A Child Well-Being Index at Small Area Level in England

J. Bradshaw, M. Noble, K. Bloor, M. Huby, D. McLennan, D. Rhodes, I. Sinclair, K. Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article describes the background and methods employed in developing an index of child well-being at small area level for England, the first of its kind. The index uses mainly administrative data on children covering seven domains of well-being: income, health, education, housing, environment, crime and children in need. Indicators are combined at "lower layer super output area" (LSOA) level. There are 32,482 of these geographical areas with populations of around 1,500. The indicators in the domains are combined using shrinkage estimation, and factor analysis is then used to combine indicators, where appropriate, with suitable weights. To combine domains into an overall index of child well-being, domain scores are ranked and the ranks transformed into an exponential distribution, then domains are combined with equal weights. The relationships between the domains are explored using correlation coefficients. An overall index is created at both LSOA and local or unitary authority levels. The results of the index are explored using mapping software and case studies. The strengths and weaknesses of the index are discussed and suggestions are made for improvements in further iterations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-219
Number of pages19
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Child-well being index
  • Small areas

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