Barriers to social inclusion and levels of urbanisation: Does it matter where you live?

October 30, 2023

Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Vol. 17, Issue 1, March 2024, pp. 59–74

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This paper investigates the occurrence and nature of barriers to social inclusion in distinct geographical settings. Utilising a unique administrative dataset from Ireland’s dominant social inclusion programme, this study examines how location impacts the occurrence of these barriersat a small-area level. Ireland’s high growth rates have raised concerns about uneven effects, making it an interesting case study for ‘left behind’ places. The findings reveal that barriers associated with social inclusion, related to economic participation, are more prevalent in ‘independent urban towns’ compared to both more urban and more rural areas, over and above area-level deprivation. This implies that existing policies, which traditionally employs a simplistic urban/rural dichotomy, lacks effective targeting, and would benefit from adopting a more precise spatial perspective.