Rethinking ethnic segregation dynamically
Nissa Finney, University of Manchester
Ludi Simpson, University of Manchester
There is renewed debate about the measurement and meaning of ethnic residential segregation across Europe, partly resulting from the period of ‘new migration’ and ‘superdiversity’ and party due to changing socio-political contexts. Politically, there are assumptions that ethnic clustering is undesirable and is the result of retreat of ethnic groups from each other. This paper builds on an emerging strand of literature that calls for a shift in emphasis from measures of segregation based on ethnic composition to processes of population change. Firstly, a census-based time series of population for Great Britain is used to explore local population dynamics for ethnic groups, showing how the ethnic mosaic can be explained by benign natural change and ethnically undifferentiated migration experiences. Secondly, this dynamic approach is used to critique conceptualisations of residential segregation and the links between spatial and other forms of segregation. Methodologically, the paper demonstrates the possibility and potential of decomposing population change into net migration and natural change by ethnic group, age and sex for small areas. Conceptually it challenges established thinking about the meaning of spatial segregation.