Community Profiling essay
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Northampton is a local government district and a relatively large town located in the East Midlands in England. According to the 2011 census, Northampton had an approximate population of about 212.100, which made Northampton the 35th largest urban area in the UK. After World War II, the growth of Northampton was significantly constrained until it was designated as New Town during the 1970s (National Statistics, DCSF, and Land Registry, 2012). At present, the population of Northampton is still growing, and there are underway plans aimed at regenerating the town center. Just like the rest of the UK, industrial employment in Northampton reduced drastically with new employment opportunities emerging in financial services, distribution, and public administration. Saint James Area is one of the core areas found in the Northampton district. Saint James Area lies in the center of Northampton (Northampton County Council, 2010).
Saint James Area has a total population of 12.940 people with the composition being 49.8% and 50.2% for males and females respectively. Saint James Area comprises eight areas with Area A having a population of 1133; Area B having a population of 1346 and being the least deprived; Area C having a population of about 1504; Area D having a population of 1417; Area E having a population of 1485 with most of the housing being terraced; Area F having a population of 1577 with most of the housing being flats rented from the local government and being considered the most deprived one in Saint James Area; Area G having a population of 1346; Area H having a population of 1479; and Area I having a population of 1319 with most of the residents lacking qualifications (Northamptonshire County Council, 2005). With regard to crime, the area leads with the highest crime rate of 22%, whereas Area 3 has the lowest crime rate in Saint James Area (Northamptonshire Observatory, 2012).
With regard to demographics, Saint James Area has a lower percentage (8 percent) of resident citizens aged 18-24 relative to Northampton in its entirety (10 percent), which ranges from about 4 percent in Area C to about 12 percent in Area F. In addition, Saint James Area has a higher percentage (8 percent) of older citizens aged 75 and above than Northampton as a whole (7 percent).
Having provided an overview of Saint James Area, this paper profiles the area with regard to the key themes associated with the national outcomes of deprivation. In the context of this paper, deprivation refers to unmet needs of residents of a particular area, which is caused by scarcity of resources. The states of deprivation are evaluated using 38 indicators that are grouped into seven areas that address the concept of wellness. For the purpose of this paper, the key themes of deprivation that will be addressed will include income deprivation, employment deprivation, educational deprivation, barriers to housing, health deprivation, crime, and living environment deprivation.
According to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), income deprivation measures the fraction of the population who receive (or depend on someone who receives) benefits such as child and working tax credits, guaranteed pension credits, job seekers allowance, and income support. In this regard, the indicators of income deprivation include children and adults in families that receive income support; children and adults in families that receive job seekers allowance; children and families in families that receive pension credit; children and adults in families that receive the Child Tax Credit (these families do not receive income support, job seekers allowance, and pension credit; the equalized income is less than 60% of the median before deducting housing costs); and asylum seekers receiving accommodation and subsistence support.
With regard to income deprivation in Saint James, there are several indicators of lower incomes when compared to the income levels in England. They include:
- About 25 percent of children are entitled to free meals at schools; Saint James Area ranks as the 8th most deprived ward in Oldham and falls under the 20 percent of the most deprived wards in England;
- In Saint James Area, 29.7 percent of children under the age of 16 come from income deprived households, which is more than the 22.4 percent rate in England.
- About one in five individuals (21.6 percent) in Saint James come from income deprived households, which is more than the 15.6 percent rate in entire England.
- In Saint James, 23.7 percent of elderly citizens come from income deprived households, which is higher than the percentage in England (18.3 percent);
- There has been little and insignificant change in the percentage of people in Saint James Area living in income deprived households as measured by the Indices of Deprivation in 2004 (21.0 percent) and 2007 (21.6 percent). This is contrasting with the changes in the Indices of Deprivation for England as a whole during the same period (13.9 percent during 2004 and 15.6 percent during 2007);
- During the period 2004-2007, the percentage of children under the age of 16 living in income deprived families reduced slightly from 31.9 to 29.7, whereas the percentage of elderly individuals from income deprived families increased slightly from 20.8 percent to 23.7 during the same period;
- About 31.4 percent of households in Saint James Area are beneficiaries of the Council Tax Benefit and/or Housing Benefit;
- In terms of the highest percentage of households that benefit from income support, Saint James ranks 8th with 21.4 percent;
- The Employment Support Allowance / the Incapacity Benefit for Saint James Area is 9.2 percent;
It is apparent from these statistics that income deprivation in Saint James is worrying, especially when compared with England as a whole; this is because Saint James Area is lagging behind with regard to improvements in the income deprivation in England. Saint James Area is yet to report steady and substantial improvements as to reducing its Indices of Deprivation, particularly when it comes to income deprivation. With this trend likely to be observed in the foreseeable future, the local government of Saint James Area will continue providing support to income deprived households in the area.
According to the Northamptonshire Observatory (2012), employment deprivation measures the fraction of the working age population (which is often presumed to be 16-64 for men and 15-59 for women) on the claimant count. According to Northampton County Council (2010), the employment domain of deprivation measures individuals who are willing to work; however, they are not able to do so because of unemployment, disability or sickness.
There are a number of indicators for measuring employment deprivation, which include the number of jobseekers allowance claimants (income-based and contribution); incapacity benefit claimants; employment and support allowance claimants; New Deal participants (18-24 years not receiving job seekers allowance); and participants of the New Deal for Lone Parents.
With regard to the measures of income deprivation, Saint James Area has a higher percentage of unemployed individuals (4 percent) relative to the Northampton district as a whole (3 percent). In Area F, the unemployment rate is 10 percent, whereas in other areas such as Area A, Area B, and Area C, unemployment rates are less than 2 percent. This implies that unemployment, economic activity in Saint James Area is not distributed uniformly, which has resulted in disparities in employment/unemployment rates. In addition, 30 percent of unemployed individuals in Saint James Area are aged between 16 and 24, with the unemployment age increasing in some areas, such as Area G. The following are some of the statistics that show the state of employment deprivation in Saint James Area:
- The count rate for unemployment is 5.4 percent, which is the highest in Oldham ward;
- The rate of economic inactivity (31.9 percent) in Saint James is the 10 highest in Oldham;
- The percentage of 16-18 year-olds not in education, training or employment is the highest in Saint James (6.9 percent) as compared to the whole Oldham ward;
- About 38.9 percent of 16-74 year-olds in Saint James lack qualifications, which is relatively more when compared to England as a whole (28.9 percent).
- Saint James is ranked the 8th lowest (9.6 percent) in terms of 16-74 year-olds having attained 4/5 level education; this is less than in the whole England (19.9 percent).
The following table shows the benefits claimants for Saint James Area expressed as a percentage of the working age population as by August 2010:
Any Key Working Age Benefit
Job Seeker Allowance
From this table, a direct inference can be made that Saint James has a higher rate of employment deprivation when compared to both Northampton and England as a whole. A similar trend can also be observed in the case of other indicators for employment deprivation as shown in the table below. From these statistics, there is a drastic need for the local and national governments to adopt policies that will facilitate employment creation. In addition, residents of Saint James should embark on self-employment initiatives in order to address the issue of rising employment deprivation in the area.
Educational deprivation index measures indicators associated with lack of educational and training qualifications among citizens of a particular region. Some of the indicators used for measuring educational deprivation include key stage 2 attainment; key stage 3 attainment; key stage 4 attainment; absence rates for secondary education; higher education entry; adult skills; and continuing with education after 16 years. The following statistics show the state of educational deprivation in Saint James:
- About 38.9 percent of 16-74 year-olds in Saint James lack qualifications; this is more than the average percent for England as a whole (18.9 percent);
- Saint James ranks 8th lowest (9.6 percent) in terms of the fraction of 16-74 year-olds having attained 4/5 education level;
Saint James Area has a relatively high percentage (93.9 percentage) of Oldham school students attaining at least 5 A* to C grade GCSEs.
Barriers to Housing
The primary focus of this domain as a measure of deprivation outcomes is on the number of homeless individuals and other people living in housing facilities deemed unsatisfactory. Some of the indicators for housing deprivation include the extent of homelessness, household overcrowding, affordability of housing, and distance to social facilities such as primary schools and supermarkets/convenience stores. The following are indicators that will be used to assess the extent of the barriers to housing in Saint James (National Statistics, DCSF, and Land Registry, 2012).
- About 7 percent of households in Saint James live in private rented accommodation, which is the 5th highest percentage of households as compared to the Oldham ward’s mean of 5.5 percent;
- Saint James has the 6th highest percentage (47.7 percent) of terraced housing of all the six wards found in Oldham, which is relatively high in relation to Oldham as a whole (41.9 percent);
- There is overcrowding in about 6.7 percent of households in Saint James; this is the 6th highest percentage, despite being relatively lower than the rate of Oldham as a whole (7.2 percent);
- Saint James ranks the second in terms of the percentage of vacant properties with 10.2 percent when compared to Oldham as a whole (5.4 percent);
- About 28 percent of residents of Saint James assert that they cannot afford to keep their accommodation warm during winter, which is more than the Oldham average of 18 percent;
- In terms of satisfaction with accommodation, Saint James has fewer residents (72 percent) who are contented with their places of accommodation than Oldham as a whole (80 percent);
- About 77 percent of households in Saint James have a personal computer at home; however, fewer households have Internet accessibility and a landline phone.
- About 32 percent of residents in Saint James cannot afford to make decent repairs in their homes; this is slightly more than the Oldham average of about 30 percent.
From these statistics, it is evident that the level of housing deprivation in Saint James is relatively higher when compared to Oldham and England as a whole. This implies that Saint James is still lagging with regard to tackling issues contributing to higher housing barriers and the associated indicators of housing deprivation in the area. It is undeniable that the rates of overcrowding and dissatisfaction with accommodation are higher in Saint James, which simply translates that Saint James suffers from higher degrees of housing deprivation relative to other wards in Oldham and England as a whole. Perhaps, the local government should adopt initiatives aimed at reducing the barriers to housing to be in line with the rates of England and Oldham as a whole (Northampton County Council, 2010).
This index measures national deprivation outcomes basing on indicators such as types of violent offense committed, types of burglary offense, types of theft offense, and types of criminal damage offenses. With regard to this model, the following indicators will be used to evaluate the extent of crime in Saint James (Northampton County Council, 2010):
- The percentage of Saint James residents feeling safe outside their residence after dark is 45 percent; this is in line with the Oldham average, which is 46 percent. This implies that safety concerns are uniform across all the wards in Oldham;
- Saint James reports the 7th highest (6.3) crime rate per 1000 population for serious assault with injury; 8th highest rate (22) for serious acquisitive crime; and 9th highest (1.1) for serious violent crime;
- More residents in Saint James than in Oldham as a whole have raised concerns with respect to drug dealership and use (51 percent), vandalism and property damage (36 percent), litter and rubbish being around (65 percent), and loud parties and noisy neighbors (31 percent) when compared to 40 percent, 36 percent, 54 percent, and 20 percent respectively.
- Overall, the most prevalent crimes are antisocial behavior, violent crime, shoplifting, burglary, other theft, and vehicle crime.
From the indicators, a direct inference can be made that Saint James is not a safer place when compared to Oldham as a whole. These high crime rates can be attributed to other deprivation outcomes, particularly employment and education deprivation. Therefore, in order to reduce crime rates in Saint James, efforts should be directed at reducing income and education deprivation levels in the area.
Health deprivation measures the extent to which people’s quality of life has been impaired by either disability or poor health. There are a number of indicators that can be used to measure health deprivation. They include anxiety or mood disorders, acute morbidity, disability ratio, comparative illness, and lost years of potential life. In line of this view, the following are indicators that will be used to evaluate health deprivation in Saint James:
- About 18.1 of all Saint James residents and 10.5 percent of working age individuals in the area have a limiting disability or long-term illness; this is almost in line with Oldham, 20.3 and 10.1 percent respectively;
- Saint James Area has the highest fraction (10.8 percent) of individuals who consider their overall health as “not good” and ranks 6th highest percentage (67.3 percent) of individuals who consider their health as “good”;
- Saint James has the lowest percentage (37 percent) of individuals satisfied with their overall life; this is relatively below the Oldham average of 69 percent;
- In Saint James, the teenage pregnancy rate (44.2 percent) is higher than the national rate of 40.4 percent;
- In Saint James, the mortality rate is almost the same as the national rate of 4.7 percent;
- Life expectancy in Saint James Area for both males and females is less than the national life expectancy rate by 3.5 years and 3.1 years respectively;
From these statistics, it is evident that health deprivation outcomes in Saint James are higher than the national rate. It can be hypothesized that there is a link between other deprivation indices such as education, income, employment, and health deprivation. Just like in the case of crime, it can be inferred that tackling health deprivation issues requires first addressing other indices of deprivation in Saint James Area.
Living Environment Deprivation
Living environment deprivation comprises two subcategories, which include the indoor living environment and the outdoor living environment. The indoor living environment sub-domain assesses the housing quality, whereas the outdoor living environment evaluates the quality of air and the prevalence of traffic accidents. Some of the indicators for measuring the living environment include poor condition housing, housing that lacks central heating, air quality computed using the concentration of pollutants, and the prevalence of road accidents. The economic activity of Saint James Area is relatively low, which implies that the concentration of air pollutants is relatively low.
From the community profile for Saint James Area provided above, it is apparent that the community scores dismally with regard to the variables of deprivation. There are several underlying issues that are the main causes of substantial deprivation in Saint James. This paper has highlighted these problems by reviewing factual data gathered through sub-ward and ward information. Overall, it can be concluded that Saint James Area inclines towards being most deprived, particularly in terms of education, health, employment, income deprivation, and crime.
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