Volume 34 - Article 41 | Pages 1161–1192

Types of spatial mobility and change in people's ethnic residential contexts

By Kadi Mägi, Kadri Leetmaa, Tiit Tammaru, Maarten van Ham

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Date received:08 Dec 2015
Date published:28 Jun 2016
Word count:7575
Keywords:Estonia, ethnic segregation, intra-urban moves, migration, spatial integration, suburbanisation


Background: Most studies of the ethnic composition of destination neighbourhoods after residential moves do not take into account the types of moves people have made. However, from an individual perspective, different types of moves may result in neighbourhood environments which differ in terms of their ethnic composition from those in which the individuals previously lived.

Objective: We investigate how the ethnic residential context changes for individuals as a result of different types of mobility (immobility, intra-urban mobility, suburbanisation, and long-distance migration) for residents of the segregated post-Soviet city of Tallinn. We compare the extent to which Estonian and Russian speakers integrate in residential terms.

Methods: Using unique longitudinal Census data (2000-2011) we tracked changes in the individual ethnic residential context of both groups.

Results: We found that the moving destinations of Estonian and Russian speakers diverge. When Estonians move, their new neighbourhood generally possesses a lower percentage of Russian speakers compared with when Russian speakers move, as well as compared with their previous neighbourhoods. For Russian speakers, the percentage of other Russian speakers in their residential surroundings decreases only for those who move to the rural suburbs or who move over longer distances to rural villages.

Contribution: By applying a novel approach of tracking the changes in the ethnic residential context of individuals for all mobility types, we were able to demonstrate that the two largest ethnolinguistic groups in Estonia tend to behave as ‘parallel populations’ and that residential integration remains slow.

Author's Affiliation

Kadi Mägi - Tartu Ülikool, Estonia [Email]
Kadri Leetmaa - Tartu Ülikool, Estonia [Email]
Tiit Tammaru - Tartu Ülikool, Estonia [Email]
Maarten van Ham - Delft University of Technology, Netherlands [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» The temporal stability of children's neighborhood experiences: A follow-up from birth to age 15
Volume 36 - Article 59

» Ethnic differences in integration levels and return migration intentions: A study of Estonian migrants in Finland
Volume 30 - Article 13

» Residential mobility and migration of the separated
Volume 17 - Article 21

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