New Internationalist

Social deprivation in riot hotspots – The Facts

Correlation is not causation, so we’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Social deprivation and the 2011 riots: an infographic

Explanation and sources

The graphic above shows the level of child poverty and joblessness in some of the areas which saw the most rioting from the sixth to the tenth of August according to the Guardian’s record of incidents, with the exception of Witney and Westminster which are included for contrast. (Westminster’s constituency does include some poorer areas as well as the City of London). This choice was not scientific, and shows some of the areas that have the most child poverty, excluding others such as Ealing and Enfield. A complication of this exercise is that deprivation varies significantly within the areas shown, and that the location of incidents doesn’t tell us where people have come from. For example, most of the incidents reported in Bristol took place in the Bristol West constituency, where child poverty is less than half as widespread as in Bristol South.  

Children are legally defined as living in poverty if their household’s income is 60 percent below the national average (the median, to be precise). The percentage of children living in these households comes from an End Child Poverty report, and apply to the parliamentary constituencies shown next to the national map, and the (unbracketed) local authorities shown next to the London map.

The figures for cuts show the reduction in local authorities’ estimated ‘revenue spending power’ between fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12, and come from the Guardian’s Data Blog. The figures for constituencies’ unemployment rates and their number of Job Seekers’ Allowance claimants come from the Office for National Statistics. The more JSA claimants, the darker the blue on the map of London. I found many of these sources through

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Like most of what we publish online, this image is licensed as creative commons, so do share it as you wish, linking back to this page if you can. If you’d like to include it on your own website you can do so via Flickr. The map of London is crown copyright, and the UK map is by Ras52 [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Comments on Social deprivation in riot hotspots – The Facts

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  1. #1 GLGLGL 11 Aug 11

    Is there a way you could include information about proximity to wealthier areas. If inequality rather than poverty is a cause, you might expect this to be relevant.

  2. #2 Tom Ash 11 Aug 11

    ’Is there a way you could include information about proximity to wealthier areas. If inequality rather than poverty is a cause, you might expect this to be relevant.’

    That's an interesting suggestion. Child poverty as defined above is a function of income distribution rather than absolute poverty, but that doesn't take into account how close people are to wealthy areas. It seems possible that would have some impact by making inequality more visible. I've seen people point to widening inequality as a result of the super-rich getting richer, but perhaps the answer lies closer to home, with the relative wealth of the nearby middle class. I'll see what data I can find on this, although the only thing that springs to mind are the maps of London at the ONS like the one I used.

  3. #3 RedJess 11 Aug 11

    The riots in Bristol happened in St. Paul's, St. Werburgh's and Stokes Croft... not South Bristol, where the child poverty statistic comes from. Child poverty in S. Bristol is terrible, with some of the poorest areas in the UK (right next to some wealthy areas) but this is NOT where the riots happened. This map is misleading and needs more research.

  4. #4 Carlos M 11 Aug 11

    This is how fascism and dictatorship starts!

  5. #5 penguin 11 Aug 11

    [a href=’’]Another infographic on the riots.

  6. #6 Tom Ash 12 Aug 11

    Thanks RedJess, I've made that correction. I've restored a disclaimer to the text saying that the areas are cherry-picked, and made the point that while we know where people went to, we don't know where they came from. Do you have any insight into this for Bristol?

  7. #7 ciderpunx 12 Aug 11

    I compared the reported costs of the cleanup with MPs expenses in my one [a href=’’]MPs or rioters, who is the bigger ’looter’?

  8. #8 Graham 12 Aug 11


    JRF published an interesting piece of [a href=’’]research on economic segregation in England.

    But I'm not convinced that your suggestion that proximity would be especially relevant. If you're a poor person, you don't have to live new rich people to see inequality. You just have to read the papers, watch the telly, go online, or listen to the radio to realise that top footballers, pop-stars, 'leaders' of industry, politicians, etc live in a completely different world where they want for nothing.

    I think an underlying assumption you have made in the relevance of proximity is that poorer people get angry when they see this inequality. I don't think that's correct - I think they see it every day. I suspect it's the rich people that don't see the inequality, because they have segregated themselves from poorer elements of society. Then the richer people are surprised that poorer people are:
    a. Exist at all.
    b. Angry about things.

    My tuppence anyway.

  9. #11 beverleybaxter 14 Aug 11

    Rob a bank and you get 10 years The Bank robs you and they get a seven figure pension.

    Factors that contribute to rioting are population size, the breakdown of respect for social order, poverty, the lack of opportunities for personal advancement and Debt.

    Today the people that led the world into debt by their corrupt practises within the Banking, Insurance, and Financial sector have been reappointed by President Obama to head his financial team. No one has been brought to justice for the debt all the world is now paying and rioting about.

    All the banks had AAA status just before they collapsed from Standard and Poor the same people who have just downgraded USA economy?

    University Professors who advised the governments were working without declaring their paid interest for these corrupt banks etc. just before the crash.

    If you check the facts you will find a transfer of wealth from the poorest to the top one percent and these crooks are still running all our economies.
    This was achieved by getting companies like standard and poor to give false assessments of bad debt which was then sold to our pension funds as triple A.
    Whilst ever these crooks go unpunished and are rewarded by huge golden handshakes and top government jobs, riots will get worse.

    We all have a remedy it is our vote and a free press.
    Make sure you give your vote wisely and all the politicians who supported crooked bankers, insurance companies, are swept from power.
    To the press it is time to expose these crooks. Name and Shame

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