Spatial variation of in-migration to Moscow: Testing the effect of housing market

Ilya Kashnitsky (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute/University of Groningen)

Maria Gunko (Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences)

The study about migrants’ first residential choices within Moscow was carried out by Ilya Kashnitsky and Maria Gunko during her PhD fellowship in the ira.urban project at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in 2015. In May 2016 the manuscript has been accepted for publication in the journal Cities. Authors are particularly thankful for the helpful comments on previous versions of the manuscript  from ira.urban fellow members.


Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe indicates that the development of a strong housing market and growing material inequalities result in socio-economic polarization of city districts and may lead to residential segregation. Based on empirical data, spatial variation of migrants’ first residential choices within Moscow (i.e. in-migration intensities) was analyzed. The authors tested the theory-driven hypotheses about the association between residential choices and housing prices. The results clearly show that there are some areas which attract migrants of specific socio-economic status. However, housing prices do not explain a substantial share of variance in the intensities of in-migration. A relatively strong association is only evident for foreign migrants. Thus, there is limited evidence of the Moscow’ socio-spatial structure polarization due to the residential choices of migrants at least at the level of city districts.