Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Honours)


School of Earth & Environmental Sciences


In Australia, and other immigrant societies, inter-ethnic couples constitute a sizeable and growing sub‐population with unique experiences of, and exposure to, racism. However, inter‐ethnic intimacy has received scant attention in Australian scholarship, particularly within geography. This thesis uses 2006 Census data to investigate the residential geographies of a socially significant subset of inter‐ethnic couples (known as ‘in‐group/out‐group’ couples) across New South Wales (NSW). Some racism literature has used the terms ‘in‐group’ and ‘out‐group’ to distinguish between those (white) Australian or Anglo‐European ethnicities that form the dominant ‘host’ group in Australian society, and those perceived as incompatible with these dominant imaginaries of national identity and belonging. This thesis explores whether the residential geographies of in‐group/out‐group couples resemble spatial patterns of ethnic diversity, racial intolerance and socio‐economic status. In doing so, it provides a statistical foundation for future qualitative studies on such couples’ spatially contingent experiences of racism, and offers new insights into the spatial distribution (clustering/dispersal) of key ethnic groups. The main conclusion is that in‐group/out‐group couples are highly concentrated in Sydney, particularly in areas of low intolerance, moderate diversity and high socio‐economic status. In‐group/out‐group partnerships appear to expand and shift the residential horizons of out‐group persons in NSW, away from existing concentrations of their respective out‐group populations.

FoR codes (2008)

160403 Social and Cultural Geography, 160301 Family and Household Studies



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.