The Problem

We live in an unequal city…

  • Nearly all (92%) of children in Bradway get 5 A -C GCSEs, compared to a quarter of children in Brightside.
  • People living in Crookesmoor die fourteen years younger than those living in Crosspool;
  • In Flower there are around 24 teenage pregnancies per 1000 , less than 5 in Fullwood.
  • Rates of mental health problems are three times higher in Netherthorpe than in Netheredge.
  • In Stubbin and Brushes seventeen babies will die for every thousand born, compared to nine in Shiregreen

Graphs showing correlation between wealth and health in Sheffield

The Spirit Level, written by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, explains how health and happiness are not linked to absolute wealth in economically developed countries. What does matter is the gap between rich and poor. The wider the gap, the more people think income defines your social position in life. The lower our social position, the more we are likely to suffer stress and depression. Because we always have someone around us who has more, there is always a level of stress. The level of income inequality in Sheffield is far higher than it would be in a more equal society, for example Sweden. A more equal Sheffield would place less stress upon the whole population and make it easier for people in different social positions to get along, and that would improve the health and everyday life of everyone.


5 thoughts on “The Problem”

  1. David Hiley said:

    Your information makes the same old suggestion that it is poverty that creates the problems in Brightside, Crookesmoor, Flower, Netherthorpe, Stubbin and Brushes rather than inequality. You fail to make the Spirit Level point that it is inequality that makes ALL levels of society worse off.

  2. It is said above that the gap affects everyone, but agree it could be clearer. It remains the case that those in poverty suffer the problems caused by inequality worse than the well off, that argument might be more familiar but the Spirit Level does much to show *why* relative poverty has such damaging effects.

    • David Hiley said:

      No, you’re missing my point, there is nothing in your Sheffield comparison to suggest that the differences between districts are due to inequality. To make the point that inequality, and not poverty, is the culprit we need to find a less unequal city similar in size and other characteristics to Sheffield, let’s call it Oslo, and look what happens there. We should find that the richer districts do better than the poorer ones (yes, even there) but both sets of figures are better than those from Sheffield. What you point out about Sheffield has been pointed out since the dawn of time by philanthropists and church people of all stamps. If we are to spread the theme of the Spirit Level we must always make a comparison between one example and a more equal one, or less equal one for that matter. If we compare Sheffield with Detroit we might find that Sheffield doesn’t look as bad. If you could find a less unequal city in the U.K. you could make a comparison with that, differences should be less and your point would be made, but they might not be statistically significant.
      Best wishes,
      Dave Hiley
      P.s. Or is it me that’s missing your point? Are you showing evidence that Crookesmoor is a more unequal district than Crosspool?

      • The argument is really carried on in “the solution”, but I get your point. I was searching for a graph that illustrated the point for ages, hence the delay in replying… have gone with the above and done some rewording. I agree the above association between wealth and health has been pointed out before, but it still worth making because a lot of people don’t realise how stark the differences are. Best wishes, Jason

  3. danny roberts said:

    All power to your campaign.

    Executive remuneration and the ‘star system’ (eg football) has gone crazy.

    Even if one is a capitalist – how can today’s CEO of a top corporation be ‘worth’ 400x his/her typical employee when in the equally (or more) capitalist 1960s the ratio was about 40x (and it’s even much worse now in so-called communist China) – that’s USA, UK is close. It was then about 5x in Sweden but now it’s less good — information culled from the capitalist ‘Economist’.

    ******Regarding the recent Sheffield ‘GO SWEDE’ pamphlet — reasonable choice of comparison BUT why put a picture of ABBA of all people on the front cover — extereme example of excessive wealth (put their earnings in companies, kept part offshore, at one time ‘bigger than Volvo’) – nice people, I’m sure, but typical example of what’s wrong.******


    ps surprised about Crookesmoor — I lived there until recently — not rich but much of it middle class (neighbours students, lecturers, nurses etc) — nothing like Parson’s Cross or Pitsmoor for example.

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