Is Immigration Bad for the Economy? Many People Say Yes

Matthew Scott, Daily Finance (AOL), September 10, 2010

Significant numbers of Americans and Europeans surveyed by a Financial Times/Harris Poll say immigration reduces the quality of life in their countries.

Immigration can be a sore subject in a down economy. According to the results of a Financial Times/Harris Poll released Friday, many people in the U.S. and in five of the largest nations in Europe believe that immigration has a negative impact on the economy, jobs and public services.

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Immigrants Blamed for Lower Quality of Life

For example, more than 40% of those surveyed in each of the six countries felt that the current level of immigration made their country a worse place to live, led by 64% Britain, 60% in Spain, 57% in Italy, 49% in the U.S., 44% in Germany and 43% in France.

When asked whether it was easier, harder or the same to find a new job because of immigration, 67% of those in Spain said it was harder to find a job, followed by 60% in Italy, 57% in the U.S., 57% in Britain, 46% in Germany and 45% in France. The majority of those polled in the U.S., Britain, France and Spain–and more than 40% of those in Italy and Germany–said immigration reduced their level of health-care services, and the majority of respondents in the U.S., Britain and Germany felt immigration damaged their public-education systems.

Overall, 52% of those surveyed in Britain, 51% in Spain, 48% in France, 43% in the U.S., 42% in Italy and 32% in Germany believe immigration has a negative effect on their economy. That’s an eyebrow-raising amount of negative sentiment considering that the poll didn’t even mention illegal immigration.

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[The poll results, with tables, are available here.]

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