Introducing a spatially explicit Gini measure for spatial segregation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Geographical Systems. 2023, 25 469-488. 10.1007/s10109-023-00412-1
This paper proposes an alternative measure of economic segregation by income that utilizes the Gini index as the basis of measurement. The Gini Index of Spatial Segregation (GSS) is a ratio of two Gini indices that compares the inequality between neighbourhoods to the inequality between individuals at the macro-level where neighbourhoods are nested. Unlike earlier measures of segregation found in the literature, the GSS uses individualized neighbourhoods, which can be defned as an area constituted within a radius or as a population count method around an individual geo-location, depending on the population density and proximity among individuals in the study area. The GSS can measure residential segregation by any continuous variable for both radii and k-nearest neighbours (knn with and without a decay factor) approaches to bespoke neighbourhoods. Therefore, it is sensitive to the spatial confguration of the area, easy to compute and interpret, and suitable for comparative studies of segregation over time and across diferent contexts. An empirical application of the index is illustrated using data from Sweden that covers the entire population for 1994, 2004, and 2014. We demonstrate how the defnition and scale of the neighbourhood infuence the measures of economic segregation. Overall, the GSS ofers a fexible and robust framework for measuring segregation that can be used to inform policy decisions and research on inequality.