Exploring a decade of small area ethnic (de-)segregation in England and Wales

Gemma Catney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Claims of the self-segregation of minority ethnic groups during the early 2000s were much critiqued in the British academic literature, which pointed instead to decreasing ethnic segregation via the rather benign demographic processes of births and deaths, and internal migration from urban clusters. Despite the attention that these opposing debates received, a detailed study of change in ethnic residential segregation during the period has yet to be undertaken for the whole of England and Wales, and the recent release of 2011 Census data has now made this possible. This paper contributes to the literature by providing a systematic overview of national-level change in residential segregation in a changing socio-political climate, considering how minority ethnic distributions have altered in the last decade. The paper explores the specific case of England and Wales, but in doing so makes a contribution to our understanding of the contemporary evolution of ethnic geographies and the dynamics of diverse places, beyond this specific region. Using a commonly employed measure of spatial unevenness, the Index of Dissimilarity, at the smallest possible geographical level, the findings demonstrate how there has been increased residential mixing between each ethnic group (the White British majority and all minority groups), and that urban locales have experienced a decrease in segregation between 2001 and 2011. The findings disturb the association of ethnic diversity with ethnic divisions in (particularly urban) space and provide support for the somewhat ‘every day’ processes of de-segregation, rather than a cause for concern over increasingly entrenched neighbourhoods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1691-1709
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number8
Early online date25 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2016


  • census
  • diversity
  • ethnic group
  • population change
  • residential segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring a decade of small area ethnic (de-)segregation in England and Wales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this