Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 789–805 | Cite as

Population dynamics and ethnic geographies in Oslo: the impact of migration and natural demographic change on ethnic composition and segregation

  • Terje WesselEmail author
  • Lena Magnusson Turner
  • Viggo Nordvik


This paper explores demographic processes behind ethnic geographies in Oslo. We compare data for census tracts in 2001 and 2011, and decompose ethnic composition and segregation on local mobility, national migration, international migration and natural demographic change. The study comprises five national groups: Poles, Somalis, Sri Lankans, Iraqis and Pakistanis, plus aggregates for Nordic and non-Nordic residents. A key observation is that local mobility weakens the status of original settlements without a corresponding effect on levels of ethnic segregation. For several groups, local mobility increases both own-group exposure and separation from the Nordic majority. International migration, in contrast, increases spatial integration between Nordic and non-Nordic residents. Natural change accords with our expectation and strengthens both minority representation in established eastern settlements and ethnic segregation in Oslo at large. Certain features of the Oslo context, e.g. lack of multi-ethic experiences, domination of owner-occupied dwellings and redistributive policies, may explain the surprising results.


Ethnic segregation Demographic events Spatial mobility Natural demographic growth 



The authors would like to thank two anonymous referees for useful proposals.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Human GeographyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Social ResearchOslo and Akershus University College of Applied SciencesOsloNorway

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