Linking Social Deprivation and Digital Exclusion in England

Abstract

This paper develops a cross-classification of material deprivation and lack of digital engagement, at a far more spatially disaggregated level than has previously been attempted in the UK. This is achieved by matching the 2004 Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) with a unique nation-wide geodemographic classification of ICT usage, aggregated to unit postcodes. The results of the cross-classification suggest that lack of digital engagement and material deprivation are linked, with high levels of material deprivation generally associated with low levels of engagement with ICTs and vice versa. However, some neighbourhoods are `digitally unengaged’ but not materially deprived and the paper investigates the extent to which this outcome may be linked to factors such as lack of confidence, skills or motivation. As with material deprivation, there are distinctive regional and local geographies of digital unengagement and these have important implications for digital policy implementation.

Publication
Urban Studies

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