On average, people who move to London in their twenties earn a third more than those who stay in their local area, new research has found.
The research conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies (IEC) on behalf of the Social Mobility Commission found that "stayers" have an average gross monthly income of £1,739, while "movers" have an average gross monthly income of £2,327 – 33% more.
The report warns the government that the UK's "stark geographical inequalities in economic prosperity" must be tackled to ensure everyone has the same opportunities to "get on" in life.
The research also found that "stayers" are less likely to have a university degree than "movers" and less likely to have a professional or higher managerial job.
Whereas 39% of "stayers" were found to have this kind of job – which tends to be better paid – 59% of those who moved to London and the southeast in their twenties were found to have one.
"Our research highlights the clear benefits and advantages to moving by those who can afford to but also underlines the important cultural, personal and familial reasons why people may choose to stay in the area where they grew up," said the study's lead author, Dafni Papoutsaki.
However, Papoutsaki also noted that "those who move to affluent city centres do not necessarily have a better quality of life than those who stay where they grew up".
The research found that stayers are more likely to feel a strong sense of community and more likely to have got on the property ladder: 64% of stayers are homeowners compared with 55% of movers.
"In our combined efforts to rebuild the economy after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we must mitigate the trade-offs involved in becoming more socially mobile and ensure that opportunity relies much less on geography," she said. "People should not have to move to prosper."