Income and Population Dynamics in Deprived Neighbourhoods: Measuring the Poverty Turnover Rate Using Administrative Data
Many studies of neighbourhood deprivation have confirmed that there is more continuity than change in the geography of deprivation. This stable geography can lead to an unwarranted inference that the households living on low incomes in these areas comprise a relatively static population. This paper develops the use of administrative data for the longitudinal observation of low income families in small areas, which is underdeveloped despite the widespread use of administrative data in the cross-sectional measurement of neighbourhood deprivation. An empirical measure of local poverty dynamics - the poverty turnover rate – is introduced, and created for small areas using housing benefit data for the city of Oxford between 2010 and 2014. A high turnover of poor families is observed and the poverty turnover rate is able to identify small areas with higher and lower turnover rates than the average for the city. The high turnover rates discovered in this study suggest that in this city it is primarily the flows of people in and out of the area, and in and out of low income, that maintains the concentration of poor families, rather than a static population of poor families. This approach can be used to provide a richer understanding of the population and income dynamics that underpin stability and change in the geography of poverty, of use to regeneration policy and the academic studies of gentrification, health inequalities and neighbourhood effects.
KeywordsPoverty Neighbourhood Income dynamics Residential mobility Administrative data Deprivation
The author is very grateful to two anonymous referees who provided very detailed comments on an earlier draft of this paper, which helped to substantially improve the clarity of the technical material and substantive findings. I hope I have done their comments justice. Danny Dorling, Rachel Loopstra, Bella Image and Tiffany Ko offered comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Helpful comments were also provided by attendees of the 2017 Administrative Data Research Network conference and a seminar held at Oxford City Council in May 2017.
Thanks are due to Oxford City Council for providing the data used in this study, the genesis of which was supported through the Urban Data 2 Decide programme at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. Paul Wilding at Oxford City Council offered very helpful guidance on changes in housing benefit rules and administration. Use has also been made of the Children in Low Income Families Local Measure and the English Indices of Deprivation, which are made available under Open Government Licence.
This work was supported by the Economic & Social Research Council [grant numbers ES/J500112/1, ES/M010058/1]; and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council [grant numbers EP/K503113/1, EP/L505031/1, EP/M50659X/1]. Early work was support by the Urban Data 2 Decide research based at Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, supported by the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe.
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