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  • Project contributors: McCollum D, Bell D, Dulout G,

    This Project is part of the following research programme/s:

    Connecting Generations

    Migration and Mobility


    Considerable and persistent inter- and intra-generational inequalities exist in individuals' propensities to move across space and to move up (or down) the social hierarchy. There is recent evidence of declining rates of spatial mobility amongst higher socio-economic groups and hyper-residential mobility for some more marginalised groups. At the same time social mobility has stalled, particularly amongst younger generations, especially those lacking access to inter-generational transfers of wealth and other support. These inequalities are being exacerbated by the current health crisis and its economic consequences alongside the economic fallout of Brexit.

    In this project, we use data from censuses and longitudinal studies (ONS LS, SLS and NILS), along with linked data from the NHS Central Register, to investigate persistent and emerging inequalities within and between generations. The research investigates how patterns of spatial mobility are changing, the trends in socio-economic mobility and the complex nexus between spatial and social mobility. The work provides new evidence for the 'place' agenda policy interventions aiming at 'levelling up'. This research will be supplemented by analysis of the recent Understanding Society COVID-19 waves, providing insights into how the pandemic has shaped patterns and processes of spatial and social mobility.

    This research is of interest to stakeholders such as the Social Mobility Commission, Sutton Trust, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and the Centre for Cities, as well as relevant development agencies in large cities and private, public and third sector organisations involved in the UK's City Deals. It will allow them to better target efforts to attract specific population sub-groups to particular types of places as a catalyst for economic growth. The post-Covid 19 landscape will likely result in new relations between place of work, place of residence and career progression, on which this research will be able to inform policy and business decisions.

    This research project is led by Dr David McCollum.