Types of spatial mobility and the ethnic context of destination neighbourhoods in Estonia (discussion paper)

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Most studies of the ethnic composition of destination neighbourhoods after residential moves do not take into account the types of moves people have made. However, from an individual perspective, different types of moves may result in neighbourhood environments that differ in terms of their ethnic composition from those in which individuals previously lived. We investigate how the ethnic residential context changes for individuals as a result of different types of mobility (immobility, intra-urban mobility, suburbanisation, and long-distance migration) for residents of the segregated post-Soviet city of Tallinn. We compare the extent to which Estonian- and Russian-speakers integrate in residential terms. Using unique longitudinal Census data (2000-2011) we tracked changes in the individual ethnic residential context of both groups. We found that the moving destinations of Estonian- and Russianspeakers diverge. When Estonians move, their new neighbourhood generally possesses a lower percentage of Russian-speakers compared with when Russian-speakers move, as well as compared with their previous neighbourhoods. For Russian-speakers, the percentage of other Russian-speakers in their residential surroundings decreases only for those who move to the surburbs or who move over longer distances to rural villages. By applying a novel approach of tracking the changes in the ethnic residential context of individuals for all mobility types, we were able to demonstrate that the two largest ethnolinguistic groups in Estonia tend to behave as ‘parallel populations’ and that residential integration in Estonia is therefore slow.