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Research project

Social and spatial mobility within and across generations

Project overview

Persistent inequalities exist in individuals' propensities to move across space and to move up, or down, the social hierarchy. This research investigates how patterns of spatial mobility are changing, the trends in socio-economic mobility and the complex link between spatial and social mobility.

The project uses data from censuses and longitudinal studies along with linked data from the NHS Central Register, to investigate persistent and emerging inequalities within and between generations. This research will be supplemented by analysis of Understanding Society COVID-19 waves, providing insights into how the pandemic has shaped patterns and processes of spatial and social mobility.

The work provides new evidence for the 'place' agenda and policy interventions aimed at 'levelling up'. It 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.

This research project is funded through the ESRC Centre for Population Change Connecting Generations, directed by Professor Jane Falkingham. This project is led by Dr David McCollum (University of St Andrews) with Professor David Bell (University of Stirling).


Lead researcher

Professor Jane Falkingham

VP Engagement and International

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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