Thursday, 3 January 2013

Does Internal Migration in Northern Ireland Increase Religious and Social Segregation? Perspectives from the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) 2001–2007

an article by Ian Shuttleworth, Paul James Barr and Myles Gould (Queen’s University of Belfast, UK) published in Population, Space and Place Volume 19 Issue 1 (January/February 2013)


Internal migration, because of its selectivity, has been recognised in Britain, Europe, and the USA as a major influence on geographical patterns of ethnic and social segregation.

Despite this, and despite its history of communal division, plus accounts which have emphasised population moves as a cause of segregation, far less academic attention has been paid to dynamic migration processes in understanding the evolution of spatial population patterns in Northern Ireland (NI).

This paper attempts to address this gap by considering how far internal migration – defined as address changes – has redistributed the population with regard to (a) religion and (b) social deprivation between 2001 and 2007.

Using data from the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS), the paper finds that Catholics and Protestants move from and to the same sorts of places with regard to deprivation but that there was some evidence of differential mobility behaviour with regard to individual community affiliation and other individual socio-demographic characteristics. However, there is no evidence for increases in either communal or social segregation.

It is suggested that this is because relatively few people move, they move only short distances, and the current net redistributive impact of migration is therefore small. It is hypothesised that a much more dynamic population with regard to migration is needed to increase or decrease segregation.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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