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Reducing inequalities means giving everyone the same opportunities to lead a healthy and fulfilling life, no matter where they live or who they are. Currently, in England, people living in the least deprived areas of the country live around 20 years longer in good health than people in the most deprived areas. Inequalities exist across a range of dimensions, such as socio-economic deprivation and personal characteristics like age and sex.
Herefordshire has, on average, relatively low levels of overall, multiple deprivation and a relatively low proportion of children living in income deprived households (14% compared to 20% across England) - but this still equates to 4,300 children living in poverty across the county. Around 1,900 county school children are eligible for free school meals.
Herefordshire is one of England's most rural counties and rural areas pose different types of challenges for the people who live there compared to urban areas. Nationally, more emphasis is often given to urban inequalities, not least as across England the majority of the population live in urban areas, but also our common measure of deprivation (the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation is known to be skewed towards identifying deprivation in an urban context. Rural deprivation looks very different. In rural areas, the most common types of deprivation relate to housing and physical access to services. Furthermore, deprivation can be a hidden feature of rural communities as it is often dispersed amongst more affluent households. Within even the most affluent areas, there can be pockets of real hardship, ill health and inequality. These themes are explored in detail in the Director of Public Health's Annual Report, which can be viewed via 'useful links'.
Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)
To measure relative deprivation the Office for National Statistics (ONS) use fixed statistical geographies of about 1,500 people called Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs). In 2015, 12 LSOAs in Herefordshire were among the 25% most deprived nationally; four more than in 2010. The most deprived areas of the county are in the south of Hereford city and Leominster.
Deprivation in your area
Disadvantaged families are scattered around the county but the most deprived areas are all either in the Hereford city or the market towns of Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and Bromyard. ‘Golden Post - Newton Farm’ remains the most deprived area in the county – the only one to be in the 10% most deprived nationally.
People born in the most deprived ten per cent of areas in Herefordshire have a shorter life expectancy at birth than those living in the least deprived ten per cent by an average of 3.9 years for males and an average of 2.6 years for females.
Despite having a relatively small proportion of children from deprived backgrounds, Herefordshire is amongst worst 20% of local authorities in England in terms of the chances that they will do well at school and go on to get a good job and secure housing. The key driver of Herefordshire’s poor social mobility is low wages.