Relating Spatial integration and Other Aspects of Immigrant integration using Australian data

Qing Guan, Australian National University

Immigrant integration can be measured from multiple dimensions, including residential proximity to the majority population, upward socioeconomic mobility, proficiency in the local language, and becoming a citizen in the destination country. What the relationships are amongst these dimensions and how such relationships change under different migration and destination contexts have not reached a consensus amongst researchers. Different pieces of evidence are observed between earlier Anglo immigrants and new waves of non-Anglo immigrants in major destination countries, revolving around two competing theories: the conventional spatial assimilation theory and the segmented assimilation theory. Using the 2016 Australian Census data, the relationships between neighbourhood composition and other aspects of integration are examined to test the theories. Results from this paper generally support the conventional spatial assimilation theory with evidence from UK-born and New Zealand-born immigrants, and the segmented assimilation theory with evidence from China-born and India-born immigrants. There are also inter-birthplace variations not explained by immigrants’ attributes or place of residence, which supports the segmented assimilation theory. However, evidence contradicting the two theories are identified such that upward socioeconomic mobility of immigrants may not necessarily link to increasing residential proximity to the Australia-born persons but upward spatial mobility into better-off neighbourhoods.

Keywords: Migrant populations, Census data, Spatial analysis/regression, Population geography

See paper.

  Presented in Session 48. Migration, Space and Environment