Rural ageing and equality
Drawing on data from the ESRC funded research programme Grey and Pleasant Land? An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Connectivity of Older People in Rural Civic Society (GaPL) this chapter examines ageing and inequality in rural areas of the United Kingdom. It explores the intersectionality of rural area with age, gender, marital status, health, and socio-economic status in relation to distribution of resources, recognition, and representation of rural older people. Rural areas are described in terms of their population density and nearness to urban locations; level of deprivation; resource dependency; and population turnover/stability. The roles of rural areas are explored in relation to the distribution of material resources of older people. Recognition through social status is captured by the extent one can meet certain lifestyle expectations, thus we examine the relationship between rural area, and participation in the social life of communities. Representation flows from civic engagement in the community, but also the degree to which elected officials represent the voices of rural elders and is examined through trust in local officials and the strength of local concerns. Overall, we observe that participants living in the most remote and deprived areas have fewer material resources, greater levels of poverty, lower levels of social participation and resources, and lower levels of civic participation and trust in local officials, but more local concerns than those in the more affluent and accessible areas. We conclude that the most rural and remote areas are mis-recognised in popular, media and policy conceptions of the countryside.