Identifying double energy vulnerability: A systematic and narrative review of groups at-risk of energy and transport poverty in the global north

Neil Simcock*, Kirsten E. H. Jenkins, Max Lacey-Barnacle, Mari Martiskainen, Giulio Mattioli, Debbie Hopkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of ‘double energy vulnerability’ has recently be proposed to describe a circumstance whereby people are at heightened risk of energy poverty and transport poverty simultaneously – a particularly severe form of energy injustice. However, analysis of which people and places are most likely to experience this phenomenon remains limited. This paper begins to address this via a review of academic literature, aiming to pinpoint the overlapping socio-demographic and spatial factors that can increase vulnerability to both energy and transport poverty and thereby identify those most at-risk of experiencing double energy vulnerability. A systematic review of an extensive 5-year sample period is complemented by a narrative review of key papers. Combined, this encompasses a state-of-the-art analysis of 250 papers across 8 different academic databases. We find several overlaps in the socio-demographic groups rendered most vulnerable to energy and transport poverty, including people on low-incomes, older people, households with children or dependents, people with pre-existing health conditions or disabilities, women and people from ethnic minorities. Spatially, however, there are more differences and contextual variation between the two problems, with inner-urban areas generally posing greater risks for energy poverty and suburban areas for transport poverty. Rural areas appear to be the spatial settings that have the greatest overlap in vulnerability. Overall, our results indicate that the highest level of double energy vulnerability is among households that face a combination of multiple socio-demographic disadvantages alongside relative spatial peripheralisation. We signal future research directions and policy implications arising from these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102351
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Early online date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • energy vulnerability
  • fuel poverty
  • energy poverty
  • transport poverty
  • systematic review
  • narrative review


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