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Trajectories of Neighborhood Change: Spatial Patterns of Increasing Ethnic Diversity


  • Zwiers, Merle

    () (Delft University of Technology)

  • van Ham, Maarten

    () (Delft University of Technology)

  • Manley, David

    () (University of Bristol)


Western cities are increasingly ethnically diverse and in most cities the share of ethnic minorities is growing. Studies analyzing changing ethnic geographies often limit their analysis to changes in ethnic concentrations in neighborhoods between two points in time. Such a static approach limits our understanding of pathways of ethnic neighborhood change, and of the underlying factors contributing to change. This paper analyzes full trajectories of neighborhood change in the four largest cities in the Netherlands between 1999 and 2013. Our modelling strategy categorizes neighborhoods based on their unique growth trajectories of the ethnic population composition, providing a longitudinal view of ethnic segregation. Our results show that the ethnic composition in neighborhoods remains relatively stable over time. We find evidence for a slow trend towards deconcentration of ethnic minorities and increased (spatial) population mixing in most neighborhoods. We show how residential mobility decreases segregation, while natural population growth tends to reinforce segregation. While the ethnic minority presence in cities grows, there is a substantial share of neighborhoods which can be identified as white citadels; characterized by a stable large native population, with high incomes and high house values. These neighborhoods seem to be inaccessible to ethnic minorities, which illustrates the spatial manifestation of exclusionary elitism in increasingly ethnically diverse cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Zwiers, Merle & van Ham, Maarten & Manley, David, 2016. "Trajectories of Neighborhood Change: Spatial Patterns of Increasing Ethnic Diversity," IZA Discussion Papers 10216, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10216

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    More about this item


    ethnic segregation; neighborhood trajectories; population dynamics; latent class growth modelling; longitudinal study;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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