This Government report from November 2017 – found via a tweet from @RuSource – uses a Social Mobility Index to highlight where, (geographically), people from disadvantaged backgrounds are most and least likely to make social progress.
The index uses a range of 16 indicators for every life stage – from the early years through to adulthood – which assess the education, employability and housing prospects of people living in each of England’s 324 local authority areas.
If you want to find out how your area fares I’ve included an alphabetical listing of local authorities and their ranking on the social mobility index in this spreadsheet. More data is available on this HMG spreadsheet.
As the report says:
“England is a small country with a large and growing gap between those places that offer good opportunities for social progress – what we have called social mobility hotspots – and those that do not – the coldspots.”
The map below shows the hotspots in shades of red and the coldspots in shades of blue.
The report’s foreword points out that:
- only one in six of 5 million low paid workers – mostly women – (in 2006) had managed to find a permanent route out of low pay a decade later;
- house owner occupation – one of the foundations for higher levels of social mobility – has fallen by 17% in the last decade among the under-44s;
- there remains an entrenched and unbroken correlation between social class and educational success: the income gap is larger than either the ethnicity gap or the gender gap in schools.
To these economic or social divides the November 2017 report identifies widening geographical divide. Social mobility coldspots are concentrated in remote rural or coastal areas and in former industrial areas, especially in the Midlands.
Many of these places combine poor educational outcomes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with weak labour markets that have a greater share of low skilled, low-paid employment than elsewhere in England.
Remote rural and coastal areas also suffer from poor connectivity by transport, restricting opportunities still further.
The bottom five coldspots are Carlisle, Corby, Weymouth and Portland, Newark and Sherwood, and West Somerset, which is overall the worst part of the country for social mobility.
Some of the coldspots are among the least deprived areas in the country – for example, Cotswold and West Berkshire. Disadvantaged youngsters in these areas can be somewhat neglected, especially if they are dispersed across isolated rural schools.
Similarly, some affluent places have high levels of low pay despite high average salaries. In St Albans, for example, half the population are in well-paid professional roles, but a quarter earn below the voluntary living wage.
The report points out that local policies adopted by local authorities and employers can positively influence outcomes for disadvantaged residents. It states that there is enough evidence that – with the right approach – the transmission of disadvantage from one generation to the next can be broken.
The report offers a number of recommendations for local and national government around using proven techniques, pooling knowledge and experience and drawing on best practice. So for example it suggests that every local authority should:
- develop an integrated strategy for improving disadvantaged children’s outcomes and that pupil premium funds should be invested in evidence-based practice;
- support collaboration between isolated schools, subsidise transport for disadvantaged young people in isolated areas and encourage Local Enterprise Partnerships to follow the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s approach to improving careers support for young people;
- become accredited living wage employers and encourage others in their communities to do likewise.
The report is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/ open-government-licence/version/3