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South Dunedin is the poorest area in Otago, and Sandymount, on the Otago Peninsula, is the richest, the latest Ministry of Health study on socioeconomic deprivation shows.
The study, based on 2006 census data, used measures such as income, home ownership, family support, employment, qualifications and transport to measure deprivation in New Zealand.
South Dunedin was the third most deprived area in the South Island, following Milford and Crinan, Invercargill.
Sandymount was the least deprived area in Dunedin and the South Island.
Saddle Hill and Kaikorai Hill are among the richest areas, along with Glenleith, Fairfield, Taieri, Wingatui, Outram, Wyllies Crossing, Vauxhall, St Leonards-Blanket Bay, Company Bay and Macandrew Bay.
The study again showed the Queenstown Lakes district is populated by people who live mainly in areas with higher incomes and higher levels of employment, with only one area, Queenstown Bay, scoring a decile rating of five or higher.
The decile system works in the opposite way to the school system.
A rating of 1 indicates an area among the 10% least deprived in New Zealand and 10 indicates an area in the 10% most deprived in the country.
The more deprived areas, South Dunedin, North Dunedin, Corstorphine West, Caledonian, St Kilda Central and Forbury, had historically been poorer.
Methodist Connect general manager Laura Black said the South Dunedin result did not surprise her.
Deprivation issues in South Dunedin were the same as they had been historically and the issues were generational and entrenched.
There were low income, low educational outcomes and high unemployment in the area.
This led to health issues, because of a poor diet and inadequate housing.
South Dunedin also had some of the highest rents in the city with people "trapped" because they believed they would not be able to find anywhere else to rent.
Change would be slow in the area unless a long-term plan to address generational issues was implemented, she said.
People were slow to invest in South Dunedin, with community assets, such as a South Dunedin library, taking time to establish.
Ministry deputy director-general, health and disability systems strategy, Deborah Roche said it was the third time the index had been released.
In the past, it had been used to monitor inequalities across the health system, using a range of indicators including hospital admissions, morbidity and mortality.
It was also widely used to assess district health board funding.
Presbyterian Support Otago chief executive Gillian Bremner said the service was set to release a report on life below the poverty line in Dunedin later this year which would support the index.
Trends emerging so far showed there was much desperation, isolation and exclusion in Dunedin for people living in poverty.
The index was based on 2006 figures and times had become much harder in the two years since, she said.
Deprivation was because of increased costs of staple items.
People on tight budgets had very little scope to accommodate such rises.
Otago's most and least deprived areas
Most deprived (with decile in brackets): Orana Park (8), Oamaru North (8), Oamaru Central (7).
Least deprived: Cape Wanbrow (1), Ardgowan (1), Pukeuri (2).
Most deprived: South Dunedin (10), Otago University (10), North Dunedin (9).
Least deprived: Sandymount (1), Kaikorai Hill (1), Saddle Hill (1).
Most deprived: Queenstown Bay (5), no others five or above.
Least deprived: Wakatipu (1), Lake Hayes (1), Kelvin Heights (1).
Most deprived: Milton (8), Clinton (8), Benhar (8).
Least deprived: Tuapeka (3), Clutha (3), Bruce (3).
Central Otago District
Most deprived: Naseby (5), Alexandra (5).
Least deprived: Dunstan (1), Maniototo (3), Clyde (4).