6 times the overall rate and was lower than for any other region. This suggests that IS dependent families are more evenly distributed across the North East than the South East.

These results should be interpreted with some caution. The estimates deal with the percentage of people in families that are dependent on IS benefits and not the value of the IS benefits being claimed.  While IS dependent families may occur with some frequency in many of the wards within each region, it may well be that the average value claimed in the most deprived wards is higher than in the less deprived wards. This could mean that the difference between the poorest areas in each region and the region as a whole may be greater than is indicated here.

Chart 11

 

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