Measuring inequality in rural England: The effects of changing spatial resolution

Meg Huby*, Steve Cinderby, Piran White, Annemarieke de Bruin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The sustainability of rural development depends on the distribution of the social and environmental resources needed to maintain and improve the vitality of rural areas. Here we examine the complexity of measuring patterns of distribution using examples of socioeconomic data on rural poverty and affluence as well as data on environmental quality and species richness. We demonstrate how changes in the base spatial units used for analysis have different effects on different measures of inequality. The effects of such changes in spatial resolution also depend on the underlying processes that generate the data. The results of our investigations into the effects of scale on the assessment of inequality suggest that, where data come from both the social and natural science sources, the most appropriate level for analysis is that of the finest common resolution. This may result in redundancy of effort for some types of data but any such disadvantage is offset by the benefits of identifying inequalities that are masked at coarser resolutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3023-3037
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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