Residential mobility in divided societies: How individual religion and geographical context influenced housing moves in Northern Ireland 2001-2011

Ian Shuttleworth, Brian Foley, Myles Gould, Tony Champion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Residential segregation is pervasive in many societies. People making residential moves in these divided contexts may increase or decrease segregation levels. In this paper, the divided society of Northern Ireland is used as an example to explore how residential mobility relates to residential segregation by religion. Survey evidence for this country consistently shows a preference for mixed neighbourhoods, yet actual patterns of geographical mobility suggest people move to same-religion areas. The paper uses the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) to explore the individual and contextual factors that influence the destinations of internal migrants by religion between 2001 and 2011. How they move up or down the contextual ‘religion ladder’ of localities is modelled with reference to both their individual socio-demographic and neighbourhood characteristics in 2001. It is found that there are still individual religious differentials in people’s destinations. Catholics, for instance, are more likely than Protestants to move to more Catholic areas, suggesting that individual religion remains important despite the Peace Process. Some possible reasons for this are considered with a partial explanation being found in the geographical patterning of the population. Existing patterns of residential segregation constrain moves in religious space for the majority of people. It is concluded, nevertheless, that an individual’s religion remains a considerable factor contrary to expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Publication statusAccepted - 01 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • residential mobility
  • Northern Ireland
  • longitudinal data
  • religion
  • spatial autocorrelation

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