As is well known, residential segregation is a long-standing phenomenon. However, its conceptualization has been approached from so many points, methodologies, and disciplines. At the same time, it is confusing to have an exact definition of what it is and its implications. For this reason, an analytical literature review is presented. Dividing the conceptions into four groups that account for its origin from the market and growth of industrial cities; the problematization of the strata; the instrumentalization in which segregation analyses often become; and the social problems with which it is generally associated. Recognizing the complexity and seeking to understand and contribute other edges to the analysis, an empirical exercise was carried out in Bucaramanga, an intermediate city in Colombia. The multidimensional poverty index was used as an approach to the condition of the population, and the relationship between segregation and social policies was analyzed, considering the non-direct implications of the largest social program in the country: Familias en Acción (Families in Action). As a result, it was found that the program does indeed reach the poorest of the poor (due to its targeting condition). However, its implementation deepens the differences between those who receive and those who do not and how to access such public benefits. This leaves many debates open, inviting future research to overcome data and conceptualization limitations.

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Fischer, Andrew Martin
Social Policy for Development (SPD)
International Institute of Social Studies

Ramírez Chaparro, María Nathalia. (2021, December 17). Unpacking residential segregation: a spatial analysis of the effects of social policies: a case study in an intermediate Colombian city. Social Policy for Development (SPD). Retrieved from