Neighborhood ethnic composition and resident perceptions of safety in European countries

Moshe Semyonov, Anastasia Gorodzeisky, Anya Glikman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Employing data from the 2002 European Social Survey for 21 national representative samples, we provide the first cross-national analysis of the relations between ethnic composition of neighborhood and perception of neighborhood safety in the European context. The data reveal considerable variation both across countries and across individuals in perceived safety. Bi-level regression analysis shows that perceived safety tends to be lower in countries characterized by a high imprisonment rate and among Europeans who are physically and socially vulnerable (e.g., among women and elderly people, and among populations of low income and low education). Net of individual-level and country-level attributes, the analysis shows that perceived safety is lowest in neighborhoods mostly populated by non-European ethnic minorities and highest in neighborhoods mostly populated by Europeans. The effect of ethnic composition of neighborhood on perceived safety holds even after controlling for previous personal exposure to crime and views toward minorities' impact on crime. We discuss the results in comparison to findings in the United States and in the light of theory in order to delineate theways that views and perceptions about places are formed and shaped.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-135
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Problems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2012


  • Ethnic composition
  • Europe
  • Fear of crime
  • Immigration
  • Neighborhood safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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