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2011 Townsend Material Deprivation Score


The Townsend Material Deprivation score was originally devised by Townsend et al (1988). It is based on the following four Census variables:

  1. Percent of households without access to a car (car)
  2. Percent of households with more than one person per room (ppr)
  3. Percent of households not owner-occupied (ten)
  4. Percent of individuals who are economically active unemployed (eau)

The four domains above are then combined to produce the overall Townsend Score. This score can be calculated for any geographical area that is available in the Census tables, for example LSOA, MSOA, Ward, LAD, etc.

Because of the way the score is combined, only the relative rank of the scores is meaningful. In practice, this means it is possible to say an area is more or less deprived than another, but not what ‘amount’ of deprivation it experiences. For this reason it is common to create a score based on a national dataset. This script uses data from England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland tables were not available at the time of original publication (February 2014)). Thus, the scores reflect the relative deprivation of an area based on similar areas in England and Wales.


townsendr: Townsend Material Deprivation Score copyright © 2014-2016 Phil Mike Jones -

This programme is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This programme is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this programme. If not, see



philmikejones at gmail dot com (no spaces)

Thanks and acknowledgements

Thanks to Robin Lovelace for having a once-over of the script and his suggestions.