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Spatial segregation and the economic mobility of the poor

  • Start date: 04 April 2011
  • End date: 03 June 2011

Whether households and families can escape poverty neighbourhoods is a fundamental question of social equity. To the extent that some families become "locked in" to particular neighborhoods may emphasise the downward spiral of some localities with the great difficulties which follow of trying to upgrade these neighborhoods.

Thus which families are able to move and improve their lives and which families are "locked in" to their neighbourhoods is a central question which is at the heart of policy responses to neighbourhood effects.

This project is designed to improve our understanding of residential mobility in the context of local places and their characteristics. There have been experimental attempts to measure the outcomes of residential mobility in the United States.

The research on whether households gain from these moves has been inconclusive. At least one argument about the relative paucity of research information is that the surveys have been over a relatively short time interval. The long term, nearly two decade run, of the British Household Panel Study provides an important research data base to realistically evaluate the role of residential mobility in creating social change.

The overall aim of this project will be to examine whether residential mobility results in upward social mobility for poor households and, assuming this is the case, how such effects compare with middle and higher income households.