GREAT Britain is one of the least racist countries in Europe, a new study has revealed.
The study, published in Frontiers in Sociology, said Britain had a “high level of tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity” and was “much less prejudiced” than people in poorer countries.
Researchers pooled data from 450,000 people across 100 countries.
They found prejudice against immigrants, other races, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Gypsies are all “relatively low” in the UK.
Study co-author Professor Mariah Evans, from the University of Nevada, said: “Prejudice against immigrant workers or minority ethnic and religious groups is rare in the UK, perhaps even slightly rarer than in equivalently developed EU countries.
“Even though only a small minority is prejudiced, in a large population that still makes many people – enough to show up in anti-immigrant demonstrations or to mobilise letter-writing campaigns to MPs.”
The study found prejudice against people of a different religion is “very low in the UK” with less than 5 per cent saying they would object to having a neighbour of a different religion.
It revealed how there was a decline in prejudice across levels of GDP within the EU, with countries like Latvia and Bulgaria showing higher levels of racism.
Prejudice is fairly similar against people “of a different race”, the study found.
It drops from around 20 per cent in poorer countries in the EU to less than 10 per cent in the UK.
The study said this suggested Great Britain was a “very typical prosperous EU country when it comes to ethno-religious prejudice generally”.
It found that increased immigration reduces prejudice but can also stoke tensions when it’s viewed as a “status threat”.
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The study said that if the balance tilts suddenly to the latter side, “rapid changes may occur throughout the EU in the future”.
It said: “If public response to immigration was one of the troubles leading the UK to leave the EU, there is fertile ground in public opinion for similar troubles in the years to come in Germany, the Netherlands and perhaps elsewhere.
“This strongly suggests that Brexit did not come about because the UK’s population is distinctively prejudiced and that similar issues may well-arise in other EU nations in future years.”
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