Immigration, Loss of Culture Worry Nations

Jennifer Harper, Washington Times, October 5, 2007

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A wide-ranging “global attitudes” survey of more than 45,000 people in 47 countries released yesterday by the Pew Research Center finds assorted populations are warm to the benefits of global trade. But they’re cool—downright chilly in some cases—toward the toll it could exact on their national identities.

Majorities in every country agreed that international trade was positive—ranging from a low of 59 percent in the U.S. to an enthusiastic 90 percent and more in China, Israel and seven other countries.

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While 73 percent of American respondents fretted about the trend, the sentiment was more pronounced in Britain, France, Germany and Spain. It was more than 90 percent in South Korea and Bangladesh. Concern for loss of tradition, however, was less strident in many Middle Eastern countries, at 51 percent among Palestinians and 53 percent in Jordan.

Sweden, at 49 percent, was the lone exception to the finding.

Should each country guard their innate culture and lifestyle? The answer was a rousing “yes”—again in 46 out of 47 of the countries. In the U.S., 62 percent said we should protect our way of life. Those sentiments were more pronounced among Republicans (71 percent) than Democrats (60 percent).

The number was just more than half in Britain, France and Germany, but 90 percent in Egypt, Indonesia and India.

Perils of immigration concerned people in 44 out of the 47 countries, where the majority of respondents said immigration should be more restricted in their homelands.

Only Japanese, South Koreans and Palestinians were comfortable with their immigration policies. Three-quarters of the American respondents wanted more restrictions; similar findings were revealed in Spain, Britain and Russia.

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