The report contributes with valuable knowledge about community trust and how it is affected by increased diversity in the population, but also highlights the significance of economic inequality and intergroup contacts.

Some overall conclusions and recommendations

  • Community trust decreased in 20 of 33 municipalities between 2009 and 2017. In municipalities that received many new migrants per inhabitant, community trust decreased slightly more than in municipalities that received fewer migrants.
  • In municipalities with a relatively higher degree of income inequality, the reception of new migrants had a stronger negative impact on community trust than in municipalities with a lower income inequality.
  • Individuals who in their own neighbourhood often had contact with people with non-Swedish background on average reported higher levels of community trust.
  • An important conclusion is that if one wants to maintain local community trust at a high level, while simultaneously accepting many new immigrants, this needs to be combined with measures that promote positive intergroup contacts. One way of creating conditions for close and regular intergroup contact is to hasten labour market entry among new migrants. In the longer run, increased labour force participation also contributes to reduced income inequality, which in turn is positively correlated with community trust.

About the author

The report is written by Susanne Wallman Lundåsen, Associate Professor of Political Science and active at the Center for Municipal Strategic Studies at Linköping University and the Center for Civil Society Research at Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University.

The report is only available in Swedish but includes a summary in English. Please contact Delmi if you are interested in finding out more.