Neighbourhood change, deprivation and unemployment in Belfast

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Much effort has been expended on measuring deprivation in neighbourhoods across the UK and elsewhere. However, there has been only a relatively limited concern with deprivation histories of areas. This paper takes as its focus Belfast in Northern Ireland and it capitalises on rich data sources on deprivation generally and unemployment specifically. The study makes use of data on multiple time points – the Census from 1971 to 2011, multiple deprivation measures for 2005, 2010, and 2017, and benefits claimant count data for 2020. The paper explores the changing geography of deprivation and unemployment, identifying areas with persistently high deprivation and unemployment across time and across measures. It is argued that trajectories are important, particularly in terms of targeting resources. The final section of the analysis uses claimant count data to assess changing unemployment rates following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and it shows that changes in these rates are strongly related to long-term deprivation and unemployment patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-208
JournalThe Geographical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date01 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2022


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