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Project: ResSegr

Residential segregation in five European countries - A comparative study using individualized scalable neighbourhoods

JPI Urban Europe (Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe) has funded this collaborative research on residential segregation in Europe 2014–2016 in which NIDI is a partner. The project involves advanced spatial methods and register-based geographic and demographic research. It builds on Swedish research experience that is now extended to other countries with similarly good infrastructures in terms of register data.

Residential segregation, or the physical separation of groups into different neighbourhoods, may have negative effects, such as decreased chances on the labour market among minority groups. There is however no accepted standard for segregation measurement, mostly as the geographical areas concerned differ much in size and distribution. We apply an innovative measure of segregation, where neighbourhoods are defined from around individuals instead of being based on administrative borders. Our new measures of socio-economic and ethnic segregation will be comparable across cities and countries, and may be used by academics and practitioners in order to combat segregation and its negative effects.

This project employs an innovative technology for urban analysis that addresses a main concern of contemporary urban policy: urban residential segregation and its effects on social inclusion. International comparisons of residential segregation and the effectiveness of various strategies are lacking, because segregation is spatially complex and because geographical units of analysis are different in size and distribution. Our innovative approach uses the increased availability of geocoded individual data to construct individualized scalable neighbourhoods to measure segregation. For comparative research, the advantage of using egocentric neighbourhoods with a predetermined number of neighbours is that it allows direct comparison across national and urban contexts. In ResSegr we will compute measures of socio-demographic segregation based on such neighbourhoods for urban areas in Europe. In particular, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Norway will be compared. Based on these measurements, we will compare patterns of segregation, evaluate theories about the driving forces of residential segregation and examine effects of area-based programmes on segregation. The method has proven very successful using Swedish micro data. By creating a European database on segregation measures we will enable public and private actors to assess patterns of segregation in places with different political and economic systems and give tools to fight this substantial threat to social cohesion and the welfare state.

International partners

  • Stockholm University, Department of Human Geography (Coordinator ResSegr)
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Interface Demography
  • Statistics Denmark
  • University of Oslo, Department of Sociology and Human Geography


Sleutjes, B. & Ooijevaar, J. (2016),
Segregatie op kleine schaal; Surinamers in Amsterdam en Turken in Almelo. Demos: bulletin over bevolking en samenleving 32 (10): 4-7. [URL]
Sleutjes, B.W.H. & Valk, H.A.G. de (2015),
Residential segregation patterns of migrant groups in Dutch cities: The role of scale. NIDI Working Paper no. 2015/02. The Hague: NIDI. 24 p. [pdf]

All project publications are available on the ResSegr project website:

NIDI Research team

Project website

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