Journal Article

Housing and ethnicity in Soviet Tartu

Kulu, H., Tammaru, T.
Yearbook of Population Research in Finland, 119–138 (2003)


Research on residential and housing inequality in the cities under central planning has a long tradition. However, previous studies have mostly focused on age and social segregation, while ethnic differences have been poorly investigated. This research clarifies the ethnic differences in housing ownership and living conditions in Tartu, Estonia, in the Soviet period. We use individual-level data from 1989 census and multivariate analysis. Our analysis shows that, first, non-Estonians had better access to state housing than Estonians. The ethnic differences decrease, but remain significant when controlling for compositional differences. Second,it appears that Estonians had more living space, while non-Estonians lived in more comfortable conditions. Differences in housing ownership and population composition explain most of the ethnic differences in housing size, but the differences in housing facilities remain. We argue that both the state policy and the different traditions and values were responsible for the housing differences between Estonians and non-Estonians in Tartu during the Soviet period. The role of the pre-WWII legacy should be considered as well.
Keywords: Estonia, housing conditions
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