Rural poverty: The impact of rurality on consumers’ access to food services, using a food poverty risk index

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Background/rationaleNorthern Ireland (NI) has a dispersed population, with 38% of citizens living in rural populations (NISRA, 2015). Geographically dispersed populations induce low levels of consumer demand which in turn yield a number of secondary characteristics including limited service provisions (Connolly et al, 2012), leaving depopulated rural areas with service provision inadequacies (O’Shea, 2009). The issues of food poverty are significant in NI. Approximately, 1/5 of households live in poverty with relative poverty rates showing to be marginally higher in rural areas (Department for Communities, 2017). Given that rural households in NI account for the highest proportion of households with children, pensioners and self-employed, rural dwellers should not be readily disregarded (Department for Communities, 2017).AimThe research aims to map and identify at risk areas that would benefit from a food poverty/food access intervention. It uses an innovative methodology of combining food poverty indicators with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping to create a Food Poverty Risk Index.MethodologyData collection adopts a mixed-methods design integrating both quantitative and qualitative data sources. The target population is rural dwellers within NI. The research will systematically investigate and plot variables to identify and map areas of high deprivation in rural NI. Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders will investigate and sense check the appropriateness of preliminary mapping. Findings will be targeted to support organisations – retailers; public health stakeholders and government policy officials – of potential pilot sites for targeted interventions.ResultsThe results of the pilot study mapping at-risk areas will be presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherKing's College London
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2018
EventMulti-disciplinary research conference on food and poverty in the UK: Taking stock, moving forward - King's College, London
Duration: 21 Mar 2018 → …


ConferenceMulti-disciplinary research conference on food and poverty in the UK: Taking stock, moving forward
Period21/03/18 → …



  • Food poverty
  • food poverty risk index
  • food access
  • rural

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