The affluence and deprivation index is used by policymakers to help guide where health centres should be built, where bus routes are needed, or where job-creation programmes should be focused.
It was developed by social and economic consultants Trutz Haase and Jonathan Pratschke and measures 10 key indicators based on information contained in the 2011 census.
They include the proportion of skilled professionals, people with high levels of education, employment, single-parent households and other indicators. The index does not refer to personal wealth, which is not covered in the census.
Haase points out that affluence closely correlates with education, skills and labour market status, which are covered in the census.
He argues that negative equity, for example, is not 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 street level, based on “small-area statistics” that relate to between 80 and 100 households on average.