‘Almost unprecedented’ spike in number of Australians who see racism as a problem, survey finds

Of note:

Australians are increasingly aware that racism is a problem in their country, while positive sentiment about immigration and multiculturalism has also increased over the past 12 months, according to an authoritative survey on social cohesion.

The annual Mapping Social Cohesion Report from the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute, released on Tuesday, has charted a 20 percentage point increase in 12 months in response to the question “How big a problem is racism in Australia?”

Back in 2020, 40% of respondents thought racism in Australia was either a very big or fairly big problem. But in the 2021 survey of 3,572 respondents, 60% held that view.

The survey authors note “an increase of 20 percentage points in response to a general question of this nature is almost unprecedented in the Scanlon Foundation surveys”, which have been conducted annually since 2007. But they say there is no clear trigger or cultural catalyst explaining such a large shift.

The research suggests Australians were also more enthusiastic during the period of pandemic-induced international border closure about the contribution migrants make to the economy, with 86% of the sample agreeing with the proposition “immigrants are generally good for Australia’s economy” (compared with 76% in 2019, the year before Covid-19 hit).

Similarly, 86% of respondents agreed “multiculturalism has been good for Australia” compared with 80% agreeing with that proposition in 2019. A super-majority (90% – the highest affirmation in the survey) also endorsed the importance of the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the wider Australian community.

Source: ‘Almost unprecedented’ spike in number of Australians who see racism as a problem, survey finds

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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