Mapping the multiple geographies of mixed-ethnicity couples in Australia



Publication Details

Tindale, A. & Klocker, N. (2017). Mapping the multiple geographies of mixed-ethnicity couples in Australia. Australian Geographer, 48 (4), 473-495.


Mixed-ethnicity partnerships are becoming increasingly common in Australia and other countries of high immigration. Formal and de facto marriages involving partners from different ethnic backgrounds are key indicators of decreasing social distance between groups. Yet mixed-ethnicity couples have received scant attention from Australian geographers. We use customised data from the 2011 Australian census to analyse the nation-wide distribution of several types of mixed-ethnicity couples. We focus on couples comprised of an Anglo-European (ethnic majority) partner, and a partner from a 'visible' ethnic minority group. Our analyses explore the residential geographies of mixed-ethnicity couples vis-à-vis 'co-ethnic couples' (where partners share the same ethnicity). We find that mixed-ethnicity couples are more widely dispersed across Australian cities and regions than comparative co-ethnic couples. However, each type of mixed-ethnicity couple has its own unique residential pattern: there are multiple geographies of mixed-ethnicity couples in Australia. These distinctive patterns reflect the migration and settlement histories of the couples' constituent ethnic groups, but also hold great potential to shift seemingly entrenched ethnic residential geographies in the present and future.

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