Neighbourhood change and trajectories of inequality in Britain, 1971-2011


This brief offers evidence on the evolution of spatial inequalities in Britain over a 40-year period from 1971 to 2011. It examines the extent, sequence, pace and spatial pattern of neighbourhood change. Key findings reveal considerable decline in the number of struggling neighbourhoods in Scotland between 1971-2011; blue collar family neighbourhoods have practically disappeared; and, affluent and multiculturally diverse neighbourhoods have largely remained unchanged. Struggling neighbourhoods have consistently been more prevalent in northern regions encompassing North West, North East England and Scotland, while thriving and affluent neighbourhoods have prevailed in southern regions across London, South East and South West England. Blue collar family neighbourhoods disappeared across all British regions after 1991, and were replaced mainly by older striving and mixed suburban workers. The number of struggling neighbourhoods have declined in Scotland, with a corresponding rise in the number of thriving and affluent neighbourhoods, reflecting the rapid growth of the Scottish economy in the mid-1980s.

Policy Brief for the UK2070 UK Commission
Francisco Rowe
Francisco Rowe
Professor of Population Data Science

My research interests include human mobility and migration; economic geography and spatial inequality; geographic data science.