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Report: Better measures of local incomes and poverty in Scotland

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The Income Modelling Project was carried out by Heriot Watt University with the aim of developing improved measures of local incomes and poverty in Scotland at small area level. Professor Glen Bramley and David Watkins have now published a report on their findings.

The Income Modelling Project was commissioned at the end of 2011 by the Improvement Service working on behalf of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife and Highland Councils and the Scottish Government.

Findings of the project address issues of income levels and poverty incidence at local authority and neighbourhood levels that are relevant to monitoring progress under Single Outcome Agreements and to targeting action under Anti-Poverty Strategy. The project corresponds to a shared commitment to tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland, Scottish national objectives and performance frameworks and in particular, Scottish Government’s overarching strategy, Achieving Our Potential: A Framework to Tackle Poverty and Inequality in Scotland.

In a wider context, the findings of the project also contribute to the analytical framework with respect to establishing geographical levels of output, geographical typologies for broader localities and for neighbourhood level factors, household groups and income definitions. Additionally, the project provides access to predictions for the whole of Scotland on a small neighbourhood level.

Purpose and relevance of the project

The project had the following objectives:

  • to provide robust and transparent method, a set of estimates of household income level and distributions
  • to provide insight into the determinants of local household income levels and distributions for different groups
  • to inform the debate about the value, meaning and implications of different ways of measuring household income patterns, where these may appear to give a different pictures
  • to provide benchmarks and tools for the assessment of a range of problems related to income patterns
  • to provide benchmarks and tools for the assessment of a range of problems related to income, including housing affordability, fuel poverty, financial stress/indebtedness, and benefit take-up, in the context of local Community Planning Partnerships

Project findings

Findings from the project are published in Local Incomes and Poverty in Scotland (28 March 2013). The report and technical annexes, including summary income and poverty data for all local authorities, can be accessed through the right-hand panel.

Please remember these estimates are modelled for local areas based on national survey evidence and linked to data we know about local and neighbourhood populations, their household characteristics and circumstances. They are not actual survey or admin responses and there is a degree of imprecision around each estimate. Currently the estimates should be considered ‘experimental’ and users are encouraged to test these modelled estimates against their own local knowledge and other evidence about local areas.

Access the data

As well as using the technical annexes which accompany the publication, users can access the small area data for the income and poverty measures using Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS). A new theme report, Income and Poverty – modelled estimates, can be accessed using the SNS ‘Standard Reporter’ and then selecting the ‘Theme Report’ option.

More information

For more information on the project, contact:

Konrad Zdeb, Improvement Service, [email protected]

Professor Glen Bramley, Heriot Watt University, [email protected]

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