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Measuring the scales of segregation: Looking at the residential separation of white British and other school children in England using a multilevel index of dissimilarity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432–444
Number of pages13
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number3
Early online date2 May 2017
DateSubmitted - 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Feb 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2017
DatePublished (current) - 7 Aug 2017


Within the segregation literature there has been a movement away from measuring ethnic segregation at a single scale, using traditional indices, to instead treating segregation as a multiscale phenomenon about which measurement at a range of scales will shed knowledge. Amongst the contributions, several authors have promoted multilevel modelling as a way of looking at segregation at multiple scales of a geographical hierarchy, estimating the micro-, meso- and macro effects of segregation simultaneously. This paper takes the approach forward by outlining a multilevel index of dissimilarity that combines the advantages of using a widely-understood index with a means to identify scale effects in a way that is computationally fast to estimate and uses freely available software to do so. To demonstrate the method, a case study is made looking at the residential separation of White British pupils from six other ethnic groups in England in 2011. It examines a claim made by the Casey Review into opportunity and integration that school children are more residentially segregated than the population-at-large. The results suggest that school children were indeed more residentially divided but comparison with earlier data and the general uplift in the scales at which patterns of segregation are evident suggest a trend of decreasing segregation overall and the spreading-out of ‘minority’ groups.

    Research areas

  • index of dissimilarity, segregation, ethnicity, multilevel, multiscale, Casey Review

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