Segregation Patterns among Foreigners in Switzerland: A Multi-Scalar Approach (1990 – 2014)

Author(s) : Jonathan Zufferey

Source :


« This ‘nccr on the move’ working paper examines the settlement and segregation of foreigners in Switzerland between 1990 and 2014. Based on a novel approach that addresses the modifiable areal unit problem common in most of the research on the topic, this paper compares 12 groups of foreigners at the regional, cantonal and neighborhood levels for the years 1990, 2000 and 2014. The methodological approach relies on ego-centered neighborhoods of various sizes, independently of administrative boundaries, and assesses foreigner spatial distribution in a multi-scalar way. Although foreigners taken together appear to be well disseminated in the country, the results demonstrate high regional concentrations of each foreigner community, which can be explained mainly by historical, cultural and linguistic proximities. At a smaller scale, patterns of segregation are lower, but communities associated with a low-skilled workforce are more segregated at the neighborhood level. Cantonal analysis of segregation highlights the fact that segregation patterns differ considerably depending on the context. Over time, the trends of concentration or dissemination vary greatly from one foreigner group to another. »
Keywords : Segregation, migrant settlement, multi-scalar approach


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