Interrogating segregation: re-examining socio-economic inequalities of South Asians in the UK

Nisha Kapoor, University of Manchester

Analysis of socio-economic outcomes for ethnic groups in the UK has found the persistence of inequality for ethnic minorities compared to the White British group at a national level. At the same time debates regarding the segregation of racialised minorities have re-emerged in the western world to inform the discourse surrounding the integration of these groups. The meaning and effect of segregation is much contested with evidence to show positive and negative associations between co-ethnic concentration and socio-economic outcomes. This paper argues that many of the high South Asian concentration neighbourhoods are areas of original settlement and should be viewed in this context. Here empirical analysis focuses on the inequality at the neighbourhood level for the South Asian ethnic groups in the UK. Indicators of co-ethnic concentration and deprivation are used to describe the neighbourhood and three different domains of inequality are examined- unemployment, poor health and qualification levels. I find that inequality is persistent across all neighbourhood types and is explained very little by co-ethnic concentration or neighbourhood deprivation. Unemployment inequality is worst in affluent neighbourhoods, health inequality is worst in deprived neighbourhoods and education inequality is worst in deprived neighbourhoods that have high co ethnic concentrations. The co-ethnic concentration or ‘segregation’ of a neighbourhood explains very little of the inequality that exists for South Asians in the UK.

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Presented in Session 64: Spatial Distribution of Immigrants and Ethnic Groups