The ASI has a new short briefing paper, The Ties that Bind: Analysing the relationship between social cohesion, diversity, and immigration by James Dobson. Its key findings:
- Social cohesion is the strength of interactions between members of society. These interactions are characterised by a number of norms that include trust, a sense of belonging, and a willingness to participate.
- Measures of social cohesion include generalised trust, interpersonal trust, civic participation and volunteering.
- Evidence from the US suggests a strong relationship between rising diversity and lower levels of generalised trust. There is much less evidence for a relationship between diversity and other measures of social cohesion in the US.
- There are some cultural reasons to suspect that American evidence might not fully apply to Europe and the UK.
- European evidence at a national level does not suggest a negative relationship between diversity and trust or other social cohesion indicators.
- Evidence from the UK is mixed. There is some evidence to suggest an association between higher diversity and lower generalised trust – yet there is also conflicting evidence which finds no such association.
- There is little evidence to suggest a negative relationship between diversity and other measures of social cohesion such as: civic participation, trust in authority, or voluntary work in the UK.
Read the whole paper here.