Residential assimilation of immigrants: A cohort approach

Published: 2016

Authors: Dave Maré, Ruth Pinkerton, Jacques Poot

This paper demonstrates the importance of distinguishing between successive arrival cohorts when assessing the impact of residential assimilation of immigrants on the spatial distribution of the population. We consider three cohorts of immigrants from each of five countries of birth entering Auckland, New Zealand, between 1991 and 2006. The paper tracks and compares changes in spatial isolation, segregation and autocorrelation for these cohorts over time, using index measures that are adjusted for population-weighted random spatial sorting.

We find evidence of residential assimilation, whereby immigrants become less spatially concentrated in the years following arrival. Overall concentration has nevertheless been increasing over time, with successive cohorts entering with higher levels of initial concentration. By examining the spatial location patterns of arrival cohorts, we show that entering cohorts are attracted to the current rather than initial locations occupied by the previous cohort of their compatriots. Despite differences across cohorts and over time, there is nevertheless a high degree of stability in the ‘residential footprint’ of different immigrant groups within Auckland.


Maré, D C, Pinkerton, R, & Poot J (2016) “Residential Assimilation of Immigrants: A cohort approach” Migration Studies. 4(3), 373-401.


Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Science and Innovation