Ethnic Residential Segregation and Assimilation in British Towns and Cities: a Comparison of those claiming Single and Du-al Ethnic Identities

Ron Johnston, Michael Poulsen, James Forrest


There is considerable public debate over the degree of residential segregation of members of ethnic minority groups in British urban areas. Some claim that this is increasing, others that with economic and social assimilation members of those minority groups are increasingly moving away from the areas of initial concentration. The implication is that the more assimilated are also the least segregated. To test whether this is the case, data from the 2001 British census are used to explore whether those who claim a mixed or dual ethnic identity – and who are assumed to be more assimilated than those who identify with one of the minority groups only – are less segregated residentially. The evidence overwhelmingly sustains that argument that they are. 


ethnic identity; residential segregation; assimilation

Full Text:



Bulmer, M. 1984: The Chicago School of sociology: institutionalisa-tion, diversity and the rise of sociological research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Burgess, E. W. and Bogue, D. J., editors, 1967: Urban sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cantle, T. 2005a: “Self-segregation is still divisive”. The Guardian, 21 January 2005: 26.

Cantle, T. 2005b: Community Cohesion: A New Framework for Race and Diversity. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Greater London Authority 2005: Patterns of Ethnic Segregation in London. London: Greater London Authority, Data Manage-ment and Analysis Group.

Holloway, S. R., Ellis, M., Wright, R. and Hudson, M. 2005: “Part-nering “out” and fitting in: residential segregation and the neighbourhood contexts of mixed-race households. Popula-tion, Space and Place 11, 299-324.

Johnston, R. J., Forrest, J. and Poulsen, M. F. 2002: “The ethnic geography of EthnicCities: The American model’ and resi-dential concentration in London”. Ethnicities 2, 209-235.

Johnston, R. J., Poulsen, M. F. and Forrest, J. 2002: “Are there eth-nic enclaves/ghettos in English cities?” Urban Studies 39, 591-618.

Johnston, R. J., Poulsen, M. F. and Forrest, J. 2004: The compara-tive study of ethnic residential segregation in the United States 1980-2000. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 95: 550-569

Noden, P. 2000: “Rediscovering the impact of marketisation: di-mensions of social segregation in England’s secondary schools, 1994-1999”. British Journal of Sociology of Education 21, 372-390.

Park, R. E. 1926: “The urban community as a spatial pattern and moral order”. In E. W. Burgess (ed.), The Urban Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Peach, C. 1996, ‘Does Britain have Ghettos?’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers NS21, 216-235.

Peach, C. 1997 “Pluralist and Assimilationist Models of Ethnic Settlement in London 1991”. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 88, 130-134.

Peach, C. 1999 “London and New York: Contrasts in British and American Models of Segregation”. International Journal of Population Geography, 5, 319-331.

Phillips, D. 2005: “Parallel lives? Changing discourses of British Muslim self-segregation”. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 23:

Poulsen, M. F., Johnston, R. J. and Forrest, J. 2001: “Intraurban ethnic enclaves: introducing a knowledge-based classifica-tion method”. Environment and Planning A, 33, 2071-2082.

Poulsen, M. 2005: The new geography of ethnicity in Britain. Pa-per given to the Royal Geographical Society annual con-ference, September 2005.

Ratcliffe, P. editor, 1996: Ethnicity in the 1991 Census: Social Geography and Ethnicity in Britain. London: HMSO.

Simpson, L. 2004: “Statistics of racial segregation: measures, evi-dence and policy”. Urban Studies, 41: 661-681.

Simpson, L. 2005: “On the measurement and meaning of residential segregation: a reply to Johnston, Poulsen and Forrest”. Ur-ban Studies, 42: 1229-1230.

Wright, R. 2006: “Mapping others”. Progress in Human Geography 30

Zelinsky, W. and Lee, B. A. 1998: “Heterolocalism: an alternative model of the sociospatial behaviour of immigrant ethnic communities”. International Journal of Population Geography 4: 281-298.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Transnational Press London

Copyright © 2003-2016 Migration Letters / Transnational Press London | All rights reserved | Contact Us