Publisher: The Home Office, Research, Development and Statistics Directorate (RDS)
Release Date: January 2005

This study by Rachel Pennant is of considerable importance to Muslims in Britain because it demolishes the myth that diversity in society is negatively correlated with civic trust – the argument put about by anti-multiculturalists such as David Goodhart (see his ‘Is Britain too Diverse?’, Prospect October 2004). The RDS analysis uses data from the 2003 Home Office Citizenship Survey to seek out the relationship between how diverse an area is in terms of socio-economic, ethnic and faith groups and the levels of trust between neighbours and in relation to institutions such as the Police, Parliament, the courts and the local council in that area. It also examines the relationship between this diversity and community participation. It is based on a nationally representative sample of about 14,000 people, including about 4,400 from minority ethnic groups.

The study establishes that ethnic diversity has no impact on factors such as trust in courts and Parliament. Moreover, Muslims demonstrated the most positive correlation with ‘generalised trust’ (trust of others in their neighbourhood) and are more likely to participate in civic activities. Other research by Professor Peach at Oxford University has shown that Muslims are more likely to have a non-Muslim neighbour compared with adherents of the Jewish faith.