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Journal Article

Wellbeing in local areas: how trust, happiness, social distance and experience of discrimination differ in the perceived ethnic enclave


Publication date

23 Dec 2021


Using data from the 2002 and 2014 waves of the European Social Survey, enriched with contextual data, we examine the impact of perceived ethnic enclaves upon several social outcomes of their residents. Diversity studies usually find a strong negative relationship between social trust and increasing ethnic heterogeneity for majority members. What happens however in residential areas such as ethnic enclaves that offer more opportunities for bridging contacts for majority members and for bonding among migrants and minorities? Our results show that majority, 1st and 2nd generation residents of enclaves have on average poorer social outcomes than non-residents. Nevertheless, residential sorting forms a large part of the enclave penalty story when it comes to the well-being of all groups in the study and the levels of trust and perceived discrimination of the 2nd generation. Importantly, our study suggests that enclaves are not necessarily areas in which people are doomed to chronic unhappiness, and we do not find conclusive evidence that lack of exposure to outgroupers is to blame for lack of trust across ethnic boundaries. Poorer personal and regional economic conditions exacerbate the negative association of the enclave residents with trust, happiness and social distance.

Published in

European Societies





Area Effects, Psychology, Demography, Migration, Ethnic Groups, Well Being, Societies, Social Capital, Sociology, and Race Relations


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