Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: Is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?

Presenter
Gundi Knies, ISER

Authors
Lucinda Platt, Alita Nandi, Gundi Knies

Keywords
wellbeing, ethnic segregation, neighbourhood effects, ethnic minorities, Great Britain, discrimination

There is considerable debate about the advantages and disadvantages of minority ethnic group concentration. While some regard it as a process of group separation (Battu, et al. 2007), or damaging for local trust (Putnam 2007), others highlight the potentially protective influences in areas such as health or experience of discrimination (Becares, et al. 2009). However, to our knowledge, no studies have so far evaluated the extent to which different levels of own or other group concentration impact on subjective well-being itself. Exploiting the opportunities offered by an exceptional source of data we therefore bring together three research strands, those on ethnic segregation, neighbourhood effects and well-being to explore for the first time in the UK the mediating effect of neighbourhood context on life satisfaction of ethnic minority groups. Using a unique dataset for the UK linked with a range of neighbourhood characteristics from a number of different sources, the research looks at variation in life satisfaction of ethnic groups living in Great Britain, and examines the extent to which neighbourhood ethnic composition is related to life satisfaction. Since other characteristics of the neighbourhood may be correlated with ethnic composition (i.e., economic and socio-cultural aspects such as neighbourhood deprivation, neighbourhood income and consumption and life-style profiles) the paper also considers the role of these factors. Taken together this allows us to answer the question whether the ethnic composition of the neighbourhood plays a part in positively or negatively impacting people’s experienced utility, and whether there is variation across ethnic groups.