Spatial inequality

Spatial inequality refers to the unequal distribution of income and resources across geographical regions.[1] Attributable to local differences in infrastructure, geographical features (presence of mountains, coastlines, particular climates, etc.) and economies of agglomeration,[2] such inequality remains central to public policy discussions regarding economic inequality more broadly.[1]

Whilst jobs located in urban areas tend to have higher nominal wages (unadjusted for differences in price levels or inflation) than rural areas, the cost-of-living and availability of skilled work correlates to regional divergences in real income and output.[2] Additionally, the spatial component of public infrastructure affects access to quality healthcare and education (key elements of human capital and worker productivity, which directly impacts economic well-being).[3]

Variation in both natural resource composition and quality of regional infrastructure are traditionally considered to be motivating factors for migration patterns between urban cities and rural areas.[4] This, in turn, impacts the concentration of specific industries and sectors within a given area, as well as the investment choices made by local governments, thus perpetuating spatially-based disparities.[4] However, there remain significant challenges in carrying out empirical research to quantify these disparities (particularly within a given nation, as opposed to across different nations), due to lack of region-specific datasets,[5][6] the level of geographical disaggregation required to reveal such trends,[7] as well as the inherent differences in incomes and living costs across different communities.[2][8]


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