Citizenship acquisition and spatial stratification: Analysing immigrant residential mobility in the Netherlands

C. Leclerc*, M. Vink, H. Schmeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Whereas the so-called 'citizenship premium' in the labour market has been widely studied, we know little about how naturalisation affects immigrants' lives beyond work and income. Focusing on the Netherlands, this paper analyses the relationship between citizenship acquisition and immigrant residential mobility, in particular the propensity of immigrants to move away from areas with high concentrations of migrants. We draw on register data from Statistics Netherlands (N = 234,912). We argue that possessing Dutch citizenship reduces spatial stratification by diminishing the risk of housing market discrimination, thereby facilitating mobility outside of migrant-concentrated areas. Our findings show that naturalised immigrants are 50% more likely to move out of concentrated neighbourhoods, all else constant. The effect of naturalisation is especially relevant for renting without housing benefits and for home ownership, and for mid-risk immigrants who earn around the median income and hold permanent jobs, whose applications face strong scrutiny from landlords, rental agencies and mortgage lenders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number00420980211006030
Pages (from-to)1406-1423
Number of pages18
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number7
Early online date3 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • ethnicity
  • exclusion
  • housing
  • migration
  • poverty
  • race

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