Despite the high profile given to poor neighbourhoods in the English government’s social inclusion policy, little is known about how many poor neighbourhoods there are, how many people live in them, whether their number is growing or diminishing, or in what ways they are getting better, or worse, compared with other neighbourhoods. This article examines trends in the 1990s, using 1991 and 2001 Census data. It finds that deprived neighbourhoods made substantial progress on indicators of work, education and home ownership, but that negative trends in population, health and lone parenthood tempered those improvements somewhat. Moreover, there are disparate trends within and across regions, and large gaps continue to separate poor neighbourhoods from the rest of the nation, highlighting the difficulty of ensuring that no one is seriously disadvantaged by where they live.
The work on which this article is based was carried out while the author was at the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science.
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