Immigration Leads to a Loss in Social Capital

The Claim:

In a recent Wall Street Journal essay on the immigration debate, Mark Krikorian used research from Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam to say that more diverse communities lead to “a decline in connections among individuals and in social trust.”

The Problem:

Krikorian cherrypicks from the data

According to Dr. Putnam, while there is some loss of social capital in the short term, in the medium to long run, “successful immigrant societies like the U.S. create new forms of social solidarity and damp the negative effects of diversity by constructing new, more encompassing identities. Mr. Krikorian deftly cherry-picks the middle point [the short-term impact] but entirely ignores the first and last [the medium and long-term] because they are inconvenient for his policy recommendations.”