By Daniel Hunter

Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis has considered levels of deprivation in larger English seaside destinations, which may have once thrived on seaside resort tourism.

There is a perception that these economies have declined and are enduring high levels of deprivation as a result of people going on holiday abroad rather than in England. The perceived extent of their decline is so great that during the 2010 election campaign, all three major political parties discussed the problems facing British seaside settlements.

The results of the ONS analysis revealed that there were higher levels of deprivation in 2010 than the deprivation measure for England on average. The larger seaside destinations with the highest average deprivation levels were Blackpool, Clacton and Hastings.

The results showed that levels of deprivation in seaside destinations were higher than the levels of deprivation for England on average in 2010. In England overall, 20% of areas were in the most deprived group whereas the level for larger English seaside destination was found to be 26.9%. The deprivation level stayed relatively stable compared with 2007, rising from 26.0%.

The results showed that 25 of the 31 larger English seaside destinations had higher levels of deprivation than the measure for England on average. We can see in the chart above the figure for England and the figures for all larger seaside destinations taken together.

The six seaside destinations with lower levels of deprivation were Christchurch, Lytham St Annes, Poole, Worthing, Southport and Bognor Regis. However the results also showed that the proportion of small areas in the most deprived group varied greatly across destinations. For instance, Christchurch had 3.7% of small areas in the deprived group, whereas Margate and Hartlepool had 50%.

There were even large differences in the levels of deprivation faced by seaside destinations which are adjacent to each other. Blackpool was the most deprived larger English seaside destination yet it borders Lytham St Annes which had the second lowest deprivation level. We can see in the chart below the spread of deprivation for the larger English seaside destinations that had the highest and lowest percentage of areas within the most deprived group.

The overall measure of deprivation for seaside destinations increased from 26.0% in 2007 to 26.9% in 2010, both greater than the England figure of 20%. There were noticeable differences across the domains. The 'Health deprivation and disability' domain was the most deprived aspect of deprivation for seaside destinations in 2010, at 34.9% whereas the 'Barriers to housing and services' domain was the least deprived at 10.6%. The 'Employment deprivation' domain was the second most deprived, as 32.2% of areas within the larger seaside destinations were in the most deprived group.

The seaside destinations have been defined using small areas known as Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs). Each destination was comprised of 25-152 LSOAs. These seaside destinations can be analysed by taking these small areas and putting them into five equal sized groups (quintiles) based on how deprived the small areas are. The proportion of deprived LSOAs for England overall is 20%, therefore if there are more than 20% deprived LSOAs then the seaside deprivation level is higher than the overall measure for England.

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