Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The spatialities of ageing: evidencing increasing spatial polarisation between older and younger adults in England and Wales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: With the proportion of older adults in Europe expected to grow significantly over the next few decades, a number of pertinent questions are raised about the socio-spatial processes that underlie residential age segregation, especially in circumstances where it may be increasing.

Objective: We present evidence on whether, and to what degree, residential age segregation has changed across neighbourhoods in England and Wales since the 1990s.

Methods: We examine the residential patterns of older adults (aged 65 and over) compared to those of younger adults (aged 25-40) for neighbourhoods across the country, for neighbourhoods within districts, and for neighbourhoods within districts classified by type. The analyses use harmonised population data for small areas (Output Areas) from the 1991, 2001, and 2011 Censuses of England and Wales.

Results: The results reveal increasing segregation over time (1991-2011) between older and younger groups across neighbourhoods nationally. Although the index values of segregation tend to be higher in less urban areas, highlighting a strong age and life course dimension of the rural-urban divide, a rapid increase in age segregation is found in urban areas. Moreover, our findings suggest the existence of convergent clusters of increasing age segregation, particularly in urban settings (from small to large cities) and former industrial areas in the North of England, thus providing evidence suggesting a further dimension of the North-South divide.

Conclusions: The findings demonstrate a growing age bifurcation over time and space, as both older and younger age groups are increasingly living apart. Although the drivers and consequences of these trends in residential age segregation remain unclear, the potential challenge to policies of social cohesion underlines the importance of further research.


Original languageEnglish
Article number25
Pages (from-to)731-744
Number of pages14
JournalDemographic Research
StatePublished - 8 Mar 2017

    Research areas

  • Ageing, England, Neighbourhoods, Residential segregation, Spatial analysis and modeling, Urban-rural composition, Wales

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. We are becoming segregated into young and old communities without realising

    Sabater Coll, A., Graham, E. F. & Finney, N. 5 Jun 2017 The Conversation

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

  2. Increasing residential age segregation in Britain

    Sabater Coll, A., Graham, E. F. & Finney, N. 28 Apr 2017 N-IUSSP International Union for the Scientific Study of the Population

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

  3. Intergenerational exchanges, children's education and parents' longevity in Europe

    Sabater Coll, A. & Graham, E. F. 2016 ESRC Centre for Population Change, 29 p.(Working Paper Series; no. 77)

    Research output: Working paper

Related by journal

  1. Co-ethnic marriage versus intermarriage among immigrants and their descendants

    Hannemann, T., Kulu, H. & et al. Mar 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Demographic Research.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Economic reasons for not wanting a second child: changes before and after the onset of the economic recession in Italy

    Fiori, F., Graham, E. & Rinesi, F. 2 Mar 2018 In : Demographic Research. 38, p. 843-854 12 p., 30

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. The increasing mortality advantage of the married: the role played by education

    Kravdal, Ø., Grundy, E. & Keenan, K. 2 Feb 2018 In : Demographic Research. 38, 20, p. 471-512 42 p., 20

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Social policies, separation and second birth spacing in Western Europe

    Kreyenfeld, M., Geisler, E., Castro Martin , T., Hannemann, T., Heintz-Martin , V., Jalovaara , M., Kulu, H., Meggiolaro , S., Mortelmans , D., Pasteels , I., Seiz , M. & Solaz , A. 19 Oct 2017 In : Demographic Research. 37, p. 1245-1274 37

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249288607