This survey looks into the social cohesion in Melbourne neighbourhoods, illustrating that at a broad level, social cohesion remains stable, despite a growing population, increased diversity and recent economic uncertainty.
Social cohesion operates not in the abstract, the realm of the ‘nation’, but at the community level, where people of different backgrounds and cultures make their lives. This understanding informed the decision to undertake the 2007, 2009 and 2012 Scanlon Foundation surveys in areas of high immigrant concentration, where, historical evidence indicates, the potential for social tension is higher.
The data gathered by the five Scanlon Foundation national surveys, conducted between 2007-2012, provide the context for interpreting developments in neighbourhoods. Most surveys in Australia aim to collect data at the national and state levels; there are also specialised studies, less frequently undertaken, which explore attitudes within localities or subgroups of the population. Such national and local research typically operates with a limited focus, either the whole population or a segment of the population.