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Ethnic Minority Unemployment and Spatial Mismatch: The Case of London


  • Edward A. Fieldhouse

    (Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, Faculty of Economic and Social Studies, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK,


Unemployment amongst Britain's ethnic minorities is approximately twice that of the white population. Spatial mismatch theory suggests that the concentration of the ethnic minority population in declining inner-city areas may be partially responsible for part of this disparity. Alternative explanations include different population characteristics and racial discrimination. This paper uses data from the 1991 Census to explore the geography of minority ethnic unemployment in Greater London and attempts to evaluate the importance of the geographical distribution of ethnic minorities (and other factors) in understanding unemployment differences. It is argued that spatial mismatch provides an unsatisfactory explanation of Asian unemployment in London and, at best, a partial explanation of black unemployment. Rather, there is a complex interrelationship between unemployment, ethnicity and spatial location which is mediated by the local context.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward A. Fieldhouse, 1999. "Ethnic Minority Unemployment and Spatial Mismatch: The Case of London," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 36(9), pages 1569-1596, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:36:y:1999:i:9:p:1569-1596

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    Cited by:

    1. Neumark, David & Simpson, Helen, 2015. "Place-Based Policies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 1197-1287, Elsevier.
    2. GOBILLON Laurent & SELOD Harris, 2007. "The effects of segregation and spatial mismatch on unemployment: evidence from France," Research Unit Working Papers 0702, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
    3. Picard, Pierre M. & Zenou, Yves, 2018. "Urban spatial structure, employment and social ties," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 77-93.
    4. Sami Miaari & Nabil Khattab & Ron Johnston, 2019. "Religion and ethnicity at work: a study of British Muslim women’s labour market performance," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 53(1), pages 19-47, January.
    5. Emília Malcata Rebelo, 2010. "Does Urban Concentration/Dispersion Affect Immigrants' Professional Opportunities? The case of the Porto Metropolitan Area," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 586-610, September.
    6. Alivon, Fanny & Guillain, Rachel, 2018. "Urban segregation and unemployment: A case study of the urban area of Marseille – Aix-en-Provence (France)," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 143-155.
    7. Johnson, Daniel & Ercolani, Marco & Mackie, Peter, 2017. "Econometric analysis of the link between public transport accessibility and employment," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1-9.
    8. Mark Tranmer & Andrew Pickles & Ed Fieldhouse & Mark Elliot & Angela Dale & Mark Brown & David Martin & David Steel & Chris Gardiner, 2005. "The case for small area microdata," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(1), pages 29-49, January.

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