Published: September 26, 2019

Sydes, M. (2019). Immigration, Ethnicity, and Neighborhood Violence: Considering Both Concentration and Diversity Effects. Race and Justice, 2153368719875183.


Michelle Sydes 


Immigrant ethnicity remains a largely understudied aspect of the immigration–crime nexus. Instead, most research to date relies on a single measure of immigrant concentration—most commonly the percent foreign born, the percent recently arrived or the percent Latino/Hispanic. In doing so, studies fail to account for the potential heterogeneity within the immigrant population. This study provides a comprehensive examination of immigrant ethnicity by disaggregating the immigrant population by language and religious affiliation. Drawing on three waves of census data and 9 years of official recorded crime data, this study explores the impact of both immigrant concentration and diversity on violent crime across 882 neighborhoods located in two Australian cities. The results demonstrate that growth in the immigrant population—regardless of the language or religion group under consideration—does not lead to more violent crime within a neighborhood. Further, no language or religion group concentration is associated with more violent crime once the sociostructural and environmental features of neighborhoods are considered. Indeed, the growth and concentration of some ethnic groups are linked to less violent crime. However, both linguistically and religiously diverse neighborhoods encounter more violent crime.