9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN31 Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Conceptualising Ethnic Relations Building II, C5.05

Ethnic, Religious and Economic Diversity in the Neighbourhood: Explaining Quality of Contact with Neighbours, Trust in the Neighbourhood and Inter-ethnic Trust for Immigrant and Native Residents

Several studies conclude that ethnic diversity tends to reduce social capital. As Putnam (2007) claims: in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, residents of all ethnicities tend to" hunker down". There may however be other forms of diversity that affect social capital as well. Besides ethnic diversity, we identify economic and religious diversity, as well as language proficiency in the neighbourhood. This study explores with data from the Netherlands to what extent these dimensions of diversity in the neighbourhood affect the quality of contact with neighbours, trust in neighbourhood and inter-ethnic trust for immigrant and native residents.
Using multi-level regression models, we find that ethnic diversity in the neighbourhood lowers the quality of contact with the neighbours. However, for natives, ethnic diversity is positively associated with inter-ethnic trust, whereas for immigrants there is no effect. Furthermore, for natives, religious diversity negatively affects the quality of contact with the neighbours and interethnic trust, whereas for immigrants this effect is positive. Economic diversity positively impacts trust in the neighbourhood and inter-ethnic trust. We do not find an effect of language proficiency.
We conclude that besides ethnic diversity, other forms of diversity in the neighbourhood affect trust as well. Furthermore, diversity undermines, but also builds trust. Last, diversity in the neighbourhood does not mean the same for immigrant and native residents.