Although urban scholars have considered population change an important barrier to the generation of social trust, studies accounting for the mechanisms at work have been relatively rare. Drawing from a dataset that combines a survey of 1348 residents nested within 45 neighborhoods in and around Seoul with census data, this article identifies neighborhood processes whereby residential mobility breeds social distrust. The relationship between social trust, neighborhood cohesion, and residential mobility is analyzed using two-stage least squares regression. The evidence suggests two underlying mechanisms—unbundling neighboring ties (the process-based channel) and diluting sense of belonging (the characteristic-based channel)—that together mediate the deleterious effect of rapid population change on the development of sense of trustworthiness on a more generalized level. Residents in a neighborhood that experiences a destabilizing change in local demographics are found to have lower levels of neighborly ties and sense of belonging, which, in turn, limit their ability to trust in general others in the neighborhood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Social Sciences(all)