The process of socio-economic constraint on geographical mobility: England 1991 to 2008.

Brian Kelly, University of Manchester

Brian Kelly

Geographic mobility, socio-economic constraint, neighbourhood deprivation

This paper suggests that a life course perspective, together with an understanding of the process of socio-economic constraint, offers a useful theoretical framework for the study of geographic mobility. This understanding is largely missing from current approaches. The aim of this paper is to test the hypothesis that lower socio-economic groups are less likely to move geographical area and more likely to be constrained to areas of higher material deprivation. The analysis uses longitudinal data from all 18 waves of the British Household Panel Survey combined with aggregate ward level Census data within multilevel regression models. The findings provide evidence in support of the hypothesis and for the notion of a process of socio-economic constraint independent of life-cycle. After controlling for age it was found that, over the period of study, individuals from lower income households were less likely to move ward and less likely to move large distances, and there are similar seperate independent effects restricting mobility for those experiencing a decrease in household income during the period. The main conclusion is that an understanding of the process of socio-economic constraint should be central to theoretical and empirical studies of geographic mobility.