Archive for the ‘Housing Benefit’ Category

A treemap representing the amount spent on Housing benefit

November 14, 2010

A colleague and I recently requested “Housing benefit cost data for every local authority within the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and NI), including the amount per local authority broken down into local authority and private properties per local authority. Specifically the maximum, minimum, mean, median, quartile 1, quartile 3, 10th percentile and 90th percentile for each local authority and private properties within each local authority.” via a Freedom of Information request of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Of course, now housing benefit, well all benefits, are in the news so this is almost timely (maybe a few weeks out, but I have been really busy with my day job!)

The response to our request was “As you have specifically requested cost information by the mean, median, quartile 1, quartile 3, 10th percentile and 90th percentile we have interrogated our databases and produced the attached analysis which is based on weekly award of Housing Benefit at March 2010. Further information on Housing Benefit is available on the DWP website at: . In addition, Housing Benefit expenditure by local authority is available at:

The information you requested for maximum and minimum is being withheld as it falls under the exemption in section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act. This exemption covers personal information about a third party and if provided could lead to a reasonable chance of individual claimants and their families being identified. This would breach the families’ right to privacy contrary to the Data Protection Act. ”

We thought it might be interesting to view this data as a treemap, it gives a good overview of the data allowing you to explore different areas and see which have the highest and lowest claims at each level. Each box represents the average weekly amount of housing benefit for the specified area, in sterling.

As before, I have produced the visualisation in Processing utilising the functionality I learnt about in Ben Fry’s book Visualising data. You can see my other example of a treemap here.