E.g., 02/23/2024
E.g., 02/23/2024
Multiculturalism: Success, Failure, and the Future

Despite substantial evidence that policies allowing legal and political accommodation of ethnic diversity are working, a chorus of political leaders in Europe has declared multiculturalism a failure — in effect mischaracterizing the multiculturalism experiment, its future prospects, and its progress over the past three decades. This popular master narrative is too quick to herald the death of multiculturalism, and mischaracterizes the nature of the experiments undertaken, exaggerates the extent to which they have been abandoned, and misidentifies not only the limitations encountered but also the options for addressing these problems.

This report, part of a Transatlantic Council on Migration series on national identity in the age of migration, challenges the recent rhetoric and addresses the advancement of policy areas for countries, examining factors that impede or facilitate successful implementation of multiculturalism policies. When these facilitating conditions are present, multiculturalism can be seen as a low-risk option, and indeed seems to have worked well in such cases.  

The report draws upon the Multiculturalism Policy Index. This index identifies concrete policy areas where liberal-democratic states have decided to develop more multicultural forms of citizenship in relation to immigrant groups and measures the extent to which countries have espoused some or all of these policies over time.


Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

A. The Rise and Fall of Multiculturalism

II. What Is Multiculturalism?

A. Misleading Model

B. Multiculturalism in Context

C. The Evolution of Multiculturalism Policies

III. Multiculturalism in Practice

A. The Canadian Success Story

B. The European Experience

IV. The Retreat from Multiculturalism

A. Rhetoric versus Reality

B. Proliferation of Civic Integration Policies

V. Conclusion: The Future of Multicultural Citizenship