Introducing a spatially explicit Gini measure for spatial segregation

TÜRK U., Östh J.

Journal of Geographical Systems, vol.25, no.4, pp.469-488, 2023 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10109-023-00412-1
  • Journal Name: Journal of Geographical Systems
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ABI/INFORM, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, EconLit, Environment Index, Geobase, INSPEC, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.469-488
  • Keywords: Bespoke neighbourhoods, Gini index, Segregation, Sweden
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


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 defined 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 configuration of the area, easy to compute and interpret, and suitable for comparative studies of segregation over time and across different 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 definition and scale of the neighbourhood influence the measures of economic segregation. Overall, the GSS offers a flexible and robust framework for measuring segregation that can be used to inform policy decisions and research on inequality.