Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Inequality on the Increase: Trajectories of Privilege and Inequality in Madrid

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Abstract:  In Spain, housing is one of the main axes of social inequality. Its position within Spain’s economic model and welfare system is key to understanding why its financialization at the beginning of the 21st century had such different consequences among residents as well as territorially. In this context, from 2001 to 2011, Madrid became one of the most segregated metropolitan areas in Europe. This article delves into how both housing and its location organise inequality in different social spheres and reproduce it over time. To this end, the geography of this inequality is analysed in different social residential trajectories, along with how segregation produces its own dynamics of inequality. The analysis is based on census data and applies a combination of factor and cluster analyses. The results reveal important processes of social residential marginalisation articulated by the interaction between high international immigration and the spatial manifestation of the housing bubble. The main socio-spatial result of this process is the disappearance of mixed social spaces in Madrid, previously located in the centre of the city. This dynamic produces opposite territories in terms of advantage and disadvantage in different spheres linked to social inequality such as education, health, leisure, care and even prejudice. In the process, impoverished immigrants disperse towards the neighbourhoods that concentrate the greatest disadvantages in each of these spheres.

Keywords:  inequality; Madrid; privilege; residential marginalisation; segregation; social space; vulnerability



© Daniel Sorando, Pedro Uceda, Marta Domínguez. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.