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Germans’ Wellbeing is Boosted by Ethnic Diversity

But not by segregation

To be sure, the intrinsic cultural and societal value of ethnic diversity is a hard thing to measure. The benefit of ethnic diversity is multifaceted and often intangible. Lately, it’s also been questioned.

The right data can provide some insight, though. Specifically, Alpaslan Akay and colleagues look at wellbeing, which is convincingly approximated in the 1998 – 2012 German Socioeconomic Panel survey by respondents’ evaluation of their own life satisfaction. They found that ethnic diversity had a positive effect on native Germans’ wellbeing, provided integration was high. Interestingly, it was those native Germans with lower levels of education and over the age of 50 who tended to experience the most improvement. Typically, this is one of the demographics assumed to be least open to diversity.

It’s worth noting, however, that the effect did not hold up in highly segregated areas. This suggests that, despite the political headwinds, integration policies will pay off for natives(/locals) and newcomers alike.