Measuring ethnic composition by passive mobile positioning data in case of Estonians and Russians in Tallinn


Ethnic segregation is one of the most topical issues in European cities. The main studies of ethnical differences in cities and the corresponding planning policies so far have been developed based on residential segregation. At the same time, the spatial mobility of people continues to grow and an increasing number of activities take place outside the place of residence. Measuring ethnic composition based on people's places of residence gives a static picture of the city and don`t take into account other functions that city has. Several authors have found that ethnical issues should be studied in a person's entire activity space and in different time periods.
The objective of this study is to examine the changes in the ethnic composition and the location of ethnic groups in temporal dimensions (during the day, week and year) and compare the ethnic composition in different time periods to the ethnic composition on residential areas (by census data). We use the passive mobile positioning data and analyse call activities of 5,200 Estonian-speaking and Russian- speaking people with the residence in Tallinn during three years (2008, 2009, 2010). To measure ethnic composition we use segregation indexes - index of dissimilarity and modified index of isolation. A significant part of the study is to use the traditional segregation indexes based approach on mobile positioning data.
The study shows that the ethnic composition inside Tallinn varies during the day, week and year. Ethnic distribution of Estonians and Russian-speaking minority is more uneven and probability to be together with same ethnic group is higher in the evenings, weekends and winter months. Most of the periods by mobile positioning data the ethnic distribution is more even than on residential areas by census data. The mobile positioning data enables to measure ethnic composition more detail and gives us new perspective in studying segregation in the cities.

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