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A Pragmatic Approach to Measuring Neighbourhood Poverty Change


  • Ludovica Gambaro

    () (Institute of Education)

  • Heather Joshi

    () (Institute of Education)

  • Ruth Lupton

    () (University of Manchester)

  • Mary Clare Lennon

    () (City University New York)


This paper uses a new indicator to track poverty from 2001 to 2006 in small areas in Great Britain. The indicator, called Unadjusted Means-tested Benefits Rate (UMBR), was devised by Fenton (2013) and is the ratio of claimants of means tested benefits to the number of households in a small area. The analysis presented here is threefold. We first explore in detail the correlation between UMBR and the indices of multiple deprivation. While conceptually different, UMBR appears to capture different aspects of deprivation beyond out-of-work income poverty. Second, we outline the different patterns of change in poverty across Great Britain and show how small areas in deprived urban communities and multiethnic urban areas have changed considerably between 2001 and 2006. Finally, we draw on data from the Millennium Cohort Study to explore the association between residents’ perceptions of their neighbourhood and the UMBR level of their area. We find that respondents living in areas of higher poverty tend to express more negative views of their neighbourhood and that those who changed area in search of a “better neighbourhood†end up in areas with lower poverty rates. However, small changes in poverty over time were not reflected in changes in residents’ views.

Suggested Citation

  • Ludovica Gambaro & Heather Joshi & Ruth Lupton & Mary Clare Lennon, 2014. "A Pragmatic Approach to Measuring Neighbourhood Poverty Change," DoQSS Working Papers 14-08, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1408

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cep:sticas:/176 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kitty Stewart, 2013. "Labour's Record on the Under Fives: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 1997 - 2010," CASE - Social Policy in a Cold Climate Working Paper 04, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    3. Lee, Neil & Sissons, Paul & Hughes, Ceri & Green, Anne & Atfield, Gaby & Adam, Duncan & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2014. "Cities, growth and poverty: evidence review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55799, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    Cited by:

    1. Neil Lee & Paul Sissons, 2016. "Inclusive growth? The relationship between economic growth and poverty in British cities," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 48(11), pages 2317-2339, November.

    More about this item


    Poverty Measurement; Neighbourhood Characteristics; Regional Migration; Cohort; Children.;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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