Social cohesion among immigrants during COVID-19

James O'Donnell, Australian National University

In this study, we analyse social cohesion in ethnically diverse communities during COVID-19 and assess the degree to which religious affiliation is used as a form of bonding capital to support individual and community wellbeing. We draw on a nationally representative longitudinal survey of 3,030 respodents in Australia conducted during 2020. Multilevel linear regression models are designed to examine associations and their moderating influences. Initial findings suggest negative associations between ethnic diversity and wellbeing and cohesion are largely explained by the age structure and population turnover of diverse communities. Religious affiliation among migrant and minority groups is positively associated with perceived social cohesion at neighbourhood and national levels. We tentatively conclude that religion has been an important form of bonding social capital during COVID-19, helping to mitigate against the personal costs of the pandemic. Implications arise for researchers in considering the interaction between bonding and bridging capital, and for policymakers in leveraging off the interpersonal bonds that exist within communities.

Keywords: Culture, ethnicity, race, religion and language, Migrant populations, COVID-19, Spatial analysis/regression

See paper.

  Presented in Session 177. Ethnicity, Religion and Tribe: Sociocultural Influences on Demographic Behaviour