Crossing borders


Analysis of the situation in Luxembourg with regard to racism and discrimination (RACISM)

Racism and ethno-racial discrimination are significant social phenomena that demand attention, particularly in a multicultural, multilingual, and cosmopolitan country like Luxembourg. With almost 50% of the population consisting of foreigners from approximately 170 countries, and many native-born individuals having an immigration background, understanding and combating these issues becomes crucial.

The Luxembourg’s Government has made it a priority to fight against all forms of intolerance and discrimination. Effectively addressing these issues requires collective reflection, as well as factual knowledge and empirical evidence. The Government commissioned LISER to conduct a national survey on racism and ethno-racial discrimination in Luxembourg. This survey aims to answer important questions such as the extent of racism and discrimination in the country, the main targeted groups, the contexts and situations where residents perceive discriminatory practices, and the necessary actions to combat these issues.

The survey conducted by LISER reveals that the percentage of residents, including natives, who establish a racial hierarchy is relatively small, notably smaller than in neighbouring countries. Similarly, the percentage of respondents justifying racist reactions or wishing to avoid neighbours and colleagues of a specific ethno-racial background is also low. This suggests that ideological racism of the "supremacist" type is sparse in Luxembourg. However, the survey also highlights the presence of entrenched stereotypes in society. Additionally, a significant number of respondents from the Portuguese community, as well as those self-identified as blacks or Muslims, report perceiving discrimination in the labour market, housing market, or in schools. Experiences of unequal treatment, inappropriate comments or gestures, comments about accents or language proficiency are commonly reported, while cases of physical aggression are rare. Alarmingly, the survey shows that more than two-thirds of victims do not report their experiences, emphasizing the risk of discrimination going unnoticed. Interestingly, when the native population is questioned, their perceptions of prevalent discrimination align closely with those of the groups at risk.

These findings create clear expectations at the population level. Roughly half of the respondents believe that the identification and sanctioning of discriminatory practices are inadequate. Approximately two-thirds of the population (and 80% of the Portuguese, Muslims, and blacks) call for new measures in various areas.

As researchers, our mission is to investigate the factors that contribute to the perception of racism, ethno-racial discrimination, and negative attitudes toward immigration. Additionally, our team prioritises the use of experimental techniques to uncover and combat actual discriminatory practices.

RACISM involves Frédéric Docquier, Ariane Gordan, Michel Tenikue, Aleksa Uljarevic, Aleksandra Szymanska. We also benefitted from Maria Guadaramma Sanz Jean-Yves Bienvenue from the Information Systems Unit. In this project, LISER partners with the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region, CEFIS and ADEM.