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Free website shows how post code lottery affects young people's futures

A website capturing whether 18-year-olds across England are likely to be in education, employment or training based on their post codes has been launched following research by the University of Sheffield.

Professor Danny Dorling of the University’s Department of Geography helped develop the website – www.comparefutures.org – which will allow young people to compare life chances by post code.

The pioneering analysis proves how young people’s life chances are determined by where they are born and grow up.  The site has been launched by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies based on work by researchers at the University of Sheffield and the University of Brighton and funded by the Nominet Trust.

Professor Danny Dorling of the University of Sheffield said: "There are huge inequalities between young people’s life chances that increasingly depend on where they are born. These inequalities are currently growing.”

The site will help highlight the stark contrast between what young people in different parts of England are mostly likely to be doing at the age of 18 and new statistics reveal that nationally, the proportion of 16 to 18 year olds not in education, employment or training has risen by eight per cent.

For instance, the data reveals that young people in Erdington, North East Birmingham are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as their peers in wealthy South Kensington.

In addition, despite being just 20 miles apart, young people in affluent Harrogate are seven times as likely to go to an elite university than their counterparts in Bradford. This demonstrates clearly the lack of social mobility in the UK.

Users can find detailed breakdowns by education, employment, training and caring responsibilities. In addition, they can compare the futures of teenagers in different areas, as well as comparing an area with the England average. A simple free registration module also allows users to save their comparisons, share them with friends through Twitter and Facebook, and contact their Member of Parliament to lobby for action.

Key features of www.comparefutures.org include complex data presented in accessible and visually engaging formats, and the ability to compare likely futures by postcode. Comparisons can be made between areas and with the England average and users can save comparisons and share them with friends, and contact Members of Parliament to raise awareness and lobby for action.

Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said: "We are taught that life is what you make it, that the able will succeed, regardless of background. The website shows that where you are born and where you grow up has a huge influence on where you end up.  It will help young people and their families lobby their MPs to challenge the postcode lottery.”