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Demographic and Deprivation Ratios: examples of their use in understanding underlying spatial patterns in social phenomena

By R Webber


The intention of this paper is to explore the concept of standardized demographic ordeprivation Ratios ? what they are, why they might be useful, for what statisticaldistributions they can be built, how they can be constructed and which research activitiesand policy areas they might inform.Such Ratios are designed to demonstrate the extent to which the local levels of variousstatistical measures are above or below the level that would be ?expected? on the basis ofthe demographic make up of local areas. They would answer questions such as ?Isunemployment in this town high for a place of this sort??; ?Is the reason for the high levelof vodka consumption in Scotland something to do with local history or local culture orcan it be explained as a consequence of the demographics of the Scottish population?? or?Is the level of burglary in Avon and Somerset above the level that it ought to be, bearingin mind the characteristics of its population??The analysis of standardised Ratios is also relevant to the study of regionalization. Weare used to the administrative regions in terms of which government divide the countryand publish statistics. The mapping of Standardised Ratios shows the extent to whichthese administrative boundaries correspond to the boundaries of ?natural? regions, thesebeing defined as sets of adjacent areas sharing similar values on a broad range ofStandardised Ratios.Relating the actual levels of social statistics to some measure of what might be expectedon the basis of the population is clearly relevant to the evaluation of local performance,whether in the private or the public sector and Ratios of this sort, for example MortalityRatios, have been used for many years by health professional to benchmark local levelsof mortality against the level which might be expected on the basis of the gender and age.However the mapping of the difference between actual and expected rates can oftenthrow interesting light on cultural differences between regions and sub regions of thecountry which persist despite the homogenizing tendency of central government andnational or even multinational retail multiples.The paper illustrates the potential meaning and use of these Ratios by means of a set oftwelve demographic and deprivation Ratios created from the 2001 census in the UK

Publisher: Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL)
Year: 2004
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Provided by: UCL Discovery

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