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Social Statistics

Graham Burvill


Financial Insecurity in the UK: Debt, decision making and financial resilience amongst low income families

PhD summary

My research seeks to develop new understandings of how those on low incomes manage their household financial decision making across the life course. The study is a response to increasing levels of poverty and debt in the UK and the limited provisions those from low income backgrounds experience in their everyday lives. My multidisciplinary PhD aims to investigate how people make financial decisions through examining socio-demographic and household determinants, financial behaviours, attitudes, and psycho-social factors that may contribute to aspects of debt and financial insecurity. Secondly, using an exploratory analysis to investigate financial resilience and the strategies low income families use to avoid debt. Lastly to suggest ways that low income individuals and families can be better supported in their financial decisions. My research will use both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the mechanisms behind debt and financial decision making.

This CASE PhD is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through the North West Doctoral Training Centre in collaboration with the Citizens Advice Bureau, an advice charity which provides free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems.


October 2018 – October 2021 


ESRC NWDTC CASE +3 Studentship



I joined the University of Manchester in September 2018 as a PhD student in Social Statistics funded by an NWDTCP ESRC CASE +3 Studentship in collaboration with the Citizens Advice Bureau. 

I am a graduate with a Master of Science in Applied Quantitative Methods from Manchester Metropolitan University, with funding awarded by the MMU Q-Step Centre in 2016. My background is in management having worked a decade in industry with my original studies being in digital media and social sciences, having earned a first-class BA (hons) from Liverpool John Moore’s University, followed by a Certificate from the University of Cambridge.

During my masters I was involved in multidisciplinary applied research and training, as well as working at the university in faculty wide digital communications and departmental web support. In addition, I was part of a small research team involved in assisting a local charity; Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH) to assess the support needs of hard to reach online workers. Alongside providing a review of literature I conducted analysis on the issues faced by online sex workers. The aim of this research was to inform the provision of a up and running netreach service, that serves to meet the highlighted needs of its users around safety, wellbeing and advice. 

My interests are on social policy, with my master’s dissertation titled ‘Social Capital and Civic Action’. The study involved the use of multivariate statistical modelling to understand the relationship between structural and attitudinal factors of social networks and trust, with people’s involvement in civic actions. Using a government dataset, the study proposed key recommendations for policy.

Contact details

Office: Humanities Bridgeford Street, Room G.45