Prevent Watch

Segregation in Britain is decreasing: Highlights from the 2011 census

Segregation in Britain is decreasing in most local authority districts of England and Wales, for all ethnic minority groups, and this foundational briefing paper discussing the evidence from the 2011 Census in the UK outlines just how it is happening.

Published in February 2013 by the ESRC Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) at the University of Manchester, this briefing paper highlights, among other things, that:

  • Increasing residential mixing in inner and outer London and major urban centres is the dominant pattern of
    change in segregation.
  • Other larger cities such as Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford have seen a decrease in segregation for
    most ethnic groups.

  • The most diverse local areas (electoral wards) are Dollis Hill in Brent and Plaistow North in Newham.

The full 5-page brief is available HERE.

This paper was used in the People’s Review of Prevent to argue that Prevent as a “social cohesion” policy was ill contrived. An excerpt from our report:

Using the ‘index of dissimilarity’ to measure the residential segregation of different ethnic groups, Catney (2015) conducted a comparison of segregation across different groups using data from the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Catney (2015) found that residential segregation across all groups has decreased and, overall, neighbourhoods are becoming more ethnically mixed. The results also show that ‘in over two thirds of districts, segregation decreased for Black Caribbean, Indian, Mixed and Black African ethnic groups, between 2001 and 2011’ (Catney, 2015: 109).

Focusing specifically on London, the results found that residential mixing increased in inner and outer London. In outer London, for example, segregation decreased by 12

percentage points for the Bangladeshi ethnic group and 11 percentage points for the Chinese ethnic group. Other large cities, such as Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford, have also seen a decrease in segregation for most ethnic groups. In addition, there has also been an increase in residential mixing between the White British and minority ethnic groups.” (page 31)

The processes involved are straightforward: “The difference in segregation levels between different groups can be predominantly explained by their varying migration histories to the UK, with more recent groups being affected by chain migration and migrants moving to live near friends and relatives; whereas more established groups may have formed families whose children subsequently move out of areas of concentration.”

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