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Trust, Diversity, and Segregation in the United States and the United Kingdom1

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Generalized trust is a value that leads to many positive outcomes for a society. Many analysts argue that trust is lower when we are surrounded by people who are different from ourselves. Residential segregation, not diversity is the culprit in lower levels of trust. Segregation is one of the key reasons why contact with people who are different from ourselves does not lead to greater trust. Diversity is a proxy for the minority share in a community and that: (1) segregation, especially in diverse communities, drives down trust more than diversity does; but (2) close personal ties in integrated diverse communities builds trust, but more so in the United States than in the United Kingdom, and more for majority white communities than for minorities.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD 20742, Center for American Law and Political Science Southwest University of Political Science and Law Chongqing China, Email:


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