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Mapping poverty in the UK

So where does poverty live? Watch Dan Horsfall explain more.
So, where do those in poverty live? Of course the short answer is everywhere. But it isn’t spread evenly. London, as you would perhaps imagine, has high rates of poverty. Indeed when you look at the figures ‘after housing costs’, which are incredibly high in London – over a quarter of all people are in relative low income. However Yorkshire, the North West and North East, and the West Midlands also have very high rates of poverty. When we drill down to look at child poverty, none of the parliamentary constituencies south of Birmingham make the top 10 for highest child poverty rates, whereas the top ten constituencies with the lowest rates of child poverty are all south of Birmingham.
There is then, perhaps, a north/south divide. But it is more complex than that. In London, a local authority or council ward with high levels of child poverty or poverty in general, can border another with incredibly low levels. And again, we are focusing on the monetary measure of poverty. But if we look at an increasingly important requirement for full participation in society, access to broadband services also varies both by location and of course the ability to afford it. Only half of those households with earnings under £10,000 have access to the internet at home compared to 99% of those in households that earn over £40,000. If you are poor, you are less likely to be online.
This is compounded if you live in areas with poor broadband coverage, or fewer public facilities with access such as libraries. Rural areas in particular, struggle. The shift to homeschooling and working from home has created a genuine dilemma between paying the wifi bill, or putting food on the table for some. There is no escaping the fact that money underpins all this. However the impact of poverty on our urban geography – and vice-versa is sometimes overlooked. Those who are on poverty are most likely to live in cramped conditions with little access to outdoor space.
The pandemic shone a light on just how important such space is for our physical and mental well-being and the poorest are most likely to be stuck in a small space shared with larger numbers. But here again, this is exacerbated by living in different places; in London, tower-block living is much more common even compared to those in the same income groups based elsewhere. Access to safe green space is also more limited. The fact that poorer people are more likely to live in such conditions has consequences. Last year a coroner ruled that a young girl in London had died as a consequence of air pollution, something to which the poorest are most likely to be exposed on a daily basis.
What we see then are clusters of poverty and deprivation, often in locations that then exacerbate these issues. Perhaps health outcomes are worse, crime rates are higher, and access to services worse. Poverty is then, uneven and unequal.

Poverty is not spread out evenly. Certain places have higher levels of poverty and deprivation. In some cities deprivation sits right next door to luxury.

This video considers how poverty is spread out across the UK.

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Understanding and Solving Poverty and Inequality

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