New research shows inequality has a postcode: where a person lives should not dictate their chances in life.
A new report by Future State, the strategic advisory arm of Urbis, highlights for the first time the extent of spatial inequality in Australia’s two major cities: Sydney and Melbourne.
Prompted by the geographic disparities evident in the health and economic outcomes from COVID-19, report author and Director, Future State – Urbis, Matt Palmen developed a measure of spatial inequality based on a household’s access to social and economic opportunities – or ‘spatial wealth’.
The new measure adapts the Quintile Share Ratio – a common measure of income and resource inequality – to estimate inequality of access across five dimensions: jobs, education, healthcare, social support and everyday goods and services.
Across each of these dimensions, the study finds a stark spatial divide in both cities.
For example, the most geographically advantaged neighbourhoods in Sydney have access to four times more jobs and ten times more education opportunities than the most geographically disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
In Melbourne, the most geographically advantaged neighbourhoods have access to ten times the number of doctors and social support workers than the most disadvantaged.
The study also found lower-income households to be disproportionately represented in neighbourhoods with lower levels of access. A combination of income, wealth and geographic disparities can create a vicious cycle of inequality that can entrench disadvantage and limit opportunities for social mobility across generations.