The geography of ethnic residential segregation

A comparative study of five countries

Ron Johnston*, Michael Poulsen, James Forrest

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

163 Citations (Scopus)


Few studies have undertaken rigorous comparative analyses of levels of ethnic residential segregation across two or more countries. Using data for the latest available censuses (2000-2001) and a bespoke methodology for such comparative work, this article analyzes levels of segregation across the urban systems of five major immigrant-receiving, English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. After describing the levels of segregation in each, the article tests a model based on generic factors that should influence segregation levels in all five countries and then evaluates - for the urban population as a whole, for the "charter group" in each society, and for various ethnic minority groups - whether there are also significant country-specific variations in segregation levels. The findings show common factors influencing segregation levels in all five countries: notably the size of the group being considered as a percentage of the urban total, but also urban size and urban ethnic diversity, plus country-specific variations that cannot be attributed to these generic factors. In general there is less segregation in Australia and New Zealand than in the other three countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-738
Number of pages26
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

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