Accessibility statement

Dr Michael Hirst

BA (Liverpool); PhD (Liverpool), DipSocAdmin (York)

  • Honorary Fellow


Areas of expertise

  • Unpaid caregiving
  • Social security, employment and disability
  • Bereavement
  • Quantitative methods

Academic biography

Before retiring, I was a Research Fellow in the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York. After graduating in geography from the University of Liverpool, I lectured at Makerere University, Uganda and the University of Western Australia. I have also held short-term appointments with the Department of General Practice, University of Manchester, and the Ethnicity and Social Policy Research Unit, University of Bradford. 

Professional activities

  • Formerly Carers UK trustee
  • Partners' Council, Social Care Institute for Excellence
  • ESRC referee and rapporteur
  • Journal referee
  • Member of research project advisory committees


 Research interests

My research interests in social policy span more than 25 years. Most projects focused on health, employment, financial, and social costs of disability, unpaid care, and bereavement, and the delivery of community health, social services and welfare benefits to disabled children, disabled adults, and carers. I’ve also contributed to research on practice nurses and religious organisations. I have considerable experience of quantitative methods and advanced statistical analysis of complex data sets including longitudinal methods, scaling, and knowledge-based systems.


Hirst M (2022) Preferential places in the Manchester and Stockport Methodist District during the early twenty-first century. Wesley and Methodist Studies, 14, 72-95.

Hirst M (2021) Being good neighbours: placing Methodist manses for ministry. Theology and Ministry, 7, 55-74.

Hirst M (2018) Solidarity with the poor? Positioning the Church of the Nazarene in England in 2003 and 2013. Wesley and Methodist Studies, 10, 66-84.

Hirst M (2017) Clergy in place in England: bias to the poor or inverse care law? Population, Space and Place, 23 (8).

Parker G, Kampanellou E, Beresford B, Hirst, M (2017) The Changing Face of Caring: Secondary Analysis of the 1985 General Household Survey and the 2009/10 Survey of Carers in Households. Working Paper No. 2677, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York.

Parker G, Kampanellou E, Beresford B, Hirst, M (2017) Disability, Care and Participation: secondary analysis of the Life Opportunities Survey. Working Paper No. 2676, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York.

Hirst M (2016) Poverty, place and presence: positioning Methodism in England, 2001 to 2011, Theology and Ministry, 4, 4.1-4.25.

Corden A, Hirst M (2015) The Meaning of Funeral Poverty: An Exploratory Study. Working Paper No. 2668, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York.

Hirst, M (2014) Transitions into and out of unpaid care. Working Paper No. 2644, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York.

Corden A, Hirst M (2013) Financial constituents of family bereavement, Family Science, 4, 59-65.

Corden A, Hirst M (2013) Economic components of grief, Death Studies, 37, 725-749.

Hirst M (2012) The British Household Panel Survey: a longitudinal perspective on unpaid carers, pp. 222-225, in Becker S, Bryman A, Ferguson H (eds.) Understanding Research for Social Policy and Social Work. Bristol, Policy Press.

Corden A, Hirst M (2011) Partner care at the end-of-life: identity, language and characteristics, Ageing and Society, 31, 217-242.

Hirst M, Corden A (2010) Change in living arrangements following death of a partner in England and Wales, 1971 to 2001, Population Trends, 141, 130-150.

Corden A, Hirst M, Nice K (2010) Death of a partner: financial implications and experience of loss, Bereavement Care, 29, 23-28.

Corden A, Hirst M (2008) Implementing a mixed methods approach to explore the financial implications of death of a life partner, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 2, 208-220.

Arksey H, Corden A, Glendinning C, Hirst M (2008) Managing money in later life: help from relatives and friends, Benefits: the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 16, 47-59.

Parker G, Grebe C, Hirst M, Hendey N, Pascall G (2007) Double Discrimination? Gender and disability in access to the labour market. Working Paper No. 2237, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York.

Hirst M (2005) Estimating the prevalence of unpaid adult care over time, Research, Policy and Planning, 23, 1-16.

Hirst M (2005) Carer distress: a prospective, population-based study, Social Science and Medicine, 61, 697-708.

Hirst M, Thornton P (2005) Disabled people in public sector employment, 1998 to 2004, Labour Market Trends, 113, 189-199.

Arksey H, Hirst M (2005) Unpaid carers’ access to and use of primary care services, Primary Health Care Research and Development, 6, 101-116.

Hirst M (2003) Caring-related inequalities in psychological distress in Britain during the 1990s, Journal of Public Health Medicine, 25, 336-343.

Hirst M (2002) Transitions to informal care in Great Britain during the 1990s, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 56, 579-587.

Saunders P, Bradshaw J, Hirst M (2002) Using household expenditure to develop an income poverty line, Social Policy and Administration, 36, 217-234.

Baldwin S, Hirst M (2002) Children as carers, pp. 153-166, in Bradshaw J (ed.) The Well-being of Children in the UK. London, Save the Children Fund.

Hirst M (2002) Costing adult care: comments on the ONS valuation of unpaid adult care, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York.

Hirst M (2001) Trends in informal care in Great Britain during the 1990s, Health and Social Care in the Community, 9, 348-357.

Arksey H, Hirst M (2001) Taking care of the carers, General Practitioner, 36-37 (27 April).

Arksey H, Hirst M (2001) Why GPs are best placed to support the work of carers, General Practitioner, 34-35 (20 April).

Hirst M, Arksey H (2000) Informal carers count, Nursing Standard, 14, 42, 33-34.

Hirst M, Hutton S (2000) Informal care over time, Benefits: Social Security Research, Policy and Practice, 28, 9-12.

Michael Hirst

Contact details

Dr Michael Hirst
Honorary Fellow
School for Business and Society