• socio-economic status;
  • indices of deprivation;
  • social inequalities;
  • geographical distribution;
  • spatial factor analysis;
  • Bayesian statistics


In this paper we analyse the geographical distribution of the Indices of Deprivation 2004, a set of seven area-based indices measuring multiple dimensions of socio-economic status (SES) related to income, employment, education, health, access to services and housing, crime, and living environment in England at district level. We first study all the seven SES ‘domains’ separately using spatial hierarchical models to assess the level of underlying geographical structure in each of them. We then explore their joint relationships using a spatial factor model that extracts the information common and specific to the income, employment and education domains and regress the other domains on the extracted components. We use Bayesian inference throughout. Results show that all seven domains present strong spatial structure. The income, employment, education and health domains largely share the same information, which moderately overlaps with the crime and environment domains. The domain on access to services and housing is quite different from the others. The geographical patterns found in the latent common and specific factors are however difficult to interpret without further complementary information. Further investigation is required to identify plausible causal processes related to current economic and regional policies, and also to historic factors and their long-lasting socio-economic legacy. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.