Simulating trends in poverty and income inequality on the basis of 1991 and 2001 census data: a tale of two cities



How much does the 2001 census tell us about the changes in people's life in British cities and regions since 1991? This paper attempts to answer this question by telling the stories of two British northern cities: Leeds and Sheffield. In particular, the paper investigates and compares socio-economic change in these cities on the basis of actual 1991 and 2001 census data as well as estimated non-census data. A static spatial microsimulation model is used to combine the outputs of the 1991 and 2001 censuses of UK population with data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) data. In particular, selected Small Area Statistics (SAS) tables from the 1991 and 2001 censuses are used as constraints in the spatial microsimulation modelling exercise, which aims to reweight BHPS household records so that they satisfy these constraints. The paper briefly discusses the change in these census variables across different localities of the two cities. It is then shown how the changes in these variables affect the simulation of non-census variables. Further, the microsimulation model is used to estimate the trends in income inequalities and child poverty between and within the two cities. Finally, the paper discusses the implication of the research findings for policy formulation.