Residential Segregation in the Industrializing City: A Closer Look
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This article maps and measures several dimensions of residential segregation in Montreal in 1881, thereby adding to our understanding of the social structure of the industrial city. Taking advantage of an unusual historical database—a historical geographic information system (H-GIS)—we locate 17,000 individual households with precision, and evaluate the "dissimilarity" of neighborhoods along several social dimensions and at various levels of spatial aggregation. The empirical findings suggest that Montreal was highly segregated along lines of ethnic identity as well as socioeconomic status; segregation values increased inversely with size of the spatial unit, but precision of unit boundaries have negligible effect. Coupling the highprecision GIS with a statistical model such as the classic index of dissimilarity lends new power to grasp the scale of phenomena, to inquire into behavioral choices of 19th-century households, and even to challenge our assumptions about the meaning of "segregation" or "integration."