Choice and segregation in the “most egalitarian” schools: Cumulative decline in the urban schools and neighbourhoods of Helsinki, Finland

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Finland has been known for its excellent PISA results in educational outcomes throughout the last
decade. The country has boasted a rare combination of high overall level, as well as uniquely good
outcomes of the bottom performers. However, the latest PISA results and the recent sociospatial
developments within the Finnish cities challenge this nationally celebrated balance in
schools and urban social structure. Until now, research evidence has demonstrated that in the
Finnish context with a powerful, universalist welfare state and a highly educated, homogenous
population, differentiation increases mainly by the growth of an elite. Our analysis of large datasets
from schools and neighbourhoods in Helsinki suggests that this development has been overturned
in the local level: segregation has begun to increase and appears to operate through the
trends of middle-class avoidance and the decline of the underprivileged groups in urban schools
and neighbourhoods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)3155–3171
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 519 Social and economic geography

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