The Housing Gap Between Natives and Immigrants: Investigating the Variation in Housing Tenure Between Areas, Including Comparisons with Ireland and Great Britain.

Northern Ireland is a small open economy which has undergone a major transformation in migration flows. The accession of eight Eastern European countries to the EU in 2004 resulted in increased migration to Northern Ireland, with a peak net migration of 10,900 in 2007 (NISRA, 2013). In January 2014, Romanian and Bulgarian EU restrictions were removed, and many more migrants are expected to arrive in Northern Ireland. Research indicates that the new migrants are not following traditional patterns of settlement into cities, but are settling in rural towns and villages that do not have experience with the processes of immigration (Jarman, 2006).

This raises concerns that additional or differential pressure on housing might affect the net fiscal contribution of immigrants. Migrants are not uniformly distributed and any public policy response must first have knowledge of the internal processes of migrant settlement. The extent to which people can satisfy their housing needs and preferences is then determined by a range of socio-economic characteristics, such as employment status, income, education and marriage. This project will analyse how these factors differ between households. The main focus of this project is on how housing tenure differs between native and immigrant households. This project applies econometric methods to Census data for 2001 and 2011, and the associated migration events for this period.

Public policy debate relating to this study will be complicated by the fact that immigration policy is determined centrally by the British Government, rather than a devolved administration. It is possible that the needs and demands of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will have more similarities, than Northern Ireland and Great Britain. In an attempt to construct empirically applicable research, this project will review the relevant policy documents and academic literature detailing migration processes in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. These findings will be compared against the econometric results obtained for Northern Ireland, and conclusions will be derived.


Research Team: Kerri Agnew and Dr Frank Walsh
Database: NILS
Project Status: Complete
Organisation(s): University College Dublin