Does segregation reduce socio-spatial mobility? Evidence from four European countries with different inequality and segregation contexts

Jaap Nieuwenhuis, Tiit Tammaru, Maarten van Ham, Lina Hedman, David Manley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The neighbourhood in which people live reflects their social class and preferences, so studying socio-spatial mobility between neighbourhood types gives insight into the openness of spatial class structures of societies and into the ability of people to leave disadvantaged neighbourhoods. In this paper we study the extent to which people move between different types of neighbourhoods by socio-economic status in different inequality and segregation contexts in four European countries: Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK (England and Wales), and Estonia. The study is based on population registers and census data for the 2001–2011 period. For England and Wales, which has long had high levels of income inequalities and high levels of socio-economic segregation, we find that levels of mobility between neighbourhood types are low and opportunities to move to more socio-economically advantaged neighbourhoods are modest. In Estonia, which used to be one of the most equal and least segregated countries in Europe, and now is one of the most unequal countries, we find high levels of mobility, but these reproduce segregation patterns and it is difficult to move to less deprived neighbourhoods for those in the most deprived neighbourhoods. In the Netherlands and Sweden, where income inequalities are the smallest, it is the easiest to move from the most deprived to less deprived neighbourhoods. The conclusion is that the combination of high levels of income inequalities and high levels of spatial segregation tend to lead to a vicious circle of segregation for low-income groups, where it is difficult to undertake upward socio-spatial mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-197
Number of pages22
JournalUrban Studies
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • disadvantaged neighbourhoods
  • income inequality
  • international comparison
  • segregation
  • socio-spatial mobility

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