How neighbourhood social mix shapes access to resources from social networks and from services

Nick Bailey*, Kirsten Besemer, Glen Bramley, Mark Livingston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Social mix policies have become controversial. Claims about the harms caused by neighbourhood effects have been challenged while counter-claims have been made about the potential benefits for low-income households from living in poor communities. This paper examines two aspects of this debate: whether deprived communities provide greater access to social networks and hence resources in the form of gifts, and whether they provide worse access to resources in the form of services. Data come from the largest survey of poverty ever conducted in the UK—the Poverty and Social Exclusion UK Survey 2012. Results do not support either position in the debate. They do not suggest that access to services is worse in deprived neighbourhoods for all services, but only for a minority. While people in deprived neighbourhoods report marginally greater contact with family and slightly higher levels of social support, there is no evidence of greater levels of exchange of gifts or reciprocity through social networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-314
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number2
Early online date23 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • neighbourhood effects
  • poverty
  • private services
  • public services
  • Social mix
  • social network


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