Socio-spatial inequality, deprived neighbourhoods, and neighbourhood effects

The spatial concentration of poverty within cities is of great concern to national governments, partly based on a belief in neighbourhood effects: the idea that living in deprived neighbourhoods has an additional negative effect on residents’ life chances over and above the effect of their own characteristics. This belief has contributed to the development of area-based policies designed to introduce a more ‘favourable’ socio-economic mix in deprived neighbourhoods.

Despite the persistent belief in neighbourhood effects, there is surprisingly little evidence that living in deprived neighbourhoods really affects individual lives. There is little consensus on the importance of neighbourhood effects, the underlying causal mechanisms, the conditions under which they are important and the most effective policy responses.

The objective of the DEPRIVEDHOODS project was to come to a better understanding of the relationship between socio-economic inequality, poverty and neighbourhoods by using unique geo-referenced longitudinal data from Sweden, United Kingdom, Estonia, and The Netherlands. The DEPRIVEDHOODS project has studied simultaneously neighbourhood sorting over the life course, neighbourhood change, and neighbourhood effects, within one theoretical and analytical framework.

DEPRIVEDHOODS has resulted in 53 academic peer reviewed journal articles to date, 4 completed 4 phd theses, 3 published books and 9 published book chapters. The project has received a lot of media attention from major newspapers in Europe and beyond.


Funder: EU
Programme: FP/2007-2013 - European Research Council grant (ERCConsolidator Grant) under the European Union’s SeventhFramework Programme
Overall budget: € 1.996.506
Grant amount: € 1.996.506
Contribution to TU Delft: € 1.996.506
Grant number:  615159
Role TU Delft:  Project partner
Project duration: August 2014 - July 2019
TU Delft researchers:                 Prof.dr. Maarten van Ham
Dr. Heleen Janssen
Dr. Sanne Boschman
Dr. Merle Zwiers
Dr. Tom Kleinepier
Dr. Jaap Nieuwenhuis
Ana Petrović
Agata Troost
Elise de Vuijst

Project partners

University of Tartu, University of Bristol, Uppsala University, University of St Andrews


Prof. dr. Maarten van Ham