“It has become increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: Our differences make us stronger.
“But a massive new study [. . .] has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam [. . .] has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study [. . .] found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.
“His findings on the downsides of diversity have also posed a challenge for Putnam, a liberal academic whose own values put him squarely in the pro-diversity camp. Suddenly finding himself the bearer of bad news, Putnam has struggled with how to present his work.”
— Michael Jonas, writing on “The downside of diversity,” Aug. 5 in the Boston Globe