How does socio-economic and demographic dissimilarity determine physical and virtual segregation?

Michael Dorman, Tal Svoray, Itai Kloog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


It is established that socio-economic and demographic dissimilarities between populations are determinants of spatial segregation. However, the understanding of how such dissimilarities translate into actual segregation is limited. We propose a novel network-analysis approach to comprehensively study the determinants of communicative and mobility-related spatial segregation, using geo-tagged Twitter data. We constructed weighted spatial networks representing tie strength between geographical areas, then modeled tie formation as a function of socio-economic and demographic dissimilarity between areas. Physical and virtual tie formation were affected by income, age, and race differences, although these effects were smaller by an order of magnitude than the geographical distance effect. Tie formation was more frequent when “destination” area had higher median income and lower median age. We hypothesise that physical tie formation is more “costly” than a virtual one, resulting in stronger segregation in the physical world. Economic and cultural motives may result in stronger segregation of relatively rich and young populations from their surroundings. Our methodology can help identify types of states that lead to spatial segregation, and thus guide planning decisions for reducing its adverse effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-202
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Spatial Information Science
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Boston
  • Twitter
  • US
  • edge weights
  • followers
  • income
  • mobility
  • network
  • spatial segregation
  • virtual segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'How does socio-economic and demographic dissimilarity determine physical and virtual segregation?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this