Tolerance in the city: The multilevel effects of urban environments on permissive attitudes

Christopher M. Huggins, Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Studies on urbanism often suggest a link between urbanites and increased tolerance. While this claim is usually supported in the literature, most research is hampered by several limitations: it focuses almost exclusively on the United States, it neglects classical arguments that phenomena of urbanism are both macro-level and local, and it does not direct attention to the different mechanisms through which urbanism is believed to operate. In this article, the authors reexamine the tolerance-producing capacity of urbanism by addressing these limitations. Drawing on a large cross-national sample, this study uses multilevel modeling to examine urban factors at both the local and societal level, as well as two measures of tolerance to account for the different forms it might take depending on competing conceptualizations. Findings are that local urban environments promote tolerance cross-nationally, and that societal level urbanization is significantly associated with tolerance, but the effect is not always positive. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of these patterns and their impact on our understanding of urban tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-269
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Urban Affairs Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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