Monday, 16 May 2016 00:15

Rural childhood 'leads to lower earnings'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural childhood 'leads to lower earnings'

RURAL youngsters grow up to earn less than their urban counterparts – even if they move to a city for work.

In the first analysis of its kind, a study has found that rural youngsters suffer a "pay penalty" into adulthood.

Martin Culliney, of Sheffield Hallam University, studied survey results based on the income of 1,594 people tracked from 1991 to 2009.

The people tracked were aged 15-24 at the beginning of the period studied and up to 42-years-old at the end.

    See also: Analysis - escaping the rural pay penalty

Dr Culliney found that in 2008/9, the net take-home pay for those living in rural areas was around £900 less a year than those living in towns and cities.

Even when people who grew up in rural areas later began working full-time in towns and cities, their net take-home pay remained less than for those who grew up in urban areas.

The findings appear in Work, Employment and Society, a journal published by SAGE and the British Sociological Association.

"Young people who remain in rural locations earn less money than their urban peers," said Dr Culliney, who ranked people working full-time by their median average take-home pay.

in 2008/9, the best paid people were those who had started off in a town or city and then moved to a rural area – their net take-home pay was around £23,400 a year full-time.

Those who stayed in rural areas or moved from rural to urban areas had the lowest net take-home pay. They earned £14,400-18,400 a year for full-time workers.

Dr Culliney said there were fewer jobs and a limited range of careers in rural areas.

Those who were prepared to move to towns and cities earned more than those who stayed in rural areas – but less than those brought up in urban areas, he said.

"Simply being of rural origin brought respondents less pay across the whole 18-year observation window," said Dr Culliney.

The findings could be interpreted as "conveying a rather fatalistic message" that young people suffered a "pay penalty into adulthood" even if they relocated to towns and cities.

But this was reduced if they moved to urban areas to work.

Overall, average earnings of people working in rural areas were higher than those in towns and cities, but this was because older people earned more in rural areas – younger people were poorer.

Dr Culliney said this was the first research to compare the earnings of people who moved from rural to urban areas and vice versa.

"Such comparisons of rural and urban locations have not been conducted before in Britain."

Dr Culliney used data from the British Household Panel Survey from 1991/2 to 2008/9. The same people, aged 15-24 in 1991/2, were tracked each year.

The sample size, which began at 1,594 and this fell to 806 by 2009, was statistically representative of the UK.


People in this conversation

  • Guest (Dave Stanley)


    I am not sure if one is supposed to be surprised by this. Given that in rural areas there will be a preponderance of farming and agricultural jobs, and how little the public/supermarkets are prepared to pay for their food. The concept of fair trade should not just apply to food from overseas – it should be applied in the UK as well.
    Was there any consideration given to comparing well-being and lifestyle satisfaction between rural and urban areas?

Leave your comments

0 / 500 Character restriction
Your text should be in between 10-500 characters
terms and condition.