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Parallel lives? Ethnic segregation in schools and neighbourhoods


  • Burgess, Simon
  • Wilson, Deborah
  • Lupton, Ruth


We provide evidence on the extent of ethnic segregation experienced by children across secondary schools and neighbourhoods (wards). Using 2001 Schools Census and Population Census data we employ the indices of dissimilarity and isolation and compare patterns of segregation across nine ethnic groups, and across Local Education Authorities in England. Looking at both schools and neighbourhoods, we find high levels of segregation for the different groups, along with considerable variation across England. We find consistently higher segregation for South Asian pupils than for Black pupils. For most ethnic groups children are more segregated at school than in their neighbourhood. We analyse the relative degree of segregation and show that high population density is associated with high relative school segregation.

Suggested Citation

  • Burgess, Simon & Wilson, Deborah & Lupton, Ruth, 2005. "Parallel lives? Ethnic segregation in schools and neighbourhoods," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6255, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6255

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon Burgess & Deborah Wilson, 2003. "Ethnic Segregation in England's Schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/086, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
    3. Borjas, George J., 1998. "To Ghetto or Not to Ghetto: Ethnicity and Residential Segregation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 228-253, September.
    4. Charles T. Clotfelter, 2001. "Are Whites Still Fleeing? Racial Patterns and Enrollment Shifts in Urban Public Schools, 1987-1996," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 199-221.
    5. Bayer, Patrick & McMillan, Robert & Rueben, Kim S., 2004. "What drives racial segregation? New evidence using Census microdata," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 514-535, November.
    6. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1998. "Public School Segregation in Metropolitan Areas," Working Papers 98-12, Duke University, Department of Economics.
    7. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. McKinney, Scott & Schnare, Ann B., 1989. "Trends in residential segregation by race: 1960-1980," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 269-280, November.
    9. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
    10. Simon Burgess & Brendon McConnell & Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2004. "Sorting and Choice in English Secondary Schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 04/111, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    11. Steven G. Rivkin, 2000. "School Desegregation, Academic Attainment, and Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 333-346.
    12. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
    13. Simon Burgess & Ron Johnston & Deborah Wilson, 2003. "School segregation in multi-ethnic England," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/092, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schneeweis, Nicole, 2015. "Immigrant concentration in schools: Consequences for native and migrant students," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 63-76.
    2. Verena Dill & Uwe Jirjahn & Georgi Tsertsvadze, 2015. "Residential Segregation and Immigrants’ Satisfaction with the Neighborhood in Germany," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(2), pages 354-368, June.
    3. Leonardo Becchetti & Andrew E. Clark & Elena Giachin Ricca, 2011. "The Value of Diplomacy: Bilateral Relations and Immigrant Well-Being," CEIS Research Paper 190, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 29 Mar 2011.
    4. Jeroen Lavrijsen & Ides Nicaise, 2016. "Ascription, Achievement, and Perceived Equity of Educational Regimes: An Empirical Investigation," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(4), pages 1-18, October.
    5. Panebianco, Fabrizio, 2014. "Socialization networks and the transmission of interethnic attitudes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 583-610.

    More about this item


    education; sorting;

    JEL classification:

    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination


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