Trust Thy Neighbour? Interpersonal Trust in Twelve Ethnically Diverse European Neighbourhoods
European cities have been receiving growing inflows of international migrants and facing important challenges related to increased ethnic diversity. This has generated an interest in examining the effects of immigration-driven ethnic diversity on social capital, community cohesion, and social trust. In this chapter, I use data from a common cross-national questionnaire to uncover what individual elements are associated with differences in the levels of trust in neighbours displayed by the immigrant and native residents of twelve multi-ethnic neighbourhoods, located in four European cities. Using several regression models to predict two indicators of trust (reliability and helpfulness), I found that the respondent’s migration background is the single most influential individual-level predictor of differences in trust among neighbours. Overall, immigrants display lower levels of interpersonal trust in neighbours than natives across all neighbourhoods. Religiosity is also a variable of interest, since it was found to be positively associated with trusting that neighbours are helpful. Finally, and despite the previous (and other) differences, the residents of these neighbourhoods overall expressed high levels of trust in their neighbours. This does not follow along previous works arguing about the negative effects of ethnic diversity on trust, social capital, and social cohesion.
The author would like to thank the editors of this book as well as Ladin Bayurgil, Victor Blanco, and Fronika de Wit for their valuable and critical comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.
The GEITONIES project was financed under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for Research, Grant Agreement number 216184.
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