Brexit and Social Mobility: England’s Left Behind Communities

Press/Media: Blogs and social media


Since the Brexit vote in the EU referendum of 23rd June 2016 the political turmoil that followed has been unprecedented with a change of Prime Minister and cabinet, a leadership challenge in the Labour party and Theresa May calling a General Election. Social mobility is high on the political agenda with Theresa May’s first speech as Prime Minister highlighting the problems of families “just managing”. Dr Marianne Sensier and Professor Fiona Devine have investigated whether varying patterns of social mobility across local authorities in England are related to the way people voted in the EU referendum. They find that:

  • Areas with lower social mobility were more likely to vote leave.
  • Areas that voted leave had a lower median weekly salary, lower share of professionals and managers, lower ratio for average house prices to salary, higher share of people earning less than the living wage and higher share of families with children that own their own home. This is evidence of inequality of opportunity.
  • By analysing area groupings and Government Office Regions we find evidence of greater inequality of opportunity across England as extremes within regions become more pronounced.
Period12 Jun 2017

Media contributions


Media contributions


  • Brexit
  • Growth and Inclusion
  • British Politics