People who grow up in rural areas earn less than their urban equivalents,
even after they move to towns and cities for work,
according to a study by Dr Martin Culliney of Sheffield Hallam University.
In the first analysis of its kind, he found that young people brought up in the
countryside suffered a “pay penalty into adulthood”.
Dr Culliney, studied survey results on the income of 1,594 people tracked from
1991 to 2009.
They were aged 15-24 at the beginning of the period and up to 42 at the end.
He found that in 2008/9, the net takehome 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 in towns
and cities, the net take-home pay for full-time workers stayed less than for those
who had grown up in urban areas.
In an article in the journal Work,employment and society, Dr Culliney ranked
people working full-time by their median average take-home pay:
• in 2008/9 the best paid 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 for those working full-time.
• those who stayed in rural areas or moved from rural to urban areas had
the lowest net take-home pay, around £14,400 to £18,400 a year
for full-time workers.
“Young people who remain in rural locations earn less money than their
urban peers,” said Dr Culliney.
There were fewer jobs and a limited range of careers in rural areas, he said.
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.
“Simply being of rural origin brought respondents less pay
across the whole 18-year observation window.”
He said that 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.
Work, employment and society is published by SAGE Publications and the
British Sociological Association