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Competing diversity indices and attitudes toward cultural pluralism in Europe

Ádám Németh (Department of Human Geography and Urban Studies, University of Pécs, Pecs, Hungary)
Dávid Sümeghy (Department of Human Geography and Urban Studies, University of Pécs, Pecs, Hungary)
András Trócsányi (Department of Human Geography and Urban Studies, University of Pécs, Pecs, Hungary)
Gábor Pirisi (Department of Human Geography and Urban Studies, University of Pécs, Pecs, Hungary)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 1 December 2020

Issue publication date: 21 September 2022




The purpose of this analysis is to collect and classify the most important diversity indices, outline the logical connections between them and answer the following question: How much will the results differ if the authors use different indices for explaining the same dependent variable (attitude toward cultural pluralism), and what kind of relationships are observable in the European societies?


The diversity indices are good for compressing information on the number and shares of ethnic groups in a given setting into single numbers in order to use them as independent variables. However, it matters which index the authors choose because it can make a meaningful difference in the assessment of the potential impacts of diversification. Our empirical study (based on 43 European countries and 160 regions) concluded that the correlation coefficients between the most important indices are above 0.8. Thus, in practice, none of them gives a fundamentally different answer to the question: how does diversity/diversification influences people's attitudes toward multiculturalism.


By linking these results with the European Social Survey database the authors concluded that the more diverse a population in 2014 was, a more positive attitude toward multiculturalism was expressed. However, if the authors focus on the dynamics of diversification, the spread of points is much greater and polynomial (U-shaped curvilinear) trendlines are better suitable to grasp the relationships. It means that people tend to react very differently to similar societal changes in those regions where a moderate degree of diversification took place.


International migration and ethno-cultural diversification are hotly debated issues in contemporary Europe, and there is a growing interest in understanding their possible social, economic and political outcomes. A question of key importance for the social sciences to adequately answer the challenges is the capability to measure these processes in a quantitative way as well. This paper helps decide which diversity index might be the optimum solution for a given research project.



The research of Ádám Németh was supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office – NKFIH, PD 115951.The project has been supported by the European Union, co-financed by the European Social Fund Grant no.: EFOP-3.6.1.-16-2016-00004 entitled by Comprehensive Development for Implementing Smart Specialization Strategies at the University of Pécs.


Németh, Á., Sümeghy, D., Trócsányi, A. and Pirisi, G. (2022), "Competing diversity indices and attitudes toward cultural pluralism in Europe", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 41 No. 7, pp. 1029-1046.



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