Suffolk and North East Essex is a place of diversity and contrasts. It encompasses some of the most advantaged neighbourhoods in England: 17.8% of neighbourhoods in the area are among the 20% most advantaged (least deprived) in the country, in terms of the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).
At the same time, 12.5% of neighbourhoods are among the most deprived 20% in England. These are mainly concentrated in urban areas, particularly Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton, which includes the overall single most deprived neighbourhood in England.
Source: IMD, 2015
Source: Public Health England, 2019
Although deprivation is concentrated in urban areas, it is more widespread. In Suffolk and North East Essex 8.6% of those living in income deprivation live in a rural area – equating to over 10,133 people.
Evidence suggests a long term trend of deepening deprivation across Suffolk and North East Essex.
Between 2010 and 2015, at the local authority level, Suffolk was among the four authorities with the largest increases in deprivation; although between 2015 and 2019 this was a much less significant change.
Deprivation can have an impact across the life course and different groups in the region face particular challenges. Across the districts, 27,400 children live in low income families. In all districts at least 1:10 children experience low income – increasing to almost a quarter of children in Tendring.
In terms of the proportion of older people on low income, 70 neighbourhoods are among the 20% most deprived in England. However, older people on low incomes are not concentrated in particular neighbourhoods and the picture is more complex. Deprivation among older people is widely dispersed and the impact of low income can be amplified by other challenges – such as by covering the costs of travelling to key services. For example, of the 20,919 older people living in the 20% most deprived area, 16.7% (or 3,490) are in a rural area.
The 2010 Marmot Review – Fair Society Healthy Lives – highlights the relationship between deprivation and a wide range of the major health issues such as mental health, cancer, diabetes, obesity, circulatory disease, infant deaths and alcohol-attributable hospital admissions. In Suffolk and North East Essex deprivation is resulting in shorter lives. The charts below show the difference in life expectancy between the most and least deprived. For women, while two districts suggest little difference, for others deprivation potentially reduces life by between around 3 and 8 years. The most deprived men in Suffolk and North East Essex are expected to live between about 3 and 11 years less than the least deprived men.
*For Mid Suffolk males the value cannot be calculated as the
number of cases is too small.
Source: Public Health England, 2019
“People with higher socioeconomic position in society have a greater array of life chances and more opportunities to lead a flourishing life. They also have better health…This link between social conditions and health is not a footnote to the‘real’ concerns with health…it should become the main focus”.
Education is key to improving life chances. In 2017/18 young people in only three of the districts have matched or exceeded average educational achievement at the end of Key Stage 4. Educational achievement in three districts was significantly lower than the national average (Forest Heath, Ipswich and Tendring). Young people from poorer backgrounds are especially disadvantaged. Around a third of pupils who are eligible for free school meals achieve the average attainment level, compared with half of all other pupils.
Percentage achieving average attainment at GCSEs 2016/17*
Source: Department for Education, 2018
*average attainment across 8 subjects
Source: ONS, 2018
The Social Mobility Index estimates the life chances of people from disadvantaged backgrounds based on a range of measures including the quality of local nurseries and schools, household income (free school meals), house prices, wages and employment opportunities. In terms of the overall rank, Babergh, Forest Heath, Ipswich and Tendring are placed inthe lowest 20% for social mobility 29. Other districts rank much higher,suggesting that children and young people’s life chances are significantly different depending on where they live. Employment is the best way to escape and avoid poverty.
Overall employment rates in the area are broadly in line with the average rate for England – in most districts rates are higher than average; in two they are lower. However, across most districts average wages are less than for England. In four districts gross weekly pay is over £30 less than the national average.
Source: Public Health England, 2019 32