Ethnic Residential Segregation: A Family Matter? An Integration of Household Composition Characteristics into the Residential Segregation Literature

  • Ad CoenenEmail author
  • Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe
  • Bart Van de Putte


The ethnic residential segregation literature seldom considers household characteristics, despite their importance for residential mobility. This study offers a first step to amend this lacuna by focussing on the relationship between marital status and the presence of children on the one hand and the extent to which ethnic majority households live segregated on the other. We investigated this association with data from the 2011 Belgian Census. We performed a conditional logit model on a sample of households formed by young adults of Belgian origin living in the metropolitan areas of Antwerp (N = 11,241), Brussels (N = 6690), Charleroi (N = 3483), Ghent (N = 7825) and Liège (N = 5873). It appeared that households with children are less likely than childless households to live in diverse neighbourhoods. Considering partnership status, we find that singles are the most likely to live in diverse neighbourhoods. Amongst the couples without children, those couples in legal cohabitation are less likely to live in diverse neighbourhoods than married or other unmarried couples, while married couples with children are less likely to do so when comparing to unmarried couples with children, both legally cohabiting and others. We, therefore, conclude that it is important to consider (the interaction between) partnership status and the presence of children when studying ethnic residential segregation.


Ethnic residential segregation Self-segregation Ethnic majorities Life-cycle mobility Conditional logit modelling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of SociologyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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