Spatial mobility and social outcomes

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

November 15, 2014


This paper examines the nature and extent of socio-spatial mobility in Great Britain. In contrast with previous studies, we investigate the entire spectrum of moves within and across the hierarchical structure of neighbourhoods. We use data from the British Household Panel Survey to trace moves between neighbourhoods defined using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation. We define upward socio-spatial mobility as moving to neighbourhoods with greater levels of advantage (lower levels of deprivation), and downward socio-spatial mobility as the shift to less advantaged neighbourhoods. As expected, the results show that there are strong associations between origin and destination neighbourhood types. We find that education and income play critical roles in the ability of individuals to make neighbourhood gains when they move. An important finding of the research is the way in which the housing market structurally conditions socio-spatial mobility. In the UK and probably more broadly, the opportunity to move to socially advantaged places is highly stratified by housing tenure.

Published in

Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 29 , p.699 -727






Open Access article



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