How place influences employment outcomes for ethnic minorities

JRF-logoThis research looks at the influence of location on employment for ethnic minorities, asking why ethnic minority people fare disproportionately worse in the labour market in areas of high deprivation.

It examines the roles of culture, racism and class, and of familial, community and state support in affecting employment outcomes. It found that: Racism in education and employment varies by locality, contributing to differences in outcome by location.

Key points

  • Racism in education and employment varies by locality, contributing to differences in outcome by place.
  • Knowledge of education and labour market systems, and how to negotiate them, affects employment outcomes. Social segregation and migration tend to reduce knowledge and negotiating ability, leading to differing employment outcomes by place.
  • Whilst social segregation may provide support, it can also reduce employment performance, limiting social networks and inhibiting labour market knowledge. For some ethnic groups, segregation reinforces cultural norms of women’s role as nurturer rather than breadwinner. Self-employment appeared to exacerbate social segregation, especially where labour was limited to family.
  • There was some evidence that the relative size of ethnic minority groups in a locality might affect employment outcomes, with local policies likely to serve the largest ethnic minority group. This would contribute to differences in employment outcomes by place and should be explored further.
  • The extent to which education policies support all groups to benefit equally from education and careers support varies with place and differences in outcomes by ethnicity and migrant history result.
  • Providers of educational, careers and employment services need to reduce variations in access to services. Appropriate approaches may or may not be targeted at or tailored towards specific groups by ethnicity. However, it will be important to monitor by ethnicity how well key groups are served, particularly if the approach is not targeted.

To open the full report please click here.

Caring and earning among low-income Caribbean, Pakistani and Somali people

JRF-logoThis research looks at the experiences and preferences of low-income Caribbean, Pakistani and Somali people in balancing work and care responsibilities. It examines the particular challenges faced by these ethnic minority groups, and the challenges for employers and policy.

For most people, the two most important roles in life are caring for loved ones and working to earn a living. Over the past decades, more people have entered the labour market, while the proportion of those providing care has risen too. These developments create challenges for those seeking to ‘balance’ work and care, and are likely to continue given underlying demographic changes and developments in the labour market.

Key findings

  • Discrimination prevents low-income ethnic minority people from balancing work and care;
  • Many people are unaware of free childcare provision for 2-4 year olds;
  • Benefit changes are likely to make it more difficult to balance work and care for these people;
  • Attitudes towards caring vary greatly across ethnic groups; and
  • Caring responsibilities were predominantly taken up by women.

The report in full can be opened by clicking here.

How does money influence health?

JRF-logoWhy do people in poverty tend to have poorer health?

This study looks at hundreds of theories to consider how income influences health. There is a graded association between money and health – increased income equates to better health. But the reasons are debated.

Researchers have reviewed theories from 272 wide-ranging papers, most of which examined the complex interactions between people’s income and their health throughout their lives.

Key points

This research identifies four main ways money affects people’s wellbeing:

  • Material: Money buys goods and services that improve health. The more money families have, the better the goods they can buy.
  • Psychosocial: Managing on a low income is stressful. Comparing oneself to others and feeling at the bottom of the social ladder can be distressing, which can lead to biochemical changes in the body, eventually causing ill health.
  • Behavioural: For various reasons, people on low incomes are more likely to adopt unhealthy behaviours – smoking and drinking, for example – while those on higher incomes are more able to afford healthier lifestyles.
  • Reverse causation (poor health leads to low income): Health may affect income by preventing people from taking paid employment. Childhood health may also affect educational outcomes, limiting job opportunities and potential earnings.

To open the full report please click here.

What does the 2011 Census tell us about health and disability?

health&disability-infographicThe Office for National Statistics analysis looks at how age and area influence ‘Good’ health among disabled people.

A disability is not a barrier to ‘Good’ health

Across England and Wales the proportion of people who are in ‘Good’ health despite a disability increases with age from around one in fifty children (0 to 15) to around one in six elderly (85 and over). However, in some ways this simply reflects the increased incidence of disability at older ages.

The likelihood of being in ‘Good’ health despite a disability however decreases with age, more than half of all disabled children are in ‘Good’ health compared to a fifth of adults aged over 50. This may be because children with a disability (or the parents and carers of children with a disability) have a more positive outlook than adults when it comes to thinking about their general health. The findings may also reflect more adequate health and social care provision among the young disabled population, allowing them to overlook the limitations of their disability.

Disabled males are more likely to be in ‘Good’ health than disabled females

Among the disabled population males are more likely than females to be in ‘Good’ health despite their disability, particularly when their disability limits them a lot in their day-to-day activities. Differences are most noticeable at younger ages which may reflect different social and cultural attitudes to health among males and females at different ages.

Strong relationship between where you live and how you view your general health

Disabled people living in more affluent areas are more likely to be in ‘Good’ health than disabled people living in more deprived areas. After the age of 35 the proportion of disabled people with ‘Good’ general health in the most affluent areas is around twice that of disabled people living in the most deprived areas. This may be because people living in more affluent areas are more able to overcome the limitations of their disability and so judge their general health more favourably. It may also because people living in more affluent areas have better access to adequate health and social care than people living in more deprived areas.

Health inequality widest in older middle-aged

2011Census-logoNew analysis from the Office for National Statistics focuses on the extent of inequality in health and disability between more and less disadvantaged populations in England using Census 2011 and area deprivation data. 

The distribution of health and disabling health conditions across the population of England is shown to follow a sizeable, persistent and incremental pattern; health outcomes generally worsen in line with greater levels of socio-economic disadvantage.

Key points

  • Men and Women (aged 40 to 44) living in the most deprived areas are around four times more likely to have ‘Not Good’ health compared to their equivalent in the least deprived areas.
  • Inequalities in health remain large, even at older ages; in the least deprived areas people aged 80 to 84 reported better rates of health than those 20 years their junior in the most deprived areas.
  • The inequality in health between the most and least deprived areas peaks at ages 55 to 59 for women and 60 to 64 for men.
  • Future fitness to enjoy retirement is likely to be more favourable for the least deprived population than the most deprived; at ages 60 to 64 disabling health problems are much less common among the least deprived.
  • The disability prevalence divide between the most and least deprived areas is large across the working ages of 30 to 64, where adults are expected to participate in the labour market.
  • The fact that both men and women in the least deprived areas aged 65 to 69 have similar percentages disabled as those aged 40 to 44 in the most deprived areas suggests fitness to extend working careers post the traditional state pension age for men (65) is more likely among the least deprived area residents.

The full report can be opened here.

Tackling in-work poverty by supporting dual-earning families

JRF-logoHow can working families be helped out of poverty?

Research published this month reviewed trends in employment among couple families with children and considered policies and the wider context in four areas likely to affect their employment rate: family leave, childcare, the labour market, and the tax and benefit system.

Key Findings

  • The risk of poverty is much higher for children in couple families where only one parent works;
  • sole earner families account for a significant minority of poor families with children.
  • Many fathers have to work long hours, making it harder for them to get involved in family life and more difficult for mothers to work.

To enable more low-income families to have both partners in work, authors recommend allowing second earners to keep more of their wages before means-tested benefits are withdrawn; more publically-funded affordable childcare; and phasing in more generous family leave, including longer paternity leave.

Please click here to open the full report, with a summary also available.

Ten of the most important questions to ask about UK poverty

JRF-logoPoverty research must provide useful answers for policy and practice, says Chris Goulden.

To deal with entrenched problems of poverty in the UK, serious improvements need to be made to knowledge about the causes of poverty and the effectiveness of potential solutions.

As reported in the recent UBD full report (p.41):

One in four children in the District lives below the poverty line (households with less than 60% of average income) equating to 36,080 0-18 year olds. Bradford’s rate is more than the national average or West Yorkshire rate. A further third of the District’s children live in households that have low income plus material deprivation.

A two-day exercise led by a partnership between JRF and the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge identified the most important unanswered and researchable questions about poverty.

Ten of the most important questions were:

  • What values, frames and narratives are associated with greater support for tackling poverty, and why?
  • How do images of people in poverty influence policy debates in different countries?
  • What are the most effective methods of increasing involvement and support for the education of children among their parents or guardians?
  • What explains variation in wages as a share of GDP internationally?
  • What is the nature and extent of poverty among those who do not or cannot access the safety net when they need it?
  • How could targeting and incentivising payment of the Living Wage make it more effective at reducing household poverty?
  • What are the positive and negative impacts of digital technologies on poverty?
  • How do environmental and social regulations or obligations affect prices for those in poverty?
  • Who benefits from poverty, and how?
  • What evidence is there that economic growth reduces poverty overall, and under what circumstances?

The full paper 100 Questions: identifying research priorities for poverty prevention and reduction published in Journal of Poverty & Social Justice as an Open Access paper can be accessed here.