WIT Press

Social Mobility: The Influence Of The Neighbourhood


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






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153 - 164




275 kb


M. Das, S. Musterd, S. de Vos & J. J. Latten


Neighbourhoods in The Netherlands differ strongly in social compositions and in the socio-economic perspectives of their residents. Increasing fears for diminishing social cohesion stimulated policy makers to focus on bettering perspectives for residents in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood intervention strategies in The Netherlands often concentrate on stimulating social and socio-economic mix, by physical restructuring of the neighbourhood. Social mix is assumed to have a positive effect on the upward social mobility of residents because it leads to positive role models in the neighbourhood and creates social bridges. We studied the effects of neighbourhood characteristics – indicators for social level and for social mix – on the income development of its residents between 1999 and 2005. We used an integral dataset, register-based and covering the entire Dutch population: the Social Statistical Database of Statistics Netherlands. Multilevel regression analyses showed a small, significant effect of a number of neighbourhood characteristics: income mix, mean income level and, surprisingly, ethnic mix, were positively related to the income development of residents aged 25 to 49. However, neighbourhood effects were very modest compared to the large influence of individual characteristics. Policymakers in Western Europe and North America involved in urban redevelopment programmes should be aware of that. Keywords: urban policies, neighbourhoods, social mobility, social networks, socialisation, segregation.


urban policies, neighbourhoods, social mobility, social networks, socialisation, segregation