A regional problem exists when there are substantial inequalities in the standards of living experienced by people living in different regions of a country. The most obvious manifestation of regional inequality occurs in the labour market, where certain regions consistently experience below national average levels of income and above average rates of unemployment. Thus in 1979–80 average household income in Great Britain was £134 per week, but regionally it varied from £117 per week in Yorkshire and Humberside to £153 per week in the South East. Similarly the national unemployment rate in 1980 was 7.4 per cent but this varied from 10.9 per cent in the North to 4.8 per cent in the South East. (For the UK as a whole the most depressed region was Northern Ireland, with an average household income of £113 per week and an unemployment rate of 13.7 per cent: Regional Trends, Central Statistical Office, 1982.) Associated with a lack of job opportunities, depressed regions often experience the out-migration of young, mobile workers and, as a consequence, are left with a population containing an above average number of elderly and dependent individuals.
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