Poverty and ethnicity: Places and local labour markets

Project Icon Project Status

Summary & aims

The study explored how place influenced employment outcomes for ethnic minorities and, in particular, why ethnic minorities might suffer disproportionate disadvantage in areas of higher deprivation. The study was based on case studies in three areas (Leicester, Glasgow or Luton) and three ethnic groups (African Caribbean, Indian and Pakistani). It found that racism, class and culture interacted with service provision to affect ethnic minorities’ labour market performance and this varied with place.


The study was based on detailed qualitative data on individuals’ education and employment histories and information about the local areas gathered from stakeholders and from published data. It examined pre-labour market influences (school, parents, careers information), aspirations, job histories and adult education and training to understand ethnic differences in economic activity, occupational patterns and earnings. Differences by culture, religion and migration generation were explored. Whilst the study identified ways in which place influenced employment outcomes for ethnic minorities, many of the themes identified in the study, in particular the difficulties faced by young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or in deprived areas, are relevant across the UK and to members of all ethnic groups, including the white majority. The study was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  

Findings and Recommendations