Carstairs Deprivation Index for Scottish Postcode Sectors, 1991

Area deprivation scores have been used for many purposes, particularly analysis for healthcare services. The Carstairs Index for the 1981 Census of Scotland, developed by Vera Carstairs and Russell Morris in their book Deprivation and Health in Scotland, was considered a benchmark index. For more information about how the Carstairs index was derived, see: 

  • "Which deprivation? A comparison of selected deprivation indexes," by Russell Morris and Vera Carstairs, Journal of Public Health Medicine Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 318-326. 
  • "Deprivation and Health in Scotland" by Carstairs and Morris, Health Bulletin Vol. 48 No. 4 (July, 1990) pp. 162-175.

These data were based on the Carstairs and Morris 1981 definitions, adapted from the extraction programs for 1991 English wards by Peter Lee, University of Birmingham. The index is based on Z scores of the following four person-level variables from the 1991 Census Local Base Statistics: male unemployment, households with no car, overcrowding (over 1 person per room), and head of household's social class categories IV and V. Note the dataset provides the raw scores and that they need to be converted into the 1-7 index according to the pre-defined categories. See article above.

Spatial Coverage: 
Data Creator: 
Donald Morse
Robin Rice
Time Period: 



Catalog description and readme file. Data dictionary (variable descriptions) may be derived from system file.



File Descriptions: 

There are three files for each of the 12 Scottish regions (Borders, Central, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Grampian, Highland, Lothian, Strathclyde, Tayside, Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles):

  • *.sps is the SPSS command file that produced the SPSS system file.
  • *.sav is the SPSS system file that includes the Carstairs score as one of the columns.
  • *.spo is just a frequency set produced during the running of the *.sps file.



File Storage: 

Written to CD-ROM 7/1/99. Also stored on UCS-services_censusCarstairs91. (The latter also includes a readme file and *.cmd SASPAC files used to extract the original Census data.)


SPSS system file. Scores can be provided in SPSS portable, ASCII, or spreadsheet format as well.

Data Access: 

Users must register before receiving a copy of data files. Edinburgh University users may contact the Data Library for access.