Immigrants and residential segregation

Authored by: Joe T. Darden , Havia Cristaldi

Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415779722
eBook ISBN: 9780203863299
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183493


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Residential segregation refers to unequal access of two population groups to housing. Housing is a basic necessity to life. All immigrants seek access to it when they arrive in their host country. What most immigrants find is that equal access to housing tends to be a function of the differences between their characteristics and those of the larger society. Because access is unequal, the residential pattern of housing tends to be segregated on the basis of race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, and age. The overall pattern of immigrant housing in global metropolitan areas in the United States, Canada, and selected metropolitan areas in Europe is one of residential segregation. Thus, the most important question is not whether residential segregation exists, but how much exists? The second important question is what are the causes of immigrant residential segregation in the various countries? For sure, segregated housing can lead to segregation in other areas of life—schooling, employment, recreation, and access to quality neighborhoods. Thus, residential segregation can lead to inequality and subordination and limit the options for social mobility of an immigrant group by consigning the group to inferior schools and neighborhoods of low-paying jobs and housing.

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