The Spatial Patterns of Ethnic Diversity

James O'Donnell , Australian National University
Ann Evans, Australian National University

Migration has and continues to change the ethnic and cultural fabric of most developed nations. Established migrants and their descendants from earlier waves have been supplanted by new and large migrant groups from diverse origins, introducing greater complexity in the composition of cities, towns and local communities. Capturing this diversity though is made difficult by the sheer number of groups that have settled in host countries and the multiple ancestral and cultural domains on which diversity exists. Using a mix of multiple choice and free text data from the Australian Census, we describe an approach to derive harmonised, meaningful and highly detailed data on ancestry, country of birth, religion and language for small geographic areas. We use cluster analysis to combine information from across domains, characterise communities by their degree of diversity and analyse the relationships between new migrant settlement patterns, neighbourhood diversity and socioeconomic variables. We show that settlement patterns in Australia vary, but that new migrant groups are settling in often socioeconomically disadvantaged areas with already large minority populations. These areas are characterised not by ethnic segregation, but by very high levels of diversity across ancestral and cultural domains. In many areas, new migrants are ethnically different from the established community and as a result have substantially altered the ethnic composition of these already diverse areas. While of interest in their own right, these findings also have important implications for the functioning and cohesion of local communities.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy