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Saturday, 8 November 2014

5 popular UK social #myths busted & 2 insights on the future to ponder

- these caught my eye as I read through the rather wonderful Insights 2014 (the report highlights the findings from the Economic and Social Research Council’s flagship study: Understanding Society – the UK Household Longitudinal Study)

This is the 1st of 2 posts on the Insights Report.  The second is tomorrow.

Myth 1 - the Squeezed Middle - Not so much the squeezed middle more the squashed bottom. The biggest losers in the recession have been the top decile (who are most resilient to such change) and the bottom three deciles (who are most vulnerable).

Myth 2 - the Permanent Underclass - It is much smaller than commonly thought. It is true that the size of this class appears to be constant over time.  But large numbers dipped in and out of poverty from one year to the next, depending on whether they found or lost a job, received or lost benefits, found or lost a partner. Previous analyses had confused the ‘stock’ of poverty with the ‘flow’.

Myth 3 - White Flight & Divergence - Large segments of the traditional ethnic minority population seem to have more in common with parts of the white majority. The so-called ‘White flight’ has little to do with discriminatory attitudes. Many whites on the move are in fact making lifestyle choices, similar to minorities leaving areas of minority concentration. Close ethnic ties slows this down for minorities but not for whites.

Myth 4 - With determination anybody can make it - There is growing evidence that the life chances of adults in education, employment and income, as well as their future physical and mental health, are significantly influenced by early childhood and young adulthood experience (note the precise mechanisms of this long-term effect remain to be traced).

Myth 5 - Increasingly individualistic, autonomous and mobile - This dominant liberal idea of how people want to live is challenged as people, it turns out, are rather conservative creatures who mix with people much like themselves, still live in extended families and do not want to end up on their own.  (note 60% of adults live within 20 miles of where they lived when they were 14 and people prefer informal or family-based care to institutionalised childcare. Most mothers continue to put family before work when children are young though usually want, or need, to continue with some form of employment. )

Looking to the future

By 2050 - the 5 largest Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities could potentially double from 8  million people or 14% of the population to between 20-30% by 2050

Ethnicity as a marker of who succeeds - but not in a negative way as now. Ethnic minority groups are more likely than their white counterparts to go to university. (note all ethnic minority groups have higher proportions of students staying on in formal education, especially university, at 16 and 18, than the White population)

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