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Ethnic segregation in The Netherlands: An analysis at neighbourhood level


  • Joop Hartog
  • Aslan Zorlu


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to describe the degree of ethnic residential segregation and diversification in Dutch neighbourhoods. Design/methodology/approach - Using data on neighbourhood level, the authors calculate segregation and diversification indices, and illustrate the distribution of main origin groups by cumulative distribution functions. A preliminary analysis is conducted to quantify the relationship between neighbourhood ethnic composition and economic outcomes (income and welfare dependency). Findings - No evidence is found on the existence of mono-ethnic neighbourhoods in The Netherlands. The higher concentration of non-Western immigrants in the large cities occurs in neighbourhoods with a high degree of diversity from several origins. An apparent strong correlation between the concentration of non-Western immigrants and the prevalence of social benefits is likely due to the composition effect. The findings counter the public opinion that ghetto-like neighbourhoods are dominant. They suggest that neighbourhood housing composition plays possibly an important role to attract immigrants with a weak socio-economic position, who are often from a variety of non-Western countries, rather than from a single origin. Practical implications - Social policies aimed at improving neighbourhood quality affect non-Western immigrants from different source countries simultaneously, as they tend to live together in immigrant neighbourhoods. But integration policies targeted at neighbourhoods are insufficient, as many immigrants live in areas with low immigrant density: policies targeted at individuals (and families) remain indispensable. Originality/value - This is the first paper to document segregation and diversity in The Netherlands, using unique neighbourhood level data. Applying cumulative distribution functions to these issues is also novel.

Suggested Citation

  • Joop Hartog & Aslan Zorlu, 2009. "Ethnic segregation in The Netherlands: An analysis at neighbourhood level," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(1/2), pages 15-25, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:1/2:p:15-25

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