Multi-dimensional deprivation in Ireland

Over 29 per cent of children aged nine in Ireland suffer from multi-dimensional deprivation, according to a new analysis from University College Dublin. 20 per cent are deprived on grounds of low income. Rates of deprivation on other dimensions range from 10 per cent (delinquent behaviour) to 25.2 per cent (overweight or obese).

The researchers made use of the nine-year-old wave of the Growing Up in Ireland study to analyse multi-dimensional deprivation. Their approach involves a 'censoring' of data such that deprivations count only for those above the specified multi-dimensional threshold. This leads, they say, to a stronger set of inter-relationships between deprivation dimensions than that found under alternative approaches.

Key findings

  • Over 29 per cent of children aged nine suffer from multi-dimensional deprivation: that is, they experience deprivation under at least three out of the ten deprivation dimensions measured.
  • Nearly 16 per cent experience deprivation under four or more dimensions, and nearly 8 per cent under five or more.
  • For lone parents with three or more children, the dimensions of low income, adverse life events and unpreparedness for school are relatively significant. In contrast, for couples with one or two children, the more significant issues relate to behavioural problems, being overweight and being a victim of bullying.
  • A similar contrast in relevant deprivation dimensions is found between unskilled social classes (also including poor reading) and professional/managerial groups.

The researchers highlight the advantages of an approach with clearly understood 'axiomatic' properties. Such an approach makes it possible, they argue, to evaluate the consequences of the measurement strategy employed for understanding levels of multi-dimensional deprivation, the nature of multi-dimensional profiles and socio-economic risk patterns.

: James Williams, Aisling Murray and Christopher Whelan, Multi-Dimensional Deprivation in Ireland among 9-Year Olds in Ireland: An Analysis of the Growing Up in Ireland Survey, WP2013/05, Geary Institute (University College Dublin)