Place, ethnicity and poverty in England’

Steven Garner, Gargi Bhattacharyya

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Examination of the relationship between ethnicity, poverty and place has tended to focus on the spatial distribution of minority ethnic groups. This summary paper reviews some key themes in this literature, in order to review the following key questions:
•Where are different ethnic groups located, and how does this location relate to their experience of poverty?
•Is clustering a good or bad thing, and what is the role of location – regardless of concentration – in terms of impacts on access to housing, employment, and other resources?
However, it is notable that existing research in this area continues to present ethnicity as a factor that shapes outcomes only for minority ethnic groups. A wider discussion increasingly recognises the working of ethnicity in the lives of majority communities. Some of the most consistently impoverished areas in Britain, for example, are in regions with relatively small minority ethnic communities. For example, examinations of poverty in Cornwall (Cemlyn, et al., 2002) and Wales (Kenway and Palmer, 2007) identify longstanding concentrations of poverty and social exclusion among relatively static populations. Instead of assuming that ethnic identity influences propensity to poverty when concentrated in particular places, the experiences of Cornwall and Wales encourage us to consider the manner in which places of poverty also have an ethnic character and the impact of this in the wider experience of poverty.
In what follows, and in order to reflect the existing literature, we review key points in the debate about the spatial concentration of minority ethnic groups and the impact of this concentration on experiences of poverty. Where possible, we seek to extend these ideas to consider possible implications for spaces of poverty characterised by concentrations of majority ethnic groups.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationYork
PublisherJoseph Rowntree Foundation
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)978-1-85935-821-4
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2011

Bibliographical note

© Aston University 2011
All rights reserved. Reproduction of this report by photocopying or electronic means for non-commercial purposes is permitted. Otherwise, no part of this report may be reproduced, adapted, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


  • poverty, place, ethnicity, England, class, wealth, income, distribution, inequality


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