Social Statistics

Society, Statistics (and some sermons)

Social Statistics - Society, Statistics (and some sermons)

Ethnicity and economic disadvantage in England in 2011

I have been working on a simple classification that categorises small area census neighbourhoods (the ‘Output Areas’) according to some dimensions of economic activity and inactivity. One group of neighbourhoods I have identified is those that are: (a) in the lowest 20% nationally for the percentage of the economically active population in full-time employment; (b) have an unemployment rate in the highest 10% nationally; and where (c) the percentage of the total population (neither student nor retired) that has a long-term sickness or disability is in the highest 10% nationally. In short, these area areas where we can expect the greatest economic stresses.  Continue reading

White flight, ethnic cliffs and other unhelpful hyperbole?

In an (unguarded?) conversation with a journalist, I talked about a ‘cliff-edge’ measure of segregation where neighbouring places have very different proportions of their resident population classified as White British in the 2011 Census. The words, rephrased as ‘ethnic cliffs’ was soon coupled with talk of White Flight from British cities and has appeared in a number of national newspapers and magazines, alongside like ‘self-segregation’ and ‘sundown segregation’ (The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail). In this presentation I look at changes to the ethnic composition of census zones in England from 2001 to 2011 and ask whether such phrases are unhelpful hyperbole or simply vivid but accurate descriptors of “Britain’s new problem” (Goodhart, 2013 writing in Prospect Magazine).

Ethno-demographic change in English local authorities, 1991-2011

The graphics below have been submitted to the journal Environment and Planning A as one of its featured graphics. They aim to capture various dimensions of population change within English local authorities from 1991 to 2011: the proportional increase in the Asian population, the decrease in the White British population, generally decreasing Asian – White British segregation within authorities on average but with that average concealing some increases in spatial heterogeneity: increased differences between some neighbouring small areas (and also increased differences between local authorities). Continue reading

Geographies of Education and Segregation

A slightly naughty headline on the BBC News website yesterday. It reads: “UK schools ‘most socially segregated’”, a statement that is immediately contradicted by the paragraph below it: “Schools in the UK are among the most socially segregated in the developed world” (emphasis added). The most and among the most are not the same thing at all, although recognising the difference does not make the findings of the OECD report about which the BBC is repeating much more palatable. It says that the UK has unusually high levels of poorer and migrant families being clustered together in the same schools and not spread across different schools. Continue reading

The Spirit Level

If you’ve not had a chance to read it yet, it is worth taking a look at The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

It’s a great example of how to use simple statistics and charts to drive home the political and social measure that appears in the book’s subtitle: why equality is better for everyone.

Whether the book actually proves that is debatable. But, for me that’s the point. You may not agree with the book’s conclusions. However, you cannot knock how successful it has been in creating discussion.

image: Felixco, Inc. / FreeDigitalPhotos.net