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Exposure to diverse backgrounds boosts diversity

Interacting with people of different backgrounds is related to more positive attitudes about diversity in emerging markets, a new study finds

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, many emerging economies grappled with challenges linked to diversity and changing demographics, but people who interact more with those who are different from them tend to be more positive about societal diversity, according to a new Pew Research Center report. Interactions with people of different backgrounds also contribute to favorable views of people of different racial and ethnic identities.

Across the 11 countries surveyed (Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia, Venezuela and Vietnam), more people said their countries are better off thanks to the increasing number of people of different races, ethnic groups and nationalities who live there (median of 42%) than said their country is worse off (22%), and a large minority said these changes make no difference (30%).

In South Africa, a majority of people had a favorable view of white South Africans, black South Africans and coloured South Africans. But people tended to have more positive views of their own racial group than of others. However, favourability of both coloured and white South Africans is higher among those who report regular interactions with people of different backgrounds.

These are among the major findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from 7 Sept to 7 Dec 2018. To read the full report, click here.

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