Negativity toward immigrant out-groups among Northern Ireland’s Youth – are younger cohorts becoming more tolerant?

Dr Stefanie Doebler (University of Liverpool), Dr Ruth McAreavey, Prof Sally Shortall and Dr Ian Shuttleworth (QUB)

Negativity toward immigrants is a known problem in Northern Ireland. Media reports of racist hate crimes have been so frequent that Northern Ireland was famously dubbed the ‘race hate capital of Europe’. There exist several accounts on this, but the current knowledge-base has gaps regarding young people’s attitudes, and there is a lack of cohort comparisons. This paper examines cohort differences in, and predictors of negativity toward immigrant out-groups in Northern Ireland using data from the Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) and Young Life and Times (YLT) surveys 2004 to 2013. The main focus is on young people aged 16 and 18 to 24 years. Findings: Negativity toward immigrants has increased in recent years across all, but the youngest cohort. Segregation, sectarian attitudes and type of school are important predictors. Living in segregated areas and preference for a segregated neighbourhood are positively and social contacts and (religiously) mixed schooling negatively related to negativity toward immigrants. However, for the 16 year olds, not mixed schooling, but other school characteristics are statistically associated with lower levels of outgroup negativity.

[Policy Briefing] [Presentation]