People on low incomes trapped in deprived areas

People on low incomes are more likely to live in areas of high material deprivation from which they find it physically difficult to escape, according to a new academic study of geographical mobility from Manchester University.

The analysis uses longitudinal data for England over the period 1991–2008 drawn from the British Household Panel Survey, combined with aggregate ward-level Census data.

Key findings

  • Individuals with low incomes are less likely than others to move greater distances when they are young.
  • If people on low incomes do move ward as they get older, they are much less likely than more affluent individuals to move to less deprived wards.
  • Conversely, individuals with higher incomes are more likely to move greater distances when young; and if they move ward they are much more likely to move to less deprived wards, particularly as they get older.

The author concludes that there is empirical evidence for the existence of a process of geographical socio-economic constraint based on income. An understanding of this process, he says, should be central to the study of geographical mobility and to theories examining the relationship between individuals and local place.

: Brian Kelly, The Process of Socio-Economic Constraint on Geographical Mobility: England 1991 to 2008, Working Paper 2013-08, Centre for Census and Survey Research (University of Manchester)


Publication date: 
Jun 25 2013