Understanding the Spatial Trajectories of Minority Groups: An Approach that Examines their Demographic, Cultural and Socio-economic Characteristics

  • Philip Sapiro University of Liverpool, Department of Geography and Planning
Keywords: Spatial distribution, Index of dissimilarity, Ethnic group, Religion, Migration, Natural change

Abstract

Population researchers have contributed to the debate on minority group distribution and disadvantage and social cohesion by providing objective analysis. A plethora of new distribution measurement techniques have been presented in recent years, but they have not provided sufficient explanatory power of underlying trajectories to inform ongoing political debate. Indeed, a focus on trying to summarise complex situations with readily understood measures may be misplaced. This paper takes an alternative approach and asks whether a more detailed analysis of individual and environmental characteristics is necessary if researchers are to continue to provide worthwhile input to policy development. Using England and Wales as a test bed, it looks at four small sub-populations (circa 250,000 at the turn of the century) – two based on ethnic grouping: Bangladeshi and Chinese; and two based on an under-researched area of cultural background, religion: Jews and Sikhs. Despite major differences in longevity of presence in the UK, age profile, socio-economic progress, and levels of inter-marriage, there are, at a national level, parallels in the distribution patterns and trajectories for three of the groups. However, heterogeneity between and within the groups mean that at a local level, these similarities are confounded. The paper concludes that complex interactions between natural change and migration, and between suburbanisation and a desire for group congregation, mean that explanations for the trajectory of distribution require examination of data at a detailed level, beyond the scope of index-based methods. Such analyses are necessary if researchers are to effectively contribute to future policy development.
Published
2019-10-07
How to Cite
[1]
Sapiro, P. 2019. Understanding the Spatial Trajectories of Minority Groups: An Approach that Examines their Demographic, Cultural and Socio-economic Characteristics. Comparative Population Studies. 44, (Oct. 2019).
Section
Research Articles