Poverty and social exclusion: growing older in deprived urban neighbourhoods

T Scharf, Christopher Phillipson, A E Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Addressing the causes and consequences of social exclusion represents a key theme in European social policy, reflecting growing awareness of the social costs which arise when individuals, families and communities become cut off from wider society. Conceptually, however, social exclusion remains underexplored in gerontology. The article suggests that exclusion represents a useful means of exploring the situation of older people in different environmental settings. Social exclusion in old age is conceptualised as a multi-dimensional phenomenon comprising of: exclusion from material resources; exclusion from social relations; exclusion from civic activities; exclusion from basic services; and neighbourhood exclusion. Drawing on a survey of 600 people aged 60 and over in deprived neighbourhoods of three English cities, the article develops indicators to represent each dimension of exclusion and seeks to assess the nature of social exclusion faced by older people in deprived neighbourhoods. Results reveal a considerable proportion of older people experiencing social exclusion in at least one form. The sample fell into three categories: 33% were not excluded on any of the five domains; 31% experienced exclusion on a single domain; 36% were vulnerable to the cumulative impact of multiple forms of exclusion. Multiple social exclusion was significantly correlated with respondents’ ethnic origin, educational status, housing tenure, perceived health status and quality of life. It is concluded that social exclusion represents a useful means of depicting disadvantage experienced by older people living in deprived urban neighbourhoods, and that it would be useful to extend the analysis to other types of residential setting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrowing Older
Subtitle of host publication Quality Of Life In Old Age
EditorsCatherine Walker
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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