The Complex Relationship between Immigrants’ Concentration, Socioeconomic Environment and Attitudes towards Immigrants in Europe
Research has shown that positive attitudes towards immigration are often associated with a higher presence of immigrants at the local level; however, this relationship might not apply everywhere. While a higher presence of immigrants might be positive for attitudes in areas with better socioeconomic resources – via the development of more cooperative intergroup contacts – it might bring no or even a negative effect on attitudes in poorer areas – due to an enhanced competition for (scarce) resources and poorer social cohesion. This article combines data from the European Social Survey with NUTS3 aggregated data of twelve European countries to study this relationship. We find that a higher concentration of immigrants is associated with more positive attitudes towards them; in line with our expectations, this effect decreases as the socioeconomic conditions of areas worsen. In the most deprived areas, however, a higher concentration of immigrants does not have an effect on attitudes.