Poverty and lack of opportunity do not affect ethnic groups equally in neighbourhoods in England and Wales according to new research published this week in the Society’s The Geographical Journal. The study uncovers details of neighbourhoods where people in one ethnic group live with high deprivation levels, while those in another ethnic group experience relatively low levels of deprivation.
Deprivation measures have previously focused on all residents in a given residential neighbourhood. Now, a new method measures deprivation in small geographical areas for individual ethnic groups living within those areas.
Professor Christopher Lloyd and Professor Gemma Catney from Queen’s University Belfast led an international team of researchers in creating the robust and novel methodology for uncovering inequalities not only between neighbourhoods, but also among different ethnic groups within those locations.
Their Ethnic Group Deprivation Index (EGDI) uses the latest data from the 2021 Census of England and Wales. The EGDI is a measure of deprivation for neighbourhoods for each individual ethnic group. The EGDI reports deprivation per neighbourhood and per ethnic group for overall deprivation, as well as by its constituent four domains: employment, housing, education, and health. This novel index was developed as part of a £1m Economic and Social Research Council funded project which is exploring the UK’s Geographies of Ethnic Diversity and Inequalities.
Professor Chris Lloyd said: “This newly developed index provides an important tool for understanding the geographies of ethnic inequalities, so that communities living in relative deprivation do not miss out on interventions aimed at reducing poverty. Our research exposes, for the first time, details of stark inequalities between people of different ethnic groups living in the same neighbourhoods. We have had requests from local authorities to share this data and plan to support them in using it to develop effective policies that target the people and places most in need.”
Local authority districts within London were found to have the most marked differences in levels of deprivation between different ethnic groups within individual neighbourhoods. These districts include Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Lambeth. Other areas of England and Wales with particularly significant disparities include Manchester, Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent, and Bristol.
The study highlights the spatial complexity of inequalities, including problems with making generalisations founded on analysis of deprivation only by geographical area or ethnic group, and the need for policy based on evidence that provides greater detail on ethnic inequalities.
The paper is available to read in full in The Geographical Journal here.