Developing a Deprivation Index

Posted on December 2, 2009 in Governance Debates, Social Security Debates – Blog – Developing a Deprivation Index
Posted on December 2nd, 2009

The provincial government will be releasing its report today on Year One of the poverty reduction strategy.  One of the measures that will be used to track progress on poverty reduction will be announced with it – the Ontario Deprivation Index (ODI).

The first of its kind in Canada, a deprivation index looks at a list of items that are commonly seen as necessary to have a standard living above the poverty level. It is a list items that most people would take for granted, and yet a substantial percentage of people and families in Ontario simply can’t afford.

The Ontario Deprivation Index was developed by Daily Bread Food Bank and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. We have released a report called Developing a Deprivation Index – The Research Process.

Michael Oliphant and Richard Matern of Daily Bread, along with Michael Mendelson of the Caledon Institute, used an innovative community-based research process to identify items for a deprivation index. Through focus groups led by these community researchers who themselves have experience with what it means to live in poverty, Daily Bread and the Caledon Institute  tested a list of 29 items for a deprivation index , then refined  the list to 10 items.  Statistics Canada, under sponsorship from the Ontario government, then conducted a survey of approximately 10,000 Ontario households to create the new measure. Those 10 items that are now a part of the Ontario Deprivation Index will be used by the Ontario government to help measure poverty in the province.

To get an idea of how the deprivation index, ask yourself if you are able to afford:

1. Being able to get dental care if needed.
2. Replacing or repairing broken electrical goods such as a stove or toaster.
3. Being able to buy modest presents for family/friends at least once per year.
4. Having appropriate clothes for job interviews.
5. Having friends of family over for a meal at least once a month.
6. Access to fresh fruit and vegetables every day.
7. Being able to get around your community, either by having a car or in a larger centre a monthly buss pass or equivalent.
8. Hobby or leisure activity.
9. Access to meat, fish or vegetarian equivalent at least every other day.
10. Having a home or apartment free of pests, such as cockroaches, bedbugs and mice.

To find out more about the research process, please click on The Deprivation Index: The Research Process and Testing the Validity of the Ontario Deprivation Index or find both of them in our publications section at

Thanks to Michael, Richard and Michael, as well as all the community-based researchers for the phenomenal work on this project.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 at 12:00 am and is filed under Governance Debates, Social Security Debates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Developing a Deprivation Index”

  1. Devendra says:

    Please keep thonriwg these posts up they help tons.


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