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


Open Access permissions



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. 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

  2. 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

  3. Population change and housing across the lifecourse: Demographic perspectives, methodological challenges and emerging issues

    Graham, E. & Sabater, A. 2015 ESRC Centre for Population Change, 41 p.(Working Paper Series; no. 64)

    Research output: Working paper

  4. Household changes and diversity in housing consumption at older ages in Scotland

    Fiori, F., Graham, E. & Feng, Z. 11 Sep 2017 In : Ageing & Society. First View, 33 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. 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

  2. The temporal stability of children's neighborhood experiences: a follow-up from birth to age 15

    Kleinepier, T. & van Ham, M. 15 Jun 2017 In : Demographic Research. 36, 59, p. 1813-1826 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Why does fertility remain high among certain UK-born ethnic minority women?

    Kulu, H. & Hannemann, T. 2 Dec 2016 In : Demographic Research. 35, p. 1441-1488 50 p., 49

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Introduction to research on immigrant and ethnic minority families in Europe

    Kulu, H. & Hannemann, T. 6 Jul 2016 In : Demographic Research. 35, p. 31-46 16 p., 2

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249288607