Socioeconomic biases in urban mixing patterns of US metropolitan areas

Rafiazka Millanida Hilman, Gerardo Iñiguez, Márton Karsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Urban areas serve as melting pots of people with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, who may not only be segregated but have characteristic mobility patterns in the city. While mobility is driven by individual needs and preferences, the specific choice of venues to visit is usually constrained by the socioeconomic status of people. The complex interplay between people and places they visit, given their personal attributes and homophily leaning, is a key mechanism behind the emergence of socioeconomic stratification patterns ultimately leading to urban segregation at large. Here we investigate mixing patterns of mobility in the twenty largest cities of the United States by coupling individual check-in data from the social location platform Foursquare with census information from the American Community Survey. We find strong signs of stratification indicating that people mostly visit places in their own socioeconomic class, occasionally visiting locations from higher classes. The intensity of this ‘upwards bias’ increases with socioeconomic status and correlates with standard measures of racial residential segregation. Our results suggest an even stronger socioeconomic segregation in individual mobility than one would expect from system-level distributions, shedding further light on uneven mobility mixing patterns in cities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEPJ Data Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Segregation in mobility
  • Socioeconomic inequalities
  • Urban mixing


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