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Perceived diversity in local areas related to more prejudice

ODD FINDINGS: Study finds people are more likely to be prejudice if they believe they live in diverse areas

RESIDENTS WHO claimed their areas are ethnically diverse are "less accepting of new minority ethnic groups", researchers have found.

The study by Sheffield University conducted a survey of communities in Leeds and Warsaw in Poland, looking at how attitudes towards minority ethnic groups are "related to real and perceived diversity".

They found the 'real' ethnic diversity of a neighbourhood did not have any negative effects in regards to people's feelings towards minority ethnic groups.

However, the level of 'perceived' diversity was found to be 'negatively related to attitudes towards minority ethnic groups'.

The researchers asked respondents to assess the level of diversity in their areas to compare how well aligned their beliefs were with reality.

The team, led by Dr Aneta Piekut, of Sheffield Methods Institute and Professor Gill Valentine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Social Sciences, reportedly spoke to 1,036 residents in Leeds and 1,179 in Warsaw.

"Actual and perceived diversity work differently," Dr Piekut told the Mail Online.

"Residents of ethnically mixed neighbourhoods in Leeds, and those having everyday contact with people of minority ethnic background in both cities, are more tolerant towards them."

"Yet, those 'seeing' their neighbourhood as diverse - regardless whether it was actually diverse or not - are more prejudiced."

"Our study demonstrates that diversity perceptions are spatial and temporal - they depend on neighbourhood context and recent changes in the immediate living area."

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