Poverty, wealth and place in Britain, 1968 to 2005
Understanding the Transformation of the Prospects of Places
The full report contains detailed results and maps of poverty and wealth across Britain at each time period. To see an example, click here (2Mb JPEG image) for a map of the Breadline Poverty measure 1970-2000 in the West Midlands.* The data for Britain can be downloaded from the downloads page.
- Since 1970, area rates of poverty and wealth in Britain have changed in significant ways. Britain is moving back towards levels of inequality in wealth and poverty last seen more than 40 years ago.
- Over the last fifteen years, more households have become poor, but fewer are very poor. Even though there was less extreme poverty, the overall number of 'Breadline Poor' households increased. This has consistently been above 17% of all households, rising to its highest level of 27% in 2001.
- Areas already wealthy have tended to become disproportionately wealthier, and we are seeing some evidence of increasing polarisation where rich and poor now live further apart. In particular there are now areas in some of our cities where over half of all households are breadline poor.
- There has been slower change in wealth patterns overall, although the 'asset wealthy' slightly reduced in number in the early 1990s. However, the national percentage of asset wealthy households dramatically increased between 1999 and 2003 and, 23% of households are now wealthy in terms of their housing assets
- The general pattern is of increases in social equality during the 1970s, followed by rising inequality in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Changes in the situation since 2000 are less clear; there have been a number of government initiatives that may have promoted limited equalisation. However, these have not significantly reduced the substantial inequalities that grew in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Urban clustering of poverty has been increasing. Wealthy households have similarly concentrated more over time in the outskirts and surrounds of major cities, especially those we classify as 'exclusive wealthy', which have been steadily concentrating around London.
- Both poor and wealthy households have become more and more geographically segregated from the rest of society over the decades.
- 'Average' households (which are neither poor nor wealthy) have been diminishing in number and gradually disappearing from London and the south east.
Figure 1 shows the national percentages for all five types of household around the year 2000. This shows that around 11% of households were Core Poor, and that these formed a proportion of the 27% of households that were breadline poor. About 23% of households were Asset Wealthy, and about a quarter of these (6% of total households) were Exclusive Wealthy.
Figure 1. The percentage of households in each of the five poverty/wealth categories in 2000.
Figure 2. How the national percentages of the wealth and poverty measures changed between 1970 and 2000 (data to calculate the Asset Wealth measure were not available for 1970).
* Geographical boundary data are based on data provided through EDINA UKBORDERS with the support of the ESRC and JISC and use boundary material which is copyright of the Crown
Next page: Conclusions
- Project home
- Background - Poverty and wealth in Britain
- Methods and Data - How we did this research
- Results - What we found
- Conclusions - What this all means
- Download reports and data - Download the project report and datasets, find poverty and wealth information for your area, and view maps of the measures
|SASI Group, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Winter Street, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
Location Maps | Email: Geography@Sheffield.ac.uk | Tel: +44 114 222 7900 | Fax: +44 114 279 7912