It is easy to think that only LIC can have poor areas, poverty and deprivation but even HICs can have poor housing which are slum not shanty towns. These areas have people that live and sleep on the streets. In HIC cities, the term deprivation is in connection with poverty, deprivation is when a person’s well-being falls below a level which is generally thought of as an acceptable minimum. This minimum standard applies not just for one, but for a number of different aspects of daily life.
The Multiple Deprivation Index (MDI)
In the UK, a multiple deprivation index (MDI) has been developed to access the level of deprivation across the whole country. It is based on seven different qualities of life indicators:
- Access to housing and services
- The living environment
Case Study: Birmingham (LIC)
Calculating the index is complicated, but once it is done all the local authorities can be compared. From this comparison, it is possible to identify both the most deprived areas and the best areas.
The image above shows the distribution of deprivation in Birmingham, one the UK’s largest cities. The areas of greatest deprivation occur in two main locations:
- The city centre – here deprivation coincides with areas of either old and substandard housing or high-rise apartment blocks that were built after the end of WW2 to house people displaced by slum clearance schemes.
- Towards the city’s edge deprivation mainly occurs in the estates of social housing built by the city for rent to poorer households.
The grey areas on image above are the areas with the least deprivation and therefore the parts of the city where wealthier people live, as in the northern part of the city and in a belt lying to the south-west of the city centre.
The symptoms of deprivation and poverty are most obviously physical signs such as poor housing and unattractive living environment (noise, unsightliness and graffiti). Services, provided in these areas, such as schools, medical centres, sports facilities, park and shops, are often of a poor quantity.
The people who live in these areas of poor housing also feature characteristics that are part of the symptoms of deprivation. In general, there is a relatively incidence of unemployment and single parents families. Many of those at working age are able only to take on unskilled, manual work. Many have received only a minimal education. There is also a relatively high incidence of crime and what are called domestic disputes (trouble between couples) and anti-social behaviour. The two maps of Birmingham show that there is the large ethnic minority in which people have origins of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Caribbean. What is noticeable is that this minority is concentrated in the most deprived areas of Birmingham, ethic minorities are often the victims of high levels of deprivation.
The image above shows what is called the cycle of poverty. This is based on the idea that poverty and deprivation is passed on from one generation to the next. The children of poor parents may receive little parental support and may be forced to attend inadequate schools. As a result, they leave school at the earliest possible opportunity with few qualifications. This, in turn, means that they have difficulties finding works and can therefore only expect to earn low wages. The children they have are born into the same environment of deprivation. Thus families tend to remain `trapped` in this cycle of poverty, being unable to improve their circumstances. The challenge to societies around the world is how to make it possible for people to break out of this cycle of poverty.