The Belgian Index of Multiple Deprivation provides a multidimensional view on social deprivation in Belgium, integrating 6 domains – education, employment, income, housing, crime, and health. It provides a robust basis for assessing social inequalities in health and other outcomes.
To date, education, occupation or income have been the most commonly used proxies for measuring a socioeconomic deprivation in demographic and population health research. Their use has strong limitations and often leads to inconsistent results. Above all, the simple measures of socioeconomic deprivation do not take into account the multidimensionality of deprivation, but only offer a narrow perspective. The Belgian Index of Multiple Deprivation (BIMD) is designed to address this limitation.
The BIMD is a relative measure of deprivation, and is computed at the level of the statistical sector, the smallest administrative level in Belgium. Based on the BIMD score, each statistical sector is ranked from the most to the least deprived. For a more sparse view, the ranks are furthermore grouped into deciles, with the first decile comprising the 10% most deprived statistical sectors.
The index follows a well-established methodological framework, and is based on a weighted combination of the 6 key domains of social deprivation – education, employment, income, housing, crime, and health. The indicators underlying these domains are derived from population-wide data sources, such as the Belgian census. Their selection is based on the premises that deprivation refers to unmet needs, which are caused by a lack of access to resources, not only the material ones (housing, employment, etc.) but also the social (rights associated with employment, personal safety, or healthcare).
The BIMD scores, ranks and decile, both for the overall index as for the 6 underlying domains, is available for download.