Homophily horizons and ethnic mover flows among homeowners in Scotland

Jessie Bakens*, Gwilym Pryce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article analyses mover flows in Glasgow and the role of ethnic homophily, the tendency for movers to be drawn to areas with similar ethnicities to their own. We look at how homophily affects the spatial relocation patterns of homeowners in Glasgow from Scottish, Indian, Pakistani and Chinese descent, and focus on the extent to which homophily extends beyond the immediate locality to surrounding neighbourhoods. Our interest is in estimating the “homophily horizon” – how far the gaze of homophily reaches in mover location decisions. Using a simple Schelling-type theoretical model, we argue that homophily horizons are potentially important in shaping the long-term social structure of cities as they may profoundly affect how potent the overall sorting tendencies of the housing market are in driving segregation. In principle, the more distant the homophily horizon, the more quickly the housing market will tend towards segregation, other things being equal. We adopt Folch and Rey’s use of the local centralization index to capture the influence of surrounding neighbourhoods in shaping mover flows and neighbourhood dynamics. Our estimation combines ethnic mover flows derived from surname analysis of house buyers from the house transactions recorded in Registers of Scotland data. Our results show that the presence of the own ethnic group in the local surroundings is important for explaining mover flows, and that homophily is a local phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-945
Number of pages21
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • neigbourhoods
  • home ownership
  • ethnic location decisions
  • migration
  • Neighbourhoods

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