Current Projects

The analysis of names from the 2011 Census of Population (Co-I Alex Singleton): This ESRC funded research project in collaboration with UCL is developing an enriched names classification and conducting sensitivity analysis to refine and improve its universal application across the UK. Individual level Census data will be used in order to develop a classification of given and family names into cultural, ethnic and linguistic groups. Crucially, and for the first time, the results of this classification will be compared to individual and household data on Ethnicity, National Identity, Country of Birth, First and Second Language Spoken and Nationality. This will make it possible to investigate the causes of apparent errors in the classification, and to identify the small geographic areas in which they are concentrated. Through an iterative procedure, secure online facilities will be used to improve the classification in the light of these results.

Changing families and sustainable societies: Policy contexts and diversity over the life course and across generations. (Liverpool team: Hill Kulu and Tina Hannemann.) The collaborative research project of 25 European Universities and research institutes is funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme (€6.5 millions in EU contribution). The four-year (2013–2017) project investigates the diversity of family forms, relationships, and life courses in Europe and assesses the compatibility of existing policies with family changes. The Liverpool team leads comparative research on ethnic minority families in nine European countries. The research will deepen our understanding of how immigrants structure their family lives in different institutional settings and will be the basis for the development of government policies to address the issues of inequality and social cohesion.

ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre (Co-I Alex Singleton, Chris Lloyd, Paul Williamson): The CDRC was established by the ESRC to: Contribute towards ensuring the future sustainability of UK research using consumer data; Support consumer related organisations to maximise their innovation potential and Drive economic growth. This project brings together world-class researchers from the University of Leeds, University College London, University of Liverpool and the University of Oxford to offer a range of expert services to a wide range of users.

Innovations in Small Area Estimation Methodologies (Co-I Paul Williamson). Reliable statistics are crucial for policy relevant research. Small Area Estimation (SAE) methods generate robust reliable and consistent statistics at geographical scales for which survey data are either non-existent or too sparse to provide direct estimates of acceptable accuracy. This ESRC Funded project aims to (a) develop novel SAE methodologies to better serve the needs of users and producers of SAE, (b) bridge different methodological approaches to SAE developed, (c) apply SAE for answering substantive questions in the social sciences and (d) 'Mainstream' SAE within the quantitative social sciences through the creation of methodologically comprehensive and accessible resources. Substantive outputs will include SAEs of income, inequality, deprivation, health, ethnicity and a realistic pseudo-Census dataset for use by other researchers. Partner agencies include the national statistical agencies for England, Wales, Mexico and Brazil.

Investigation of the association between alcohol outlet density and alcohol related hospital admission rates in England (Co-I Mark Green). A shift is occurring in UK alcohol licensing policy with increasing emphasis on controlling alcohol consumption and harm by bringing public health bodies’ into licensing decision making. Local authorities have been given powers to control alcohol outlet density but little is known as to how effective this may be at reducing harm. The purpose of the study is to investigate if alcohol outlet density is associated with hospital admissions for alcohol related conditions in a national (English) small area level ecological study. This will be achieved through exploring cross-sectional and longitudinal trends in both hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions and the density of alcohol outlets through a spatio-temporal Bayesian framework.

Mapping Lineages: Quantifying the evolution of maps of the British Isles (PI Chris Lloyd): the project has been made possible by funding from the Leverhulme Trust; it explores lineages in maps of Britain from the eleventh to the seventeenth Centuries, with a focus on assessing how far manuscript and printed maps borrow from previous maps or provide evidence of cartographic innovation. The project will entail digitisation of historic maps of Britain and analysis of spatial distortions in the positioning of places — where maps have similar distortion patterns this may suggest a common source. While the project will seek to provide quantitative comparisons of the selected maps, we will also consider factors like modes of representation in terms of the symbols used as well as evidence of hierarchies of places. The project team includes members based at Liverpool, Queen’s University Belfast, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Boston College and the British Library. In addition to academic findings, the project will produce a freely-available resource to enable users to explore the maps and mapping of Britain.

Partner relationships, residential relocations and housing in the life course.(Liverpool team: Hill Kulu and Júlia Mikolai.) The aim of the project is to gain insight into the interactions between partner relationships on the one hand, and housing and residential relocations on the other, as they develop through people’s life courses and as they are situated in the social and institutional contexts of Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. The three-year project (2014–2017) is funded by DFG, ESRC and NWO under the ORA scheme and is conducted in collaboration with colleagues from the Universities of Groningen and Cologne. The project will improve our understanding of how partner relationships and housing careers evolve and interact in people’s life courses in industrialised societies in the context of increasing diversity of life trajectories. The results of the project could be used as input for household projections at national and regional levels, which are used for housing planning and resource allocation. The project will also identify the short- and long-term effects of partnership changes on housing conditions of individuals; the results will be important for policymakers to revise and develop policies in order to also meet the housing needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged population groups.

Population change and geographic inequalities in the UK, 1971–2011 (PI Chris Lloyd, Co-Is Gemma Catney, Alex Singleton and Paul Williamson): This ESRC-funded project explores how the population of the UK is, or has been, geographically distributed. The project is bringing a new and important perspective to debates about divisions, inequalities and the ways in which people in the UK live together or apart. It is addressing questions such as: are health inequalities between places greater now than in the past? What makes localities different — are they geographically distinguished more by housing tenure or health than they are by employment status or ethnicity? What areas have the greatest diversity of people and how has this changed between 1971 and 2011? To answer these questions, we will generate population surfaces from publicly available Census data for 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011 to enable direct comparisons between Censuses. The resource produced will be made freely-available and it is likely to be widely used by academic researchers, local and national government, amongst others.

The role of people and place in neighbourhood identity: Belonging and social inclusion: (PI Diane Frost (Sociology, Liverpool), Co-I Gemma Catney) funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, this project uses an area in South Liverpool to explore the inter-relationships between neighbourhood belonging, identity and community. The 'Toxteth' (Liverpool 8) area presents a useful case study for this research given its long-standing and growing diversity from migrant settlement. Liverpool 8 (L8) also witnessed a series of urban riots, rooted in social inequalities, racial discrimination and policing, which has reinforced community solidarity. The project explores questions including to what extent L8 composes different ‘sets’ of communities, with important distinctions and differences? Are neighbourhood identities influenced by social, geographical and political factors? What contributes to people’s sense of belonging to neighbourhood and how do their identities affect their lived experiences? The project will contribute to our understanding of the complex processes involved in neighbourhood belonging and inclusion. In addition to academic outputs, the project will conclude with a Pride of Place exhibition in the local community.

Changing Socio-Spatial Inequalities: Population change and the lived experience of inequality in urban South Africa (InequalitiesSA; ESRC and South African National Research Foundation funded):