Does increasing immigration affect ethnic minority groups?

Tara Li, Miguel Rui Ribeiro Da Silva Taborda Ramos, Matthew Bennett, Douglas Massey, Miles Hewstone

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Immigration is increasing around the world. Academic work suggests that increasing immigration reduces social cohesion and subjective wellbeing. These studies, however, have mainly focused on the white majority. Using the 2002-2014 European Social Survey, we analyze data from 5,149 ethnic minority respondents living in 24 European countries. We examine the association between immigration and respondent wellbeing, mediated by perceived discrimination and generalized trust, two critical cognitive mechanisms. We find that in the short term, immigration is associated with greater perceived discrimination, which in turn is associated with lower trust and wellbeing. In contrast, in the longer term, immigration is associated with lower perceived discrimination from ethnic minorities yielding greater generalized trust and perceived wellbeing. Although in the short term increased immigration may be associated with a decline in wellbeing, over the longer term it brings about social changes associated with a higher quality of life for ethnic minorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-65
JournalThe Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021


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