Mixed neighbourhoods and native out-mobility in the Oslo region: The importance of parenthood

Drawing on register data for the Oslo area, and tracking moves in 2010, Terje Wessel and Viggo Nordvik provide circumstantial evidence for the the racial proxy version of 'white flight' theory in this article.


The extent to which the native-born population accept living in multi-ethnic neighbourhoods is receiving more and more attention throughout Europe. The Norwegian debate around this topic started in the 1990s and tends to centre on education and children’s welfare. Thus, our main question is whether native parents are prone to leave neighbourhoods with a high share of ethnic minorities. For this purpose, we utilise ‘white flight’ theory, particularly Ingrid Gould Ellen’s revised proxy thesis. The key mechanism, according to Ellen, is fear of neighbourhood decline. Drawing on register data for the Oslo area, and tracking moves in 2010, we provide circumstantial evidence for the thesis. Both parents and parents-to-be are more sensitive to the concentration of ethnic minorities than are households without children. The size of the effect depends upon housing tenure, with a higher level of out-mobility among homeowners. There is also a marked geographic pattern, with less stability in Oslo East. None of these patterns was found in a control group consisting of non-natives. We conclude by highlighting the importance of housing structure and housing diversity policies.

Access the full article here 

Terje Wessel and Viggo Nordvik has also written a blog post about their findings: https://www.urbanstudiesonline.com/resources/resource/mixed-neighbourhoods-and-native-out-mobility-in-the-oslo-region-the-importance-of-parenthood/

Published May 18, 2018 10:58 AM - Last modified May 28, 2018 10:59 AM