Dr. Linda Tropp was awarded a grant with her fellow co-PIs at the Russell Sage Foundation for a multi-university, multi-disciplinary project entitled "Immigrant-Native Relations in 21st Century America: Intergroup Contact, Trust and Civic Engagement".
The notable increase in immigration in the U.S. over the past half century, coupled with its recent geographic dispersion into new communities nationwide, has fueled contact between immigrants and the native-born across a wider front than ever before. However, the consequences of contact within this context of ethnic diversity, particularly for key social outcomes such as trust and civic engagement, are far from clear. Some scholars have been quite pessimistic, suggesting that rising ethnic diversity leads all groups to withdraw from community life and civic engagement. Others have argued for the importance of ethnic diversity and the re-invigoration of American civic life by facing the challenges of a pluralistic society. These debates about the impact of ethnic diversity on civic life in 21st-century America tap into central concerns about the tensions between difference and commonality in democratic societies. Still, they offer little insight into how immigration contributes to this diversity, shapes social relations, and affects trust and civic engagement.