Daily Mobility Patterns: Reducing or Reproducing Inequalities and Segregation?

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Daily Mobility Patterns: Reducing or Reproducing Inequalities and Segregation?


  • Lina Hedman Centre for Research and Development, Uppsala University/Region Gävleborg, Sweden
  • Kati Kadarik Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Roger Andersson Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • John Östh Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, Sweden / Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, Sweden


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Abstract:  Theory states that residential segregation may have a strong impact on people’s life opportunities. It is unclear, however, to what extent the residential environment is a good representation of overall exposure to different people and environments. Daily mobility could reduce the negative effects of segregation if people change environments and/or become more mixed. They could also enhance existing segregation patterns if daily mobility produces more segregated environments. This article uses mobile phone data to track daily mobility patterns with regard to residential segregation. We test the extent to which patterns differ between residents in immigrant-dense areas and those from areas with a greater proportion of natives. Results suggest, in line with previous research, that daily mobility patterns are strongly segregated. Phones originating from more immigrant-dense areas are more likely to (1) remain in the home area and (2) move towards other immigrant-dense areas. Hence, although mobility does mitigate segregation to some extent, most people are mainly exposed to people and neighbourhoods who live in similar segregated environments. These findings are especially interesting given the case study areas: two medium-sized Swedish regions with relatively low levels of segregation and inequality and short journey distances.

Keywords:  daily mobility; mobile phone data; residential environment; segregation; Sweden

Published:   13 May 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v9i2.3850


© Lina Hedman, Kati Kadarik, Roger Andersson, John Östh. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.