Social and geographical mobility: a regional analysis

Anthony Fielding, University of Sussex

[Project number 30040]

In a study entitled 'Geographies of opportunity: a regional analysis of gender-specific social and spatial mobilities in England and Wales 1971-81' (published in Envionment and Planning A in 1993) Susan Halford and I used the LS to show (i) that non-migrant social mobilities have gender-specific spatial structures and women face different 'geographies of opportunity'; (ii) that while both men and women benefit by being resident in South East England, women are especially likely to be upwardly mobile, and particularly so for entry into managerial posts; (iii) that migrant social mobilities also have gender-specific spatial structures; (iv) that flows to South East England involve upward social mobilities for men and for women, but are relatively to the advantage of women's careers; (v) that flows from the South East often involve the exit of women from the labour market, imply sideways or upward mobility for men, but are strongly to the disadvantage of women's emplyment careers. The current project updates and extends this work. First, it will show whether or not the broad patterns between gender, region and social mobility found for the 1970s were replicated in the 1990s. Secondly, the paper will go on to explore the relationships between gender-specific geographies of opportunity within the labour market, and regional patterns of household and family-formation behaviour.

The LS is the only continuous source of data containing social and geographic data of sufficient detail and at different time periods for the same individuals to permit a study of this type. My project is totally dependent on LS data since I need to know the occupations of persons both before and after migration. Also only the LS has a sample size that is sufficiently large to allow proper regional analysis. I shall be looking at the social and geographic mobilities of men and women between 1991 and 2001, and the analyses will be extended to cover the social mobility of ethnic minorities.

This project was approved on 28 April 2005 and is supported by CeLSIUS.