, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 189-222

Ethnicity, Modern Prejudice and the Quality of Life

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Abstract

The aim of this investigation was to measure levels of ethnic or cultural background diversity, social cohesion and modern prejudice, and the impact of such diversity, cohesion and prejudice on the quality of life. Using a sample of 743 residents of Prince George, British Columbia, we identified diverse ethnic or cultural groups, and created several indexes of heterogeneous social networks and a measure of modern prejudice. Dividing the total sample into three roughly distinct groups containing, respectively, respondents self-reporting an ethnic or cultural background that was aboriginal, non-aboriginal visible minority or anything else, we discovered that all significant comparisons indicated that people with aboriginal backgrounds reported a generally lower quality of life than those in the other two groups. The quality of life scores of the other two groups were practically indistinguishable. Given the demographic structure of our sample, the revealed differences could not be attributed to differences in socio-economic classes. Members of the largest group of respondents tended to be most prejudiced and optimistic, people with aboriginal backgrounds tended to be least prejudiced and optimistic and people with visible minority backgrounds tended to be between the other two groups. Regressions revealed that a variety of ethnic/culture-related phenomena could only explain 8%, 9% and 10%, respectively, of the variation in scores for happiness, life satisfaction and satisfaction with the overall quality of life. When domain satisfaction scores were added to the set of predictors, we were able to explain 48%, 69% and 54%, respectively, of the variation in scores for happiness, life satisfaction and satisfaction with the overall quality of life. In the presence of the domain satisfaction scores, the scores on the ethnic/cultural related phenomena added only one percentage point of explanatory power for happiness and life satisfaction, and three percentage points for satisfaction with the overall quality of life. All things considered, then, it is fair to say that this project showed that ethnic or cultural background diversity, social cohesion and modern prejudice had relatively very little impact on the quality of life of our sample of respondents.