Ferguslie Park in Paisley has been named as the most deprived area in Scotland, according to stark new figures.

The estate, which became known for drug use and crime in the 1990s, topped the list for the second time in a row.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) also reveals that there has been a rise in the number of poverty-stricken zones in almost a dozen council areas over the last four years.

West Dunbartonshire, Midlothian, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire have seen the largest increases.

While Ferguslie Park is Scotland’s most deprived area, Lower Whitecraigs in East Renfrewshire is classed as the least deprived.

Nearly 7,000 small areas have been ranked using employment, income, education, health, crime and housing data.

Professor Nick Bailey, from the University of Glasgow's Urban Studies division, said that the figures also revealed the increased ‘suburbanisation of poverty’, where low income groups are pushed out of inner cities.

The problem has been well-documented in English and American cities, he said, but less so in Scotland.

Living further out can make it harder to find well-paid work or even a job at all, he added.

Glasgow and Edinburgh have both seen thousands of people on lower incomes move from the inner city to the outer boroughs in the last 12 years, he said, in part because of a loss of social housing and cuts to welfare benefits.

“If you took an area that size and cleared it there would be political uproar,” Prof Bailey said.

“But what is happening is so fragmented that (despite some campaign groups highlighting the problem) it is almost passing without comment”.

Patrick Hogan, from Citizens Advice Scotland, said that the map underlined the impact that cycles of poverty could have on individuals and communities.

The CAS has found that ‘poverty can breed poverty’, and that many Scots on lower incomes are forced to pay more for energy, loans and insurance.

He also warned that some poverty could still be hidden, despite the index.

“Rural poverty, for example, is often harder to measure and so can be missed by research like this.”

The leader of Renfrewshire Council Mark Macmillan said that work was underway to improve Ferguslie Park.

But he added that money was needed to improve areas.

"Renfrewshire has seen a 10% real-terms drop in the cash coming our way from Holyrood,” he said.

Alison Johnstone, the Scottish Green MSP, said the figures showed "that communities are being failed by all levels of government.

"We have neighbourhoods where problems have become embedded, and that is a tragedy for every individual affected.”

The Scottish Conservatives accused the SNP of having a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to poverty that was holding the poorest communities back.

The party called for powers to be devolved to towns and cities to allow them to tackle the issue at a local level.

Scottish Communities Secretary Angela Constance said that the map showed a “significant long-term challenge”, exacerbated by UK Government welfare cuts.

She pointed to a £100 million fund designed to protect those on benefits.

But she said that "every pound spent on mitigation measures is a pound less that can be spent on lifting people out of poverty".

“This will not be an easy job while we do not have the full levers of power, but I am determined we take on the challenge of making a generational change for those areas that have been in poverty for too long," she added.