Political concern about a lack of social integration has been high for some time. A new report from Bright Blue asks – what is social integration, and why it it so important? The report argues that neighbourhood trust should be at the heart of our understanding and measurement of social integration, since it is indicative of positive, meaningful and sustained interactions with people in a neighbourhood. However, the best measure of social integration is only when neighbourhood trust is between ethnically and religiously diverse communities.
The report ‘Distant neighbours’ primarily seeks to understand the trends and drivers of neighbourhood trust, including how neighbourhood trust and ultimately social integration varies across England. Original policies are proposed to boost social integration. These are focused on giving individuals the tools to maximise their ability to socially integrate, and on reforming institutions so the opportunities for those from different ethnic and religious backgrounds to integrate are increased.