Links between socio-economic and ethnic segregation at different spatial scales: a comparison between the Netherlands and Belgium

Bart Sleutjes, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Rafael Costa, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Socio-economic and ethnic segregation have often been studied separately. Furthermore, comparisons across countries are difficult to make with the common measures of segregation at the neighborhood level. This paper proposes an innovative measure of segregation, by defining neighbourhoods from around individuals instead of being based on administrative borders, (‘individualized’ neighbourhoods) allowing a direct comparison of segregation levels across cities and countries. Applying this method we compare segregation and the links between socio-economic and ethnic segregation (focusing especially on persons with a non-EU background) in four metropolitan areas in The Netherlands and Belgium. For each country we take both the capital cities (Amsterdam and Brussels) and two main port cities (Rotterdam and Antwerp) because of their differences in terms of socio-economic composition as well as their migrant population and migration histories. In the paper we focus on both the overlap between spatial patterns related to socio-economic segregation and ethnic segregation, as well as differences in segregation levels and patterns across spatial scales. The results show that segregation patterns of non-EU residents closely correspond to those for indicators of low socio-economic status. Also we find that segregation is manifested at very small spatial scales, while segregation patterns change with an increase in scale level.

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Presented in Session 44: Cross-national comparisons of internal migration