Posted on December 31, 2020

What Happened to Brussels? The Big Decline and Muslim Immigration

Emil O. W. Kirkegaard and Baptiste Dumoulin, Mankind Quarterly, December 2020

We examined regional inequality in Belgium, both in the 19 communes of Brussels and in the country as a whole (n = 589 communes). We find very strong relationships between Muslim% of the population and a variety of social outcomes such as crime rate, educational attainment, and median income. For the 19 communes of Brussels, we find a correlation of-.94 between Muslim% and a general factor of socioeconomic variables (S factor) based on 22 diverse indicators. The slope for this relationship is-7.52, meaning that a change in S going from 0% to 100% Muslim corresponds to a worsening of overall social well-being by 7.52 (commune-level) standard deviations. For the entire country, we have data for 8 measures of social inequality. Analysis of the indicators shows an S factor which is very similar to the one from the Brussels data only based on the full set of indicators (r’s = .98). In the full dataset, the correlation between S and Muslim% is-.52, with a slope of-8.05. Adding covariates for age, population density, and spatial autocorrelation changes this slope to-8.77. Thus, the expected change going from a 0% to 100% Muslim population is-8.77 standard deviations in general social well-being. We discuss our findings in relation to other research on immigration and social inequality, with a focus on the causal influence of intelligence on life outcomes in general.