Joshi, H., Dodgeon, B. & Hughes, G. (2008) CLS Cohort Studies Working Paper 2008/4. Centre for Longitudinal Studies. 1 November 2008. ISBN: 1 898453 68 3 [ONS LS]
Other information: Abstract:
A new official classification of rurality has been developed for England on the basis of settlement patterns. This paper investigates some differences in the socio- demographic profile of Rural and Urban England taking evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study, and the ONS Longitudinal Study spanning 4 censuses since 1971. We conclude that the social and demographic profile of rural England is not enormously different from the urban. There are systematic tendencies for more prosperous people to be living in the ‘countryside’, especially in the smaller and more dispersed settlements, and conversely for the poorest people to be living in cities and large towns, but the differences are not absolute: neither group is totally absent from either environment. The high degree of exchange of population - an exodus from rural areas in youth, matched by an influx of adults in mid-life (not just at retirement ages, and not just those with rural origins) means there is considerable churning of the population. There is some evidence of selective in-migration raising average educational attainment in rural areas, but other flows bring rural and urban averages closer together. The migration flow contributing most to rural-urban differences is not internal but international. The minority ethnic groups, of immigrants and their descendants, have settled almost exclusively in urban areas. Multi-cultural variation in factors such as family size, overcrowding, female employment, religion and beliefs about the family, affects the urban average, tending to exaggerate the otherwise small differences between the rural population and urban population of white British and Irish ethnicity.