Neighborhood ethnic diversity and residential choice: how do mixed-ethnicity couples decide where to live?

Publication Name

Urban Geography


Ethnically mixed households signify decreasing social distance between ethnic groups, and have potential to transform urban ethnic landscapes. Quantitative research has revealed mixed-ethnicity couples’ distinctive residential geographies, which interrupt established segregation patterns. Mixed-ethnicity couples often concentrate in diverse neighborhoods. Yet few studies have asked these couples to explain the reasons behind their residential decision-making. We respond to this gap, drawing on 48 interviews with mixed-ethnicity couples in Australia. Conventional concerns prevailed in discussions of neighborhood choice: dwelling characteristics, affordability, proximity to workplace and family and accessibility of services. Most expressed affinity for ethnically diverse neighborhoods, but rarely cited this as a primary decision-making factor. Our findings counter assumptions that ethnic differences are front-and-center of mixed-ethnicity families’ everyday decision-making, and highlight their ordinariness. Mixed-ethnicity couples’ seeming lack of focus on neighborhood ethnic composition shows that being surrounded by ethnically similar people is not always a driving force in people’s residential lives.

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Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



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