Suburbanisation or white flight? Assessing population redistribution trends from immigrant settlement areas after unprecedented international migration

Albert Sabater, Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Andreu Domingo, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

After a decade of unprecedented international migration, ethnic residential segregation has become a new social and political issue high on the Spanish policy agenda. Nonetheless, little is known about the effects of significant international migration in-flows to immigrant settlement areas and new destinations and the processes of population redistribution that shape sub-national geographies over time. This paper brings the concepts of suburbanisation and white flight into the debate of social integration and residential segregation in Spain by taking into consideration the causes and meanings of residential clustering and dispersal. Within a context of out-migration of nationals either as a consequence of suburbanisation or white-flight, residential segregation has generated disparities in public services and education thus confining immigrant groups to neighbourhoods with increasing levels of segregation and isolation. The objectives of this paper are two-fold. First, we provide an analysis of the emerging patterns of immigrant settlement in various locations by examining geographic diversity and population change in selected municipalities which have experienced significant streams of immigration, thus contributing to population growth in situ and, therefore, to a degree of segregation and isolation. Second, we analyse the level and direction of change in residential segregation and migration between 2001 and 2008 of immigrant groups compared to nationals as a way to assess whether recent population redistribution trends indicate continued suburbanisation or white flight. The paper builds on the demography body of work in this area internationally. For this purpose, analyses of in- and out- migration between small areas (municipalities) and residential segregation across neighbourhoods are carried out for selected municipalities in Catalonia using flow data (Residential Variation Statistics) and population data from the Municipal Register between 2001 and 2008.

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Presented in Session 89: Internal mobility of international migrants

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