This paper analyses the location choices of new entrants to Auckland between 1996 and 2006, to identify a systematic relationship between residential location choices and features of local areas such as population density, the population composition of the area or its neighbourhood, accessibility to different types of amenities, paying particular attention to the influence of land prices.
For the analysis, the Auckland Urban Area is divided into around 9,000 small areas ("meshblocks"). Location choices are analysed using count data methods applied to microdata from the Census of Population and Dwellings. The results emphasise the importance of own-group attraction. Groups of entrants classified by qualification, income, ethnicity, or country of birth are all attracted to meshblocks or neighbourhoods where their group already has a strong presence.
The evidence demonstrates that this sorting reflects attraction to fellow group members, rather than being due to group members having common preferences for local amenities.