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‘Left behind’ neighbourhoods

We define ‘left behind’ areas as places which face the double disadvantage of high deprivation and a lack of social infrastructure.

In 2018, we commissioned OCSI to develop new data analysis to explore the difference that social infrastructure makes to outcomes in deprived communities.

Our experience of the Big Local programme indicated that social infrastructure – defined as  places and spaces to meet, connectivity (physical and digital) and community engagement – is a key determinant of the prospects of neighbourhoods.

This original, foundational, research identified 206 ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods across England. An update in 2020, to take account of changes to the Index of Multiple Deprivation, showed 225 wards falling into this category.

We produced our list of ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods by combining data from two indices –  the Index of Multiple Deprivation and the Community Needs Index (CNI) which we partnered with Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI) to create. This makes it possible to identify those neighbourhoods which face the double disadvantage of being severely deprived and having the least social infrastructure in the country.

‘Left behind’ neighbourhoods are predominantly in post-industrial and coastal areas in the North and the Midlands. Their residents have markedly worse socio-economic outcomes than the residents of other equally deprived areas. This suggests the value and importance of social infrastructure.

Research has found that these doubly disadvantaged neighbourhoods experience greater challenges across a range of life outcomes, including higher rates of poverty, lower educational attainment, and worse population health.

We have continued to collect data and improve the methodology for the research so we can better understand the social, economic and cultural dynamics of doubly disadvantaged neighbourhoods to help develop responses which will enable them to prosper in the future.

How we define 'left behind' places
Developing and refreshing the research
Why we use the term 'left behind'
The APPG for 'left behind' neighbourhoods
Where doubly disadvantaged neighbourhoods can be found
Search a list of 'left behind' areas

Our work on 'left behind' neighbourhoods

'Left behind' neighbourhoods news and opinion