Executive summary

This report presents the findings of the sixth Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion national survey, conducted in July 2013. The report builds on the knowledge gained through the five earlier Scanlon Foundation national surveys (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012) which provide, for the first time in Australian social research, a series of detailed surveys on social cohesion, immigration and population issues. Each of the previous five national surveys was completed by 2000 respondents, a total of 10,000, with an additional 5,300 respondents who completed the 2007, 2009 and 2012 local surveys.

Several changes were made in the conduct of the 2013 survey. For the first time, the national survey used a dual-frame sample methodology comprising both randomly generated (RDD) landline telephone numbers and randomly generated mobile phone numbers. This meant that, in keeping with contemporary best practice, the survey included the views of the estimated 19% of adults who now live in households without a landline telephone connection.

In addition to the national survey, additional surveys were conducted in 2013. First, a series of locality based surveys: in areas of high immigrant concentration (in Brisbane and Perth); in regional centres impacted by immigration (Shepparton and Murray Bridge); and in a region with little experience of recent immigration (Atherton Tableland in Queensland). The local area surveys were completed by 2,500 respondents. Second, an online survey of recent immigrant arrivals was completed by over 2,300 respondents.

This report focuses on the findings of the Scanlon Foundation national survey, with a summary of key findings from the survey of recent arrivals. The discussion of the local surveys is limited to the provision of evidence on attitudes to multiculturalism. A full report on the local and recent arrivals surveys is planned for release in April 2014.

A prime objective of the surveys has been to further understanding of the social impact of Australia’s increasingly diverse immigration program. In the 2013 national survey there were 18 questions concerned with immigration and cultural diversity, with scope to interpret findings in the context of a questionnaire comprising 65 questions.

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