School of Population Health

Deprivation and Health Geography within NZ

New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)


Index of Multiple Deprivation

The New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is a set of tools for identifying concentrations of deprivation in New Zealand. It measures deprivation at the neighbourhood-level in custom designed data zones that have an average population of 712. Data zones are aggregations of census meshblocks (approximately 8 meshblocks per data zone) and in urban settings they are just a few streets long and a few streets wide. They are designed to produce better small area information without losing their contents to suppression/confidentiality.

The IMD uses routinely collected data from government departments, census data and methods comparable to current international deprivation indices to measure different forms of disadvantage. It is comprised of 28 indicators grouped into seven domains of deprivation: Employment, Income, Crime, Housing, Health, Education and Access to services. The IMD is the combination of these seven domains, which may be used individually or in combination to explore the geography of deprivation and its association with a given health or social outcome. Figure 1 shows the IMD’s 28 indicators and seven domains with their weightings.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation was developed by the IMD team: Dr Daniel John Exeter, Dr Jinfeng Zhao, Dr Sue Crengle, Dr Arier Chi Lun Lee and Michael Browne, with help and support from numerous individuals and organisations.


Figure 1. Developing the NZ Indices of Multiple Deprivation: An overview of indicators, domains and weights. Adapted from Figure 4.2 SIMD 2012 Methodology, in Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2012. Edinburgh: Scottish Government (Crown copyright 2012).

The IMD provides a richer more nuanced view of area level deprivation in New Zealand. Our vision is for the IMD and the data zones to be widely used for community advocacy, research, policy and resource allocation, providing a better measurement of area deprivation in New Zealand, improved outcomes for Māori, equity of service provision, and a more consistent approach to reporting and monitoring the social climate of New Zealand.

  • The New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation: IMD 2013 (1204 KB, MS Excel)

    Downloadable spreadsheet of the IMD with the usual resident population (URP) of data zones, 3 geographic boundary types, overall deprivation and 7 separate domains. There are also 7 versions of the index with one domain removed, to avoid circularity in analyses that focus on one of the domains.

  • The New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation: IMD 2013 (61 MB, ArcGIS shapefile)

Downloadable ArcGIS shapefile of the IMD with the usual resident population (URP) of data zones, 3 geographic boundary types, overall deprivation and 7 separate domains. There are also 7 versions of the index with one domain removed, to avoid circularity in analyses that focus on one of the domains.


Interactive maps of deprivation in New Zealand

Use interactive maps to zoom into an area of interest to see its deprivation profile, filter by a particular level of deprivation, compare neighbourhoods or explore different dimensions of deprivation.


New Zealand data zones

The New Zealand land mass was divided into 5958 small areas called data zones (DZ). The population of the DZs ranges from 501 to 999 with an average population of 712, with the exception of one DZ representing all of Stewart Island (total population of 384) and 10 large DZs with populations between 1,381 and 1,899 (mostly comprising a single Meshblock).


Reports and publications  

A brief report on development of the New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). (754 kB, PDF)

A compilation of 20 deprivation and demographic profiles of New Zealand's District Health Boards (DHB) using the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) and the 2013 Census (9 MB, PDF) 


Organisations that contributed to the development of the IMD

The research team are grateful to the Health Research Council of New Zealand for funding this research project. This research would not have been possible without the provision of data, expert guidance and support of many individuals and the following organisations: Accident Compensation Corporation, Action on Smoking and Health, Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoa, ANZ Bank, ASB Bank, Association of Public Library Managers Inc., Auckland Uniservices Ltd, Auckland University of Technology, Beacon Pathway, BNZ Bank, BRANZ, Child Poverty Action Group, COMET Auckland, Counties-Manukau DHB, Department of Corrections, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Association, Family Start, Federated Farmers, Heart Foundation, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Inland Revenue, Kiwibank, Leeds University, Maritime NZ, Massey University, Ministries of Business, Innovation and Employment, Education, Health, Justice and Social Development, National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, Northland DHB, New Zealand Certified Builders Association, NZ Fire Service, NZ-Libs, NZ Police, NZ Post, NZ Racing Board, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Ollivier & Company, Otago University, Participants in the Feb 2014 and Feb 2017 hui, Pharmac, Plunket, Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Trust, Problem Gambling Foundation, Salvation Army, St John's Ambulance, Southern African Social Policy Research Institute, Statistics New Zealand, TSB Bank, Tairāwhiti DHB, Te Kāhui Mana Ririki TrustTe Kupenga Hauora MāoriTe Matapihi he tirohanga mō te iwi Trust (National Maori Housing Trust), Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Hine, Te Wānanga o AotearoaTe Whānau O Waipareira Trust, Telco2 Ltd, Tenancy Tribunal, University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, University of Otago, University of Oxford, Waikato University, Waitemata DHB, Wellington Free Ambulance, Westpac Bank, and Woopa Design.