Affluence Index: What is it?


The index of affluence and deprivation, officially known as the Pobal HP Deprivation Index, uses a series of indicators from the most recent census to measure the affluence or deprivation of all parts of the country.

It was commissioned by State agency Pobal from the social and economic consultants Trutz Haase and Jonathan Pratschke.

It measures 10 key indicators, including the proportion of skilled professionals, people with high levels of education, employment, single-parent households, etc.

The index does not use personal wealth, debt or income (this isn’t included in the census), though Haase points out that these indicators are closely correlated with education, skills and labour market status, which are covered in the census.

“This index really measures the extent to which an area can maintain its class position over time,” says Haase. “Education and skills are a much stronger indicator of income-generating strength over time.”

He argues that negative equity, for example, isn’t a reliable long-term indicator of wealth or affluence, as a person can ultimately trade their way out of this over time.

These figures are used to generate maps that are detailed to individual street level, based on “small-area statistics”, or pockets of the population of, on average, between 80 and 100 households.