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ABSTRACT

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
  4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
  5. DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD
  6. RESULTS
  7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
  8. REFERENCES
  9. Biographies

Many studies have examined the impact of the size of the neighborhood minority population on prejudicial attitudes of majority residents. However, few studies have investigated how residents of different ethnic origins evaluate different ethnic outgroups based on the shares of these particular ethnic outgroups in their neighborhood. Based on the belief congruency theory and social identity theory, we propose that the effect of outgroup size on outgroup attitudes depends on the socioeconomic and cultural differences between ethnic groups. Multilevel analyses of Dutch survey data gathered among Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese, Antillean, and native Dutch residents indicate that for most groups outgroup attitudes are not influenced by the share of the particular outgroup in their neighborhood. For some ethnic groups, however, the size of a particular outgroup is associated with less positive attitudes toward that outgroup. Differences in the effect of outgroup size on outgroup attitudes only partly correspond with cultural differences and socioeconomic status differences.

Urban neighborhoods in Western Europe are increasingly characterized by a culturally and socioeconomically diverse minority population (Musterd, 2005). Urban policymakers worry about the negative consequences of ethnic concentration and diversity for the structural and cultural integration of ethnic minorities as well as for the social cohesion and livability of a neighborhood as a whole (Bolt, Özüekren, & Philips, 2010; Gijsberts, Vervoort, Havekes, & Dagevos, 2010; Van Kempen & Bolt, 2009). An important focus in this debate is the assumed negative effect of ethnic concentration on prejudicial attitudes, which is mainly based on studies in the United States finding that the share of blacks in a neighborhood negatively affects whites’ anti-black prejudice (e.g., Giles & Evans, 1986; Taylor, 1998). Consequently, a substantial number of studies in Europe also examined the relationship between the size of the neighborhood minority population and ethnic attitudes of the majority group (e.g., Pettigrew, Wagner, & Christ, 2010; Savelkoul, Scheepers, Tolsma, & Hagendoorn, 2010; Wagner, Christ, Pettigrew, Stellmacher, & Wolf, 2006). Yet, unlike ethnic homogeneous neighborhoods in the United States, European neighborhoods are usually ethnically mixed, consisting of a wide variety of ethnic minorities from different countries of origin (Musterd, 2005; Van der Laan Bouma-Doff, 2007). Relatively little is known, however, about how the coexistence of multiple ethnic (minority) groups in a neighborhood influences interethnic attitudes among residents of different ethnic origins. In the current study we argue that, particularly in these ethnically diverse neighborhoods, interethnic attitudes may not only depend on relative outgroup sizes, but also on ethnic group differences in cultural beliefs and socioeconomic status.

Varying interpretations have been proposed to explain the link between ethnic outgroup size and ethnic outgroup attitudes. First, based on contact theory, it has been suggested that the presence of ethnic outgroups in a neighborhood is an indicator of interethnic contact opportunities, and thus particularly close and sustained contact is expected to increase outgroup attraction (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). Second, ethnic conflict theory postulates that negative ethnic attitudes are driven by feelings of ethnic threat, and these feelings are expected to be particularly promoted in neighborhoods with a large share of outgroups (Quillian, 1995). European studies on the relationship between the share of an ethnic minority population in a neighborhood on the outgroup attitudes of the majority group arrived at mixed conclusions (which in part might be due to the examination of different local levels, i.e., neighborhoods versus larger districts). Studies in Germany (Pettigrew et al., 2010; Wagner et al., 2006) showed that German residents endorse more positive ethnic attitudes in districts with a large share of immigrants because of increased interethnic contacts. Gijsberts and Dagevos (2007), on the other hand, found that a sudden influx of non-Western ethnic minority groups in neighborhoods led to more negative stereotypes between the majority group and ethnic minorities in the Netherlands. Also, Savelkoul et al. (2010) found that a larger percentage of Muslims in a neighborhood increased perceived ethnic threat among native Dutch residents, which in turn induced an increase in the level of anti-Muslim attitudes. Nevertheless, Tolsma, Lubbers, and Coenders (2008) and Gijsberts et al. (2010) did not find such a relationship between ethnic outgroup size and the attitudes of majority residents in Dutch neighborhoods.

Previous studies in Europe generally measured ethnic concentration as the share of the ethnic minority population as a whole and focused mostly on the impact on the attitudes of majority group residents (Hjerm & Nagayoshi, 2011). We propose, however, that the nature of the relationship between ethnic outgroup size and outgroup attitudes depends on the (characteristics of a) particular ethnic outgroup as well as on the ethnic composition of the neighborhood. In doing so, we build upon research in the United States that showed substantial differences in people's reaction to different ethnic outgroups in their neighborhood. For example, it has been shown that, while the presence of African Americans in a neighborhood increases whites’ prejudice toward this group, neighborhood exposure to Asians elicits more positive interethnic attitudes among whites, whereas the share of Latinos in a neighborhood is not related to attitudes toward Latinos (Dixon, 2006; Dixon & Rosenbaum, 2004; Taylor, 1998). In Europe also there is evidence that people might distinguish between different ethnic outgroups. Bowyer (2009) found for England that whites who live in neighborhoods with a large proportion of blacks reveal less ethnic hostility toward immigrants in general, while residential proximity to Pakistanis and Bangladeshis is associated to less positive attitudes toward immigrant groups.

Interethnic attitudes are also affected by the ethnic origin of the residents themselves. For instance, Bobo and Hutchings (1996) showed that African Americans perceive more competitive threats from Latinos than Asians do. Oliver and Wong (2003) concluded, furthermore, that people who live among more people of their own race or ethnicity tend to endorse more negative stereotypes about minority groups, but this was not true for Asians. Furthermore, a study by Havekes, Uunk, and Gijsberts (2011) on interminority attitudes in the Netherlands indicated that outgroup attitudes become more positive as the outgroup shares similar cultural characteristics with the residents’ ethnic ingroup.

So, although previous research suggest ingroup and outgroup differences, few studies have investigated how different ethnic outgroups affect the attitudes of residents of various ethnic origins. The present study adds to this line of research and addresses the question of how residents of different ethnic origins evaluate different ethnic outgroups based on the shares of these particular ethnic outgroups in their neighborhood. We argue that distinguishing between ethnic ingroups and outgroups with different cultural and socioeconomic characteristics may partly explain previous mixed findings, and that it provides more insight into different interpretations regarding the nature of the relationship between ethnic concentration and prejudice. Cultural and socioeconomic differences between ethnic (minority) groups imply that the direction of the effect of outgroup size on outgroup attitudes—and thus whether processes of interethnic threat or contact dominate—might vary, depending on the specific ethnic composition of the neighborhood.

We examine our ideas using data covering both ethnic majority and minority residents residing in the 50 largest cities of the Netherlands in 2005. Like most European cities, Dutch cities are characterized by a culturally and socioeconomically diverse minority population (Musterd, 2005). Therefore, this context is optimally suited to test the impact of different types of ethnic concentrations on interethnic attitudes among residents of different ethnic origins. Using large-scale survey data, we analyze mutual attitudes between the native Dutch majority population and the four largest ethnic minority groups in the Netherlands: Turks and Moroccans (former guest workers and their children) and Surinamese and Antilleans (immigrants from former colonies in the Caribbean). We first test the influence of the share of a particular outgroup in a neighborhood on the overall feeling toward that outgroup and we control for neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage. Additionally, we test variations in the nature of outgroup size effects according to cultural and socioeconomic characteristics of the ethnic ingroup and outgroup in the neighborhood.

ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
  4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
  5. DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD
  6. RESULTS
  7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
  8. REFERENCES
  9. Biographies

Before theorizing on the impact of outgroup size on interethnic attitudes, we provide information on the ethnic groups in the Netherlands, the context in which this research takes place. In total, 11% of the Dutch population are non-Western immigrants from the first and second generation (Statistics Netherlands, 2011). The Netherlands has become an immigration country since the beginning of the 1960s (for an overview of Dutch immigration history, see Vermeulen & Penninx, 2000). The composition of ethnic groups in the Netherlands is strongly linked to the colonial past and the need for a cheap labor force. In this way, migration patterns in the Netherlands are comparable to certain other immigration countries in Europe, such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, and France, where former colonies have provided immigration flows. Directly after the Second World War many immigrants came from Indonesia, and more recently also from the Caribbean (Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles). Because of their favorable socioeconomic and cultural position, the Indonesians are nowadays considered “Western immigrants” and therefore not a target population in Dutch integration policies and (survey) registrations.1 Immigrants from Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles began arriving in significant numbers during the 1970s. Initially most came with the aim to gain a degree in higher education, but later immigrants had predominantly socioeconomic reasons to make the move. Because of their colonial background, migrants from Suriname and the Antilles are already affiliated with the Dutch culture and usually speak Dutch before arrival. Respectively, 1% and 2% of the total Dutch population are from the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname (Statistics Netherlands, 2011).

The Moroccan and the Turkish immigrant streams started in the 1960s and were a response to the shortages on the labor market in the Netherlands. Laborers were invited by the national government to come to the Netherlands and work there. Usually, they lived in temporary boarding. After a few years it became clear that they were not going back, and the numbers have increased due to family formation and reunification policies. From then on, increasing numbers have lived in social housing in the large cities in the Western part of the Netherlands and in the (former) industrial areas in the East (textile industries) and South (coalmines) (Zorlu & Latten, 2009). Each group makes up 2% of the total Dutch population (Statistics Netherlands, 2011).

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
  4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
  5. DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD
  6. RESULTS
  7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
  8. REFERENCES
  9. Biographies

Ethnic Conflict Theory and Contact Theory

Both ethnic conflict theory and contact theory expect relative outgroup size to affect attitudes toward ethnic outgroups, but the nature of the relationship is presumed to be different. Ethnic conflict theory (Blumer, 1958) suggests that negative attitudes toward outgroups are based on (perceived) competition between ethnic groups. Interethnic competition may derive from conflicting social and economic interests (e.g., over jobs, housing, or social prestige) as well as from cultural and religious issues (e.g., conflicting lifestyles, norms, and values) (Schneider, 2008).2 Actual and perceived competition are expected to encourage perceived ethnic threat, which subsequently promotes unfavorable attitudes toward outgroups (Bobo & Hutchings, 1996). At the neighborhood level, a large proportion of an ethnic outgroup is considered a proxy for an ethnic competitive environment (Quillian, 1995; Savelkoul et al., 2010). Accordingly, it has been presumed that the larger an outgroup in a neighborhood is, the more negative the attitude toward it; and particularly an increase of an ethnic outgroup in the neighborhood may cause feelings of competition and threat. Residents may be accustomed to a certain outgroup size, but a sudden influx of ethnic outgroups in a neighborhood makes the presence of ethnic outgroups more salient and threatening (Gijsberts & Dagevos, 2005).

Contact theory (Allport, 1954), on the other hand, argues that negative attitudes toward outgroups result from of a lack of contact between ethnic groups. Contact theory rests on the premise that intergroup contact reduces ethnic prejudice. Firsthand interethnic contact is expected to increase mutual knowledge and understanding by countering preconceptions regarding the values, beliefs, and lifestyle of that other ethnic group (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). To predict the influence of relative outgroup size on attitudes toward outgroups, it has been suggested that a larger outgroup size leads to more interethnic contact and, hence, more positive attitudes toward ethnic outgroups. Contact theory describes several conditions which interethnic contact should meet in order to promote positive attitudes toward outgroups. Optimally, ethnic contact should be close and intimate and take place between groups of equal status (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). Of course, interethnic contact between neighborhood residents generally does not meet all these conditions. Contact between neighbors may not always be personal, but may be superficial and casual when passing on the street or meeting in a shop. Yet, some have argued that close contact may not be necessary and that even impersonal exposure to ethnic groups in the neighborhood may create a feeling of “public familiarity” (Fischer, 1982, p. 60). Recognizing fellow residents in the neighborhood creates a trusting environment even in the absence of personal contact (Blokland, 2003). In addition, a review study by Pettigrew and Tropp (2006) shows that, although interethnic contact that meets the aforementioned optimal conditions reduces prejudice most, interethnic contact that does not meet the optimal conditions also reduces prejudice. Hence, these conditions are facilitating conditions, but not necessary conditions for reducing prejudice.

Belief Congruency Theory and Social Identity Theory

Insights from belief congruency theory and social identity theory are used to formulate expectations on ethnic group differences regarding the nature of the relationship between outgroup size and outgroup attitudes. We propose that the processes of interethnic contact and interethnic threat in the neighborhood depend on cultural and socioeconomic differences between ethnic groups. The direction of the effect of outgroup size on outgroup attitudes—and thus whether processes of interethnic threat or contact dominate—might vary, depending on the particular ethnic outgroup in the neighborhood. Previous research has suggested, for example, that people feel less attracted to ethnic groups that are perceived to be culturally distinct from their own (Dustmann & Preston, 2007) and to groups that are of a lower socioeconomic status (Hagendoorn, 1995). Taking into account the characteristics of different ethnic outgroups in the neighborhood informs us about the conditions under which processes of interethnic threat (as predicted by ethnic conflict theory) and interethnic contact (as predicted by contact theory) are more likely to arise.

First, belief congruency theory (Rokeach, Smith, & Evans, 1960) has been used to explain why people are more attracted to ethnic outgroups with whom they share similar beliefs and values. Findings have indeed supported the claim that ethnic groups that are judged to be most similar are evaluated most positively (Berry & Kalin, 1979). Cultural similarities are assumed to promote positive ethnic attitudes as they produce mutual understanding and they validate the ethnic ingroups’ attitudes, beliefs, and behavior (Havekes et al., 2011; Montoya, Horton, & Kirchner, 2008). Additionally, culturally distinct ethnic groups compete over traditional values and beliefs. Cultural competition may lead to feelings of ethnic threat and hence promote unfavorable attitudes toward outgroups. Therefore, we expect that cultural similarity would increase processes of interethnic contact (rather than threat) and thus produce positive attitudes toward outgroups, whereas cultural dissimilarity would elicit processes of ethnic threat (rather than contact), resulting in less positive attitudes toward outgroups. Hence, we propose that the presence of culturally similar outgroups is positively related to positive attitudes toward those outgroups, whereas the presence of culturally distinct ethnic outgroups is negatively related to positive attitudes toward those outgroups (H1).

The ethnic groups under study differ in sociocultural values and belief systems. Generally, Turks and Moroccans adhere to more traditional religious and family values than Surinamese, Antilleans, and the native Dutch majority population (Uunk, 2003). Moreover, Turks and Moroccans are mostly Muslim, whereas the majority population has a Christian religious background and is more secular compared to these minority groups. The religious background of Surinamese and Antilleans is mixed; they are predominantly from a Christian background, but some are Hindu or Islamic. Surinamese and Antilleans have a higher proficiency in the Dutch language than Turks and Moroccans (Gijsberts & Dagevos, 2007). These cultural differences suggest that for Surinamese, Antilleans, and the native majority population, the presence of Turks and Moroccans in the neighborhood is negatively related to positive attitudes, while the presence of Surinamese and Antilleans is more likely to be positively related to positive attitudes. Similarly, for Turkish and Moroccan residents it is expected that the presence of Surinamese, Antilleans, and native Dutch residents is negatively related to positive attitudes, while the presence of Turks and Moroccans would be positively related to positive attitudes.

In addition to cultural differences, the social status of ethnic groups may affect the nature of the relationship between outgroup size and attitudes toward outgroups. Social identity theory asserts that having contact with members of high-status groups enhances one's own status and self-esteem, whereas contact with members of low-status groups will threaten your status (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). High-status groups provide more economic and cultural resources and are therefore more attractive to be in contact with (Völker, Flap, & Lindenberg, 2006). As a result, individuals prefer having contact with groups that are positively valued and occupy high status over contact with low-status groups, which is considered a threat toward their own social status. Members of both majority and minority groups are therefore assumed to hold negative attitudes toward low-status ethnic groups. While the ethnic majority group uses negative attitudes to justify and strengthen their high social status within society, lower-placed minority groups use negative attitudes to differentiate themselves from other low-status groups (Hagendoorn, 1995). Based on the notions of social identity theory, we expect that the presence of high-status groups is more likely to elicit processes of interethnic contact (rather than threat) and thus produce positive attitudes toward those groups. The presence of low-status groups, on the other hand, is more likely to increase processes of ethnic threat (rather than contact), resulting in less positive attitudes. Accordingly, we expect that for all ethnic groups, the presence of low-status outgroups is negatively related to positive attitudes toward those groups and the presence of high-status groups is positively related to positive attitudes toward those groups (H2).

The social status that ethnic groups hold in society is mainly based on their socioeconomic status. Ethnic groups in the Netherlands differ in their socioeconomic status, with the native majority population holding the highest position. Overall, when comparing ethnic minority groups in terms of education, (un)employment, social benefits, and income, Surinamese hold a better socioeconomic position than the other ethnic minority groups (Dagevos, 2007). In 2005, for example, 22% of the Surinamese population had a low income, whereas among the other groups this percentage was 30 (Dagevos, 2007). Therefore, we expect that the presence of low-status groups in a neighborhood, that is, Moroccans, Antilleans, and Turks, is negatively related to positive attitudes toward those groups, whereas the presence of higher-status groups (Surinamese and the native majority population) is positively related to positive attitudes toward those groups.

DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
  4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
  5. DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD
  6. RESULTS
  7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
  8. REFERENCES
  9. Biographies

The hypotheses were tested using the 2005 survey Life Situation of Ethnic Minority City Residents (Leefsituatie Allochtone Stedelingen, or LAS), conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (for the fieldwork report, see Schothorst, 2005). This cross-sectional survey is representative for the Moroccan, Turkish, Surinamese, Antillean, and native Dutch majority population between 15 and 65 years of age, living within the 50 largest cities in the Netherlands. The 50 largest municipalities (of a total 467 municipalities) in the Netherlands cover 42% of the total Dutch population. According to the official definition by Statistics Netherlands, ethnicity is defined by country of birth such that people are considered a member of an ethnic minority group when at least one parent is born in a foreign country. This definition was used to create five separate samples for each ethnic group from which respondents were randomly selected. The data were gathered through face-to-face interviews and, when necessary, Turkish and Moroccan respondents were approached by bilingual interviewers using translated questionnaires.

Information on neighborhood characteristics was obtained from the register database “Key Figures Districts and Neighborhoods” from Statistics Netherlands. Via unique neighborhood codes, neighborhood information was matched to the data of the LAS survey. Neighborhood borders are defined by styles of architecture and building periods, representing homogeneous areas with respect to socioeconomic composition, which are likely to be perceived by residents as their own neighborhood. In 2005, there were approximately 11,000 neighborhoods in the Netherlands, distributed over 467 municipalities. The LAS data are composed of 1,435 neighborhoods with, on average, 3.2 respondents per neighborhood. For 123 respondents in the survey, proper information about their place of residence was absent and they were removed from the analyses.

Ethnic Outgroup Attitudes

Ethnic outgroup attitudes were measured using a “feeling thermometer.” Respondents were asked to imagine a thermometer at which they could indicate how they felt about specific ethnic groups in the Netherlands, that is, Moroccans, Turks, Surinamese, Antilleans, and native Dutch.3 They could choose any “temperature” between 0 and 100, where a score of 0 referred to very negative feelings and a score of 100 indicated very positive feelings toward the particular outgroup. Respondents did not evaluate their own ethnic group. The feeling thermometer is a commonly used instrument in international studies for the assessment of interethnic attitudes (e.g., Bobo & Zubrinsky, 1996). This measure has a high test–retest reliability and it correlates with other (multi-item) scales of prejudice (Verkuyten & Zaremba, 2005). To avoid order effects, the feeling thermometers for the four outgroups were presented in a random order to the respondents. On average, 8% of the respondents were reluctant or did not know how to evaluate at least one of the other ethnic groups (and these missing values were listwise deleted), but the number of missing values varied across ethnic groups and the ethnic outgroups that were evaluated. Unfortunately, these missing values were not completely random but certain groups refused the evaluation more often than others: respondents of Turkish, Moroccan, and Antillean background, older people, lower educated persons, and women are overrepresented in those that did not want to answer the questions. The total number of cases in the analyses varies between 2,561, for the analysis on the attitudes toward Antilleans, and 3,121 when the attitudes toward native Dutch are examined.

Neighborhood Characteristics

Ethnic outgroup size was measured as the percentage of Moroccans, Surinamese, Turks, Antilleans, and the native majority population in a neighborhood. We included the percentage of a specific target outgroup in a neighborhood to explain the attitudes toward that particular outgroup. Additionally, we included the influx of non-Western ethnic minorities in a neighborhood, which was measured as the 5-year change in the share of non-Western ethnic minorities. Unfortunately, data on the influx of specific target outgroups were unavailable.Ethnic composition is often closely connected to the socioeconomic status of a neighborhood. Therefore, it has been argued that residents’ prejudicial attitudes may derive from a more general frustration with local social problems that are prominent in low-status neighborhoods (Branton & Jones, 2005). Based on the mean income of residents in a neighborhood, the proportion of low-income groups, and the proportion of benefit recipients, we constructed a mean index of socioeconomic disadvantage, which showed considerable reliability (alpha = 0.79). Additional analyses show positive correlations between the proportion of Turks (0.65), Moroccans (0.50), Surinamese (0.22) and Antilleans (0.32) in a neighborhood and socioeconomic disadvantage. Moreover, the proportion of natives is negatively associated with disadvantage (−0.63). However, inspection of the variance inflation factors (VIFs) showed no problems with multicollinearity between ethnic outgroup size and socioeconomic disadvantage.

Finally, people do not only spend time in their neighborhood but are probably also affected by contexts outside their neighborhoods, such as the municipality. Because ethnically concentrated neighborhoods are more often found within the largest cities in the Western part of the country, our analyses control for the percentage of a particular outgroup in the municipality.

Individual Characteristics

To determine whether neighborhood variation in interethnic attitudes is caused by neighborhood characteristics rather than by attributes of individual residents, we controlled for individual characteristics in the analyses. First, educational attainment was measured as the highest completed (or current in case of students) level of education either in the Netherlands or abroad, on a scale from 0 (no education) to 7 (university degree).4 We included a dummy variable for unemployment. Income was measured as the monthly after-tax family income, based on 16 categories ranging from 1 (lower than 500 euro) to 16 (more than 4,000 euro). We used the midpoints of each income category in our analyses and set the last category at 4,500 euro. Missing income data due to the fact that respondents were children that still lived with their parents or because respondents did not know or did not want to disclose their income, were given the mean income score of their ethnic ingroup. In addition, the analyses include a dummy variable to account for these missing values. Religious participation was measured as the frequency of visits to a religious service (e.g., church or mosque) on a scale from 0 (never) to 6 (daily). Controlling for Dutch language ability, we included a dummy variable indicating whether people have any difficulties with speaking Dutch.5 Finally, we distinguished ten age categories ranging from 15–19 to 60–64 years6 and included dummy variables for sex (ref = women), migration generation (ref = second generation),7 and ethnic ingroup (Moroccans, Turks, Surinamese, Antilleans, and native Dutch).

Descriptive statistics of the measures are summarized in Table 1, which shows that, on average, the five ethnic groups are more or less equally divided among the study population. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents represent the first generation of one of the four minority groups. Allowing for the 16% of native Dutch origin, this means that 17% of the respondents belong to the second generation.

Table 1. Descriptive Statistics of Dependent and Independent Variables
 RangeMean / pSt. dev.
  1. Source: LAS, 2005; Statistics Netherlands, 2005.

Dependent variables   
Positive attitudes toward target outgroup:   
Moroccans0–10044.8123.5
Antilleans0–10047.8023.4
Turks0–10056.5121.2
Surinamese0–10058.7721.4
Native Dutch0–10069.3518.6
Neighborhood level predictors   
Percentage target outgroup:   
Percentage Moroccans0–497.318.4
Percentage Antilleans0–152.192.1
Percentage Turks0–607.778.0
Percentage Surinamese0–396.637.1
Percentage native Dutch6–9958.2921.2
Influx of ethnic minorities0–314.354.2
Socioeconomic disadvantage8–47.5029.774.9
Municipality level predictors   
Percentage Moroccans0–94.553.0
Percentage Antilleans0–31.630.9
Percentage Turks0–94.862.3
Percentage Surinamese0–105.123.8
Percentage native Dutch43–9360.8714.0
Individual level predictors   
Ethnic ingroup   
Moroccan0 / 10.22 
Turk0 / 10.24 
Antillean0 / 10.20 
Surinamese0 / 10.18 
Native Dutch0 / 10.16 
Men0 / 10.45 
Age16–6536.3312.7
Education0–73.541.9
Monthly income (in euros)250–4,5001,697765.5
Missing value on income0 / 10.32 
Unemployed0 / 10.11 
First migration generation (vs. second generation and native Dutch)0 / 10.67 
Dutch language difficulties0 / 10.32 
Religious participation1–62.151.4

Method

To estimate neighborhood effects, we used multilevel regression analysis, which is optimally suited to analyze data from respondents within the same neighborhood (and municipality) that are not independent (Hox, 2002). We distinguish three levels in our models: in addition to the individual level and the neighborhood level, we take into account the municipality level, to control for the interethnic contact opportunities in the wider municipality. We ran separate analyses for each of the five target group attitudes. Since respondents did not evaluate their own ethnic group, we compare the attitudes of each ethnic group toward the other groups (e.g., Moroccan respondents are excluded from the analyses explaining attitudes toward Moroccans).

Although we will return to Tables 4 and 5 in their proper sequence in the Results section, it is useful to refer briefly to them here. Table 4 estimates the impact of the percentage of a particular target group in the neighborhood on the attitudes toward that particular group, controlling for neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage, proportion (percentage) of the target group in the municipality, and individual level predictors. Table 5 presents the effects of the proportion (percentage) of the target group in the neighborhood on attitudes toward the target group, for each ethnic group separately. To examine the extent to which the relationship between target group size and that group's attitudes toward other groups was significantly different from zero for the different ethnic groups, we included cross-level interaction terms between target group size and the ethnic origin of the respondent. In these interaction models, the main effect of percentage target outgroup in the neighborhood refers to the effect of outgroup size for the reference category of ethnic origin. By repeatedly changing the reference category of ethnic origin, we tested for the (significance of the) relationship between target group size and that group's attitudes toward each ethnic group separately. Note that although Table 5 presents only the main effects of the percentage target outgroup in the neighborhood (for each ethnic group separately), cross-level interactions effects were included in the models. Similarly, for clarity reasons, municipality and individual level control variables were left out of Table 5, but they were incorporated in the analyses.

Note that, because we use cross-sectional data, we have to be careful to interpret our results in terms of causation. Like in all cross-sectional research on neighborhood effects, results might be affected by a selection bias since the ethnic neighborhood composition might not only affect ethnic outgroup attitudes, but outgroup attitudes might also influence neighborhood choices (i.e., reversed causality). Plausibly, people who have positive attitudes toward a particular outgroup may have consciously chosen to live in a neighborhood with a larger proportion of that group, whereas those with negative attitudes may have already moved out of those neighborhoods. Hence, in case of a strong selection bias, the relationship found between outgroup size and positive attitudes toward that outgroup might in fact be less positive (or more negative). We return to this issue in the discussion that closes this article.

RESULTS

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
  4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
  5. DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD
  6. RESULTS
  7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
  8. REFERENCES
  9. Biographies

Table 2 shows how the five ethnic groups evaluate each other. On average, the Moroccan group is least positively evaluated, followed by Antilleans, Turks, and Surinamese, while attitudes toward the native Dutch majority group are most positive. In line with previous research (Hagendoorn, 1995), it is shown that the rank order in interethnic attitudes is rather consistent across ethnic majority and minority groups.

Table 2. Mean Positive Attitudes Toward Each Ethnic Target Outgroup by Ethnic Origin of the Resident (0–100)
Ethnic originAttitudes towardAttitudes towardAttitudes towardAttitudes towardAttitudes toward
residentsMoroccansAntilleansTurksSurinameseNative Dutch
  1. Source: LAS, 2005.

Moroccan50.360.859.469.3
Antillean43.852.963.970.1
Turkish42.341.151.167.3
Surinamese43.848.653.670.7
Native Dutch45.051.558.261.4
Overall44.847.856.558.769.3

Table 3 estimates the individual, neighborhood, and municipality level variances in the mean positive outgroup attitudes toward each ethnic target outgroup (the so-called intercept-only models). Furthermore, it specifies the intraclass correlation which indicates the proportion of the variance in outgroup attitudes that is explained by differences between neighborhoods (Hox, 2002). Table 3 indicates that, although most of the variance in outgroup attitudes is at the individual level, significant differences in outgroup attitudes between neighborhoods (as well as municipalities) were found. The percentage of the variance in outgroup attitudes that could be explained by difference between neighborhoods varied from 7% for the attitudes toward Surinamese to 2% for the attitudes toward native Dutch.

Table 3. Individual and Neighborhood Level Variances in the Mean Positive Attitudes Toward Each Ethnic Target Outgroup
 Positive attitudes toward target group
 MoroccansAntilleansTurksSurinameseNative Dutch
 b(s.e.)b(s.e.)b(s.e.)b(s.e.)b(s.e.)
Notes
  1. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; tested two-sided.

  2. Source: LAS, 2005; Statistics Netherlands, 2005.

Intercept45.3**(0.84)48.2**(1.05)55.5**(0.89)58.5**(0.86)69.5**(0.77)
Municipality level variance17**(7.09)32**(10.47)17**(7.00)20**(7.84)17**(6.27)
Neighborhood level variance28**(8.54)27**(8.85)19**(6.79)31**(7.80)7*(3.83)
Individual level variance510**(15.30)489**(15.33)416**(12.61)412**(12.57)331**(9.03)
Intraclass correlation0.05 0.05 0.04 0.07 0.02 
(neighborhood level)          
N2,792 2,561 2,708 2,753 3,121 

In the following, we examine the extent to which the variance in ethnic outgroup attitudes can be explained by percentage target outgroup in the neighborhood, controlling for other neighborhood, municipality, and individual level predictors. Table 4 presents a multilevel regression analysis of the positive attitudes toward each specific ethnic target group. First, we briefly discuss the effects of the individual level predictors, then we describe the outcomes of the impact of the percentage of a particular target outgroup in the neighborhood on the attitudes toward that particular outgroup. Finally, we reflect on our hypotheses.

Table 4. Multilevel Regression Analysis of the Positive Attitudes Toward Each Specific Target Outgroupa, b
 Positive attitudes toward target group
 1. Moroccans2. Antilleans3. Turks4. Surinamese5. Native Dutch
 bs.e.bs.e.bs.e.bs.e.bs.e.
Notes
  1. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; tested two-sided.

  2. a

    Controlled for missing income values.

  3. b

    The ethnic target group is excluded from the analyses.

  4. c

    The percentage target outgroup refers to the percentage of the particular ethnic group in the neighborhood or municipality to which the attitudes are directed. For example, Model 1 estimates the influence of the percentage of Moroccans in a neighborhood on the attitudes toward Moroccans.

  5. Source: LAS, 2005; Statistics Netherlands, 2005.

Intercept32.15(5.24)**42.44(4.95)**47.70(4.78)**48.77(4.25)**69.81(6.35)**
Neighborhood characteristics          
Percentage targetcoutgroup neighborhood−0.14(0.11)−0.42(0.31)0.11(0.09)−0.05(0.11)0.04(0.03)
Socioeconomic disadvantage0.18(0.13)−0.01(0.11)−0.16(0.12)0.01(0.10)0.06(0.11)
Influx of ethnic minorities−0.28(0.13)*−0.15(0.12)−0.24(0.11)*−0.06(0.12)0.00(0.09)
Municipality characteristics          
Percentage target outgroup municipality0.30(0.35)−1.20(1.21)−0.04(0.39)0.26(0.93)−0.03(0.08)
Individual characteristics          
Ethnicity          
Moroccan 3.27(1.89)9.27(1.68)**1.23(1.64)−0.31(1.03)
Antillean6.10(1.77)** −0.42(1.61)5.18(1.59)**ref
Turk2.11(1.82)−4.24(1.90)* −6.34(1.63)**−1.93(1.02)
Surinamese2.05(1.70)1.92(1.73)−0.39(1.54) 0.58(1.02)
Native Dutchrefrefrefref 
Age−0.03(0.04)0.00(0.04)0.08(0.03)*−0.00(0.04)0.010.03
Men0.17(0.87)−0.82(0.90)2.51(0.79)*2.06(0.79)**1.64(0.68)**
Education1.78(0.27)**1.44(0.27)**1.58(0.24)**1.64(0.23)**0.11(0.21)
Unemployed−1.81(1.47)−1.01(1.51)−1.32(1.29)−1.15(1.25)−0.08(1.04)
Income0.00(0.00)0.00(0.00)0.00(0.00)*0.00(0.00)0.00(0.00)
First generation−3.06(1.32)*−3.69(1.34)**−3.76(1.21)*−2.47(1.23)*−1.88(0.95)*
Religious participation1.01(0.35)**1.27(0.35)**0.58(0.31)0.91(0.29)**−0.12(0.24)
Dutch language difficulties−1.18(1.21)−1.37(1.22)−2.29(1.08)*−1.47(1.00)−0.86(0.80)
Variance components          
Municipality level12(6.13)*25(8.57)**22(8.19)**14(5.94)**14(5.79)**
Neighborhood level21(7.56)**15(7.35)*14(5.88)**19(6.53)**7(3.79)*
Individual level492(14.66)**466(14.47)**390(11.79)**382(11.58)**327(8.93)**

Table 4 shows that, generally, the effects of the individual level predictors are consistent with previous research and rather similar across outgroup attitudes: especially lower educated, members of the first migration generation, and those who do not regularly visit a religious service are less likely to endorse positive attitudes toward ethnic outgroups. Furthermore, Antilleans and Moroccans hold more positive attitudes toward other ethnic groups, whereas Turks generally hold more negative attitudes.

Attitudes Toward Moroccans

Model 1 of Table 4 presents a multilevel regression analysis of the positive attitudes toward Moroccans. It appears that the percentage of Moroccans, neither in the neighborhood nor in the municipality, is related to attitudes toward Moroccans. However, a sudden influx of non-Western ethnic minorities in the neighborhood reduces positive attitudes toward Moroccans. The socioeconomic status of a neighborhood is unrelated to attitudes toward Moroccans, even when we do not take into account ethnic neighborhood composition.

Table 5 shows the influence, for each ethnic group, of the percentage of an ethnic target outgroup in the neighborhood on the attitudes toward that target outgroup. Although we did not find an overall effect of the percentage of Moroccans in the neighborhood, it appears that the negative effect of the proportion of Moroccans in the neighborhood is significant for Turkish residents (Model 1 of Table 5). Turks who reside in a neighborhood with relatively large numbers of Moroccans endorse less positive attitudes toward Moroccans. For Antilleans, Surinamese, and native Dutch residents, the percentage of Moroccans in their neighborhood does not affect their attitudes toward Moroccans.

Table 5. Overview of the Influence of the Percentage of an Ethnic Target Outgroup in the Neighborhood on the Positive Attitudes Toward the Target Outgroup; Regression Coefficients (Standard Errors)a
 The influence of
 1. Percentage Moroccans2. Percentage Antilleans3. Percentage Turks4. Percentage Surinamese5. Percentage natives
 on attitudeson attitudeson attitudeson attitudeson attitudes
 toward Moroccanstoward Antilleanstoward Turkstoward Surinamesetoward natives
Ethnic origin residentsbs.e.bs.e.bs.e.bs.e.bs.e.
Notes
  1. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; tested two-sided.

  2. a

    Based on the analyses as displayed in Table 4 (including all neighborhood, municipality and individual level control variables), including cross-level interaction terms between outgroup size and ethnic origin of the respondent. To estimate if the relationship between outgroup size and outgroup attitudes was significant from zero for each ethnic group separately, we estimated different models and repeatedly changed the reference category of ethnic origin.

  3. Source: LAS, 2005; Statistics Netherlands, 2005.

Moroccan−0.23(0.55)0.27(0.12)*−0.00(0.15)0.02(0.04)
Antillean0.05(0.17)0.01(0.13)−0.00(0.13)−0.01(0.05)
Turkish−0.25(0.12)**−1.27(0.46)**−0.39(0.17)*0.09(0.04)*
Surinamese0.00(0.15)0.02(0.43)0.04(0.13)0.03(0.05)
Native Dutch−0.25(0.27)0.40(0.73)−0.18(0.22)0.36(0.23)
Overall−0.14(0.11)−0.42(0.32)0.11(0.08)−0.05(0.11)0.04(0.03)

Attitudes Toward Antilleans

Outcomes of a multilevel regression analysis of the positive attitudes toward Antilleans are presented in Model 2 of Table 4. Model 2 indicates that the share of Antilleans in a neighborhood is not related to attitudes toward Antilleans. Moreover, the percentage of Antilleans in the municipality, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and the influx of ethnic minorities are also not related to residents’ attitudes toward Antilleans. Interestingly, Table 5 shows that the percentage of Antilleans in the neighborhood does have a significant effect for Turks: Turks who live in the proximity of Antilleans evaluate Antilleans less positively. Again, this relationship does not hold among the other ethnic groups.

Attitudes Toward Turks

As shown in Model 3 of Table 4, the presence of Turks in a neighborhood (as well as in the municipality) is not associated with attitudes toward the Turkish outgroup. Table 5 (model 3) indicates that this is true for all ethnic groups, except for Moroccans. It is shown that for Moroccans, the percentage of Turks in the neighborhood has a positive effect on their attitudes toward Turks. Furthermore, socioeconomic disadvantage does not relate to residents’ attitudes toward Turks. However, residents of neighborhoods who experienced an influx of ethnic minorities in the neighborhood evaluate Turks less positively.

Attitudes Toward Surinamese

Model 4 of Table 4 shows no significant relationship between the percentage of Surinamese in a neighborhood (and in the municipality) and the attitudes toward Surinamese. Moreover, attitudes toward Surinamese are neither influenced by a sudden influx of ethnic minorities in a neighborhood, nor by the socioeconomic status of a neighborhood. Once more, Table 5 (Model 4) specifies that although there is no overall effect of the share of Surinamese, for Turkish residents the share of Surinamese in the neighborhood is associated with less positive attitudes toward Surinamese.

Attitudes Toward Natives

Finally, Model 5 of Table 4 indicates that neither the share of natives nor the socioeconomic status of a neighborhood relates to residents’ attitudes toward the native majority population. Table 5 (Model 5) shows that the nonsignificant relationship between the share of natives and the attitudes toward Natives holds true for each ethnic group, except for Turks. Turkish residents of neighborhoods with relatively large shares of native Dutch evaluate native Dutch more positively than Turks residing in neighborhoods with fewer native Dutch neighbors. Remarkably, attitudes toward the majority population seem to be less influenced by individual-level characteristics. For example, higher educated minority members do not have more positive attitudes toward the majority group than lower educated members.

Overall, it seems that for most ethnic groups their attitudes toward other ethnic groups seem not to be affected by the share of that particular ethnic group in their neighborhood. However, three of the five significant relationships between neighborhood outgroup size and positive outgroup attitudes that we did find turned out to be negative, suggesting that for some ethnic groups the proportion of a particular ethnic outgroup in their neighborhood is associated with less positive attitudes toward that group. The other two effects we found were positive, signifying that in some cases neighborhood proximity is associated with more positive outgroup attitudes.

What do these outcomes tell us about the hypotheses? Our first hypothesis proposed that the presence of culturally similar outgroups promotes positive outgroup attitudes, whereas the presence of culturally dissimilar outgroups promotes negative outgroup attitudes. Our analyses do not support this hypothesis. Regarding the attitudes toward Moroccans, for example, it is the Turks (the group that is culturally most similar to Moroccans) that report less positive attitudes toward Moroccans in neighborhoods with relatively larger shares of Moroccans. Furthermore, the presence of Turks or Moroccans does not negatively influence the outgroup attitudes of culturally dissimilar Surinamese, Antillean, and native Dutch residents. However, the positive effect of the percentage of Turks in the neighborhood on the attitudes toward Turks for Moroccans could be interpreted in favor of the cultural similarity hypothesis.

The finding that Turkish attitudes toward Surinamese and Antilleans are negatively affected by the share of Surinamese and Antilleans in their neighborhood could also be interpreted in favor of the first hypothesis, as Antilleans and Surinamese are culturally different minority groups. However, as Turks also report less positive attitudes toward Moroccans in neighborhoods with a relatively larger share of Moroccans, these outcomes do not consistently relate to considerations of cultural similarity.

The second hypothesis proposed that the presence of low-status outgroups (Moroccans, Antilleans, Turks) in a neighborhood leads to negative attitudes toward that outgroup, while the presence of high-status groups (Surinamese and natives) promotes positive outgroup attitudes. Some outcomes seem to be in accordance with this line of reasoning: for example, for Turks the presence of native Dutch in the neighborhood (considered a high-status group) promotes positive attitudes toward natives. However, the overall pattern does not show that the presence of lower status outgroups elicits negative outgroup attitudes.

CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
  4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
  5. DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD
  6. RESULTS
  7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
  8. REFERENCES
  9. Biographies

The purpose of this article has been to investigate the impact of ethnic concentrations on ethnic prejudice of ethnic majority and minority neighborhood residents in the Netherlands. Previous research examined the relationship between the size of the neighborhood minority population and outgroup attitudes of the majority group. However, given that European neighborhoods are highly ethnically mixed, we examined how residents of various ethnic origins evaluated different ethnic outgroups based on the proportions of these particular ethnic outgroups in their neighborhoods.

Overall, for most ethnic groups, the analyses show no significant relationship between target outgroup size and the attitudes toward that particular ethnic outgroup. Apparently, people's attitudes toward specific ethnic groups are not so much determined by the presence of these particular groups in their direct neighborhood environment, as we predicted from contact theory (Allport, 1954) and ethnic conflict theory (Blumer, 1958). Nevertheless, we found two instances where a larger neighborhood outgroup size was related to more positive outgroup attitudes, as inferred from contact theory. In three other cases, the size of a particular ethnic outgroup was associated with less positive outgroup attitudes, which corroborates the expectations of ethnic conflict theory, proposing that the presence of other ethnic groups elicits feelings of ethnic threat and, subsequently, less positive attitudes. Outcomes indicate that particularly the attitudes of Turkish residents toward other groups are affected by the size of the ethnic outgroups in their neighborhood: the presence of Moroccans, Antilleans, and Surinamese in the neighborhood is associated with less positive attitudes toward these minority groups, whereas the share of native Dutch residents is positively related to the attitudes toward natives. Yet, the group differences in the relationship between ethnic outgroup size and outgroup attitudes that we found do not consistently correspond with cultural group differences (as expected from belief congruency theory) or socioeconomic status group differences (as expected from social identity theory). It is not particularly concentrations of culturally dissimilar outgroups and low-status groups in a neighborhood that elicit negative outgroup attitudes. These outcomes deviate from the study by Havekes et al. (2011), who found that the more culturally similar the ethnic ingroup and outgroup, the more contact opportunity leads to positive feelings among them. Nevertheless, it is difficult to compare these studies directly, because we studied urban neighborhoods, whereas Havekes et al. (2011) also included smaller cities and the countryside. We also took into account the ethnic majority group in the analyses, and controlled for the socioeconomic circumstances in which ethnic groups interact.

Our analyses indicate that the presence of other ethnic groups in the neighborhood does not consistently influence residents’ attitudes toward these groups, and when it does it depends on the type of ethnic outgroup and the ethnic origin of the resident. Our results give a first indication that previous mixed findings in Europe regarding the impact of the neighborhood minority population in general might be due to the fact that neighborhoods that have been studied differ in the particular ethnic groups they are composed of. Yet, overall, we find few effects of neighborhood outgroup size only, so it can be questioned if attitudes toward specific ethnic groups are really influenced by the presence of these particular groups in the neighborhood. In particular, with respect to the interethnic threat mechanism, it can be speculated if other factors might be more important. In the Netherlands, the different ethnic minority groups are often (more or less positively) discussed in the media, on the basis of which people can form an opinion and general feeling about these groups. For example, Antilleans and Moroccans are generally associated with crime and causing problems in the street. Some studies have argued that the negative portrayal of particular ethnic groups in the media may have a negative impact on the public opinion on these groups (Lubbers, Scheepers, & Wester, 1998; Vergeer, 2000). Ethnic threat might therefore not only be caused by the direct exposure to other groups in the neighborhood, but also indirectly via negative information read in newspapers or seen on television. So today's impact of national media may help to explain why interethnic attitudes toward particular ethnic groups seem not that much influenced by the presence of these particular groups in people's direct neighborhood environment.

In addition, we see that an influx of ethnic minorities in the neighborhood is associated with less positive attitudes toward Turks and Moroccans. Accordingly, it might be the case that it is not so much the current share of Turks and Moroccans but an increasing percentage of Turks and Moroccans that promotes interethnic threat and reduces resident's positive attitudes toward these groups. The importance of neighborhood changes is also acknowledged in previous studies on interethnic relations in a neighborhood environment. It has been found, for example, that an increase in ethnic concentration negatively affect residents’ general interethnic attitudes and neighborhood satisfaction (Feijten & van Ham, 2009; Gijsberts & Dagevos, 2007). Changing neighborhood conditions may cause stress as neighborhood characteristics no longer meet the preferences or needs of residents (Feijten & van Ham, 2009). It has been argued that in an effort to cope with external frustrations born of, for example, economic and social instabilities in the neighborhood, people tend to express negative attitudes toward other ethnic groups (Glick, 2008; Havekes, Coenders, & Dekker, 2013). The influence of neighborhood changes also suggests that perceptions of neighborhood conditions might be important and that what residents feel happens in their neighborhood might play a more pivotal role than what they actually experience. It is therefore perhaps not so much the specific ethnic composition of the neighborhoods that affect residents’ attitudes, but a general effect of living in ethnically diverse neighborhoods and the perceptions that residents have about how their neighborhood will develop.

We analyzed the influence of outgroup size on positive outgroup attitudes, taking into account the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood. Overall, ethnic outgroup attitudes are not related to the socioeconomic status in the neighborhood. This is in contrast to research in the United States that finds that whites report more negative racial attitudes in low socioeconomic status neighborhoods (e.g., Branton & Jones, 2005; Taylor & Mateyka, 2011), but in line with other research in the Netherlands (Gijsberts et al., 2010). Differences in the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage might be due to a larger degree of income segregation in the United States than in most European cities (Musterd, 2005).

As in any other research, the analyses of the current article have some limitations which give rise to suggestions for future research. First, unfortunately, we were unable to include measures of interethnic threat and contact that could explain the relationship between outgroup size and outgroup attitudes, as proposed by ethnic conflict and contact theory. Previous research showed the influence of outgroup size on interethnic contact and perceived ethnic threat among majority residents in the Netherlands (Savelkoul et al., 2010) but few data sets include measures of interethnic threat and contact from a multigroup perspective. As a result, relatively little is known about the extent to which ethnic minority groups feel threatened by other minority groups in their neighborhood and how many contacts they maintain with minority neighbors. This would be of interest for the current study, because interethnic threat and contact may depend on cultural and socioeconomic differences between groups. Related to this, interethnic threat and contact could also be conditional on individual characteristics of respondents such as religious affiliation or socioeconomic class. It might be the case, for example, that for some socioeconomic groups a larger group size increases perceptions of ethnic threat, while for others interethnic contact will be stimulated. Indeed, Scheepers, Gijsberts, and Coenders (2002) found that the larger the percentage of non-EU citizens in a country, the more manual workers are in favor of ethnic exclusionism as compared to the service class. Accordingly, future research should profoundly investigate interethnic threat and contacts between different ethnic groups but also consider differences between social categories within ethnic groups.

Moreover, because at first sight cultural and socioeconomic group differences seem inappropriate to explain group differences in the relationship between outgroup size and outgroup attitudes, there might be other mechanisms behind the relationship between outgroup size and outgroup attitudes. An alternative explanation for why Turkish residents in particular seem to be negatively affected by the presence of ethnic outgroups in a neighborhood may be their strong ingroup orientation. Turkish residents have the least interethnic contact, are more likely to have friends and acquaintances from Turkish origin and more often rely on their own language when speaking with friends and family compared to other ethnic minority groups (Gijsberts & Dagevos, 2005). Particularly those residents that strongly identify with their ethnic ingroup may feel uncomfortable and threatened around other groups in a neighborhood.

Furthermore, using cross-sectional data, we cannot reach strong conclusions on causation. Plausibly, those residents who have positive attitudes toward a particular outgroup are also more likely to choose to live in a neighborhood with a larger outgroup size, whereas intolerant people would relocate. Hence, panel data should clarify the extent to which ethnic attitudes play a decisive role in relocation choices. Socioeconomic differences between ethnic groups make some migration patterns more likely for particular ethnic groups than others. For example, the native majority population has on average better economic opportunities to leave certain neighborhoods that do not fit their ethnic preferences than do minority groups.

In closing, the primary contribution of this article is the multi-ethnic approach to the relationship between ethnic concentration and interethnic attitudes. Future neighborhood effects research should keep in mind that different types of ethnic concentrations might have different effects on interethnic attitudes of residents of different ethnic origin. At the same time, further research is necessary to understand under which conditions and by which mechanisms the specific ethnic composition of the neighborhood affects interethnic attitudes toward specific ethnic groups.

ENDNOTES
  1. 1

    According to the standard definition of Statistics Netherlands, ethnicity is defined by country of birth such that people are considered a member of an ethnic minority group when at least one parent is born in a foreign country. Furthermore, the Dutch statistics distinguish between Western and non-Western ethnic minorities. The category of Western ethnic minorities includes immigrants (and their children) from Europe (except for Turkey), United States of America, Oceania, Japan, and Indonesia. The category of non-Western ethnic minorities includes immigrants (and their children) from Turkey and all countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia (except for Indonesia and Japan).

  2. 2

    In the neighborhood context, perceptions of cultural threat might be particularly relevant, as conflicting lifestyles and different norms and values might be prominently visible in everyday encounters in the neighborhood. With a larger outgroup size, residents might feel less at home in their own neighborhood (e.g., Permentier, Bolt, & van Ham, 2010; Stolle, Soroka, & Johnston, 2008). On the other hand, economic competition might also take place in settings outside the neighborhood, such as the (regional) labor market and the struggle for political power and group rights.

  3. 3

    The survey question reads as follows: “How do you think about different populations? Imagine yourself a thermometer at which you could indicate this. You can choose any temperature between 0 and 100 degrees; 100 degrees means you have very positive feelings and 0 means you have very negative feelings. You are completely free to choose your answer. You can assign different temperatures or similar temperatures.” Then the interviewer reads the questions about the different ethnic groups: e.g., “How do you feel about Moroccans?” The evaluations involve the outgroup as a whole, even when the respondent did not know anybody from that group personally.

  4. 4

    Missing data (n = 32) on education were substituted with the mean level of education.

  5. 5

    Native Dutch respondents were assigned to the “not having language difficulties” category.

  6. 6

    Missing data (n = 101) on age were substituted with the mean age.

  7. 7

    Native Dutch respondents were assigned to the “second generation” category.

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  2. ABSTRACT
  3. ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
  4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
  5. DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD
  6. RESULTS
  7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
  8. REFERENCES
  9. Biographies
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Biographies

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
  4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
  5. DATA, MEASURES, AND METHOD
  6. RESULTS
  7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
  8. REFERENCES
  9. Biographies
  • Esther Havekes is a PhD student at the Department of Sociology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on the relationship between the neighborhood, interethnic attitudes and residential intentions and behavior.

  • Marcel Coenders is associate professor at the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Marcel has widely published on interethnic attitudes, intergroup relations and exclusionary reactions towards ethnic minorities.

  • Karien Dekker is assistant professor at the Department of Sociology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Karien is particularly interested in neighborhood development, social cohesion and neighborhood participation.

  • Tanja van der Lippe is Professor at the Department of Sociology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She has published extensively on the division of labor between spouses, time use and time pressure in a comparative way, and labor market positions of men and women in Western and Eastern European countries.