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Queen's University

Multiculturalism Policies in Contemporary Democracies


Research on the effects of MCPs is still in its early stages, and it is premature to make definitive judgements about the “success” or “failure” of multiculturalism, or about the “advance” or “retreat” of multiculturalism. We hope that the Index will enable and encourage new cross-national research that would allow us to make more fine-grained judgements about the evolution and effects of multiculturalism policies.

Based on the findings of the Index to date, however, we can make two preliminary conclusions about the evolution of these policies, and their social effects:

  1. Contrary to common belief, there has not been a dramatic retreat from MCPs across the Western democracies. Indeed, the average MCP score across the 21 countries has increased from 1980 to 2000, and again from 2000 to 2010. Examples of the repeal of MCPs are in limited to a few countries, more than offset by the increasing adoption of MCPs in other countries. This is true for all three types of groups: indigenous peoples, national minorities and immigrants.
  2. Cross-national studies using the MCP Index provide little or no support for the claim that MCPs have negative effects on social solidarity, social capital, or immigrant integration. If anything, the studies to date suggest that MCPs are having positive effects. Click here for a list of relevant studies.

For more information, please contact the Directors of the MCP Index Project, Keith Banting ( or Will Kymlicka ( We would also welcome comments on our Index, and news about research using the Index.

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