Between spatial and social segregation among immigrants: The case of immigrants from the FSU in Israel

Gustavo S. Mesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies on immigrants' residential concentration have reported mixed findings. Some have argued that immigrants' residential concentration is a necessary step in the process of their social integration because there the newcomers find housing and employment opportunities as well as social support. As they learn the language and improve their socioeconomic status, they move to neighborhoods where they share space with the native population. Others have argued that the ethnic neighborhood delays the process of social integration in the new society because it nurtures informal ethnic social networks that provide incomplete information and retard the process of language acquisition. The study reported here investigated the effect of motivations, perceptions of attitudes of the host society, acculturation and socioeconomic factors on immigrants' residential concentration. It also sought to expand previous research by examining the relationship between immigrants' residential concentration and social relationships with nonimmigrants. Data for the study were collected in 1999 through a survey of immigrants from the FSU who had settled in one northern city in Israel after 1989. The results show a negative relationship of socioeconomic status and fluency in Hebrew with the percentage of immigrants residing in a given neighborhood. The higher the socioeconomic status and the more fluent the immigrant in Hebrew, the lower the percentage of immigrants in his or her neighborhood. Immigrants who expressed a proactive motivation for migration resided in neighborhoods with a low percentage of immigrants. Immigrants' residential concentration was not found to be related to the development of social relationships with the local population. The implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-934
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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