Household language, residential segregation and social mobility: continuity and change in eThekwini, South Africa

Simon Becker, Lloyd Hill


This article uses South African census data for 1996, 2001 and 2011 to explore the relationship between language and social mobility in the metropolitan region of eThekwini (including what was previously known as Durban). We focus particular attention on variables selected to shed light on residential segregation and social mobility, such as education level, income, race and in-migration. Data on adults at ward level (using 2011 ward boundaries) in eThekwini is used to develop a comparative spatial context for this analysis. Our main finding is that English appears in eThekwini to be the household language of the social elite as well as the language of upward mobility and empowerment.


language; migration; urbanisation; eThekwini; South Africa

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2013.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help