Where There’s More Diversity, There’s a Tiny Bit Less Trust

Immigrants at a naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles in 2018. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
A massive review of the evidence uncovers a small correlation.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I t’s now been more than a decade since Robert Putnam, the Harvard political scientist behind the famous book Bowling Alone, reported a troubling finding that he had tried really, really hard to make go away: In census tracts with higher levels of ethnic diversity, people tended to report trusting each other less. Putnam didn’t use this as an argument for reducing immigration — to the contrary, he bent over backward to avoid that conclusion — but it was nonetheless clear that eroding social trust was a downside to immigration that we should pay attention to.

Putnam’s finding has continued to pop

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