Immigration Viewed Negatively by Half of Developed World’s Population

Alberto Nardelli, The Guardian, August 6, 2015

Nearly one in two people in the world’s most advanced economies believe immigration is causing their country to change in ways they don’t like, according to a new poll.

In many countries this is true in more than half of the population–in Turkey (84%), Italy (65%), Russia (59%), and in Belgium, France, Israel, South Africa, Great Britain, Hungary and India, the survey by global research company Ipsos found.

However, the poll also reveals significant differences between countries–and, where attitudes towards immigration are negative, the reasons vary.

The proportion who agree immigration is causing their country to change in ways they don’t like is below 30% in China, South Korea, Brazil and Japan. It is also a view shared by only a minority of citizens in the US, Spain, Canada and Germany.

In Turkey (92%), Italy (71%) and Russia (69%), respondents also believe that there are too many immigrants in their respective countries, compared with 60% in France and Britain. The numbers are lower in Germany and Sweden (43%), the US (49%) and Spain (48%).

Across the 24 countries polled, half of all people surveyed say there are too many immigrants in their country.

Saudi Arabia (52%) and India (49%) are the only two countries where anything like a majority say immigration has generally had a very positive or fairly positive effect on their country.

Although most countries score around 20% on this particular question, in several the proportion that has a positive view of immigration is extremely low.

When it comes to the economic effect of immigration, only 28% agree it has been good for the economy. This ranges from 52% in Saudi Arabia, 48% in India, 44% in China and 43% in Australia, to 15% in France, 14% in Italy and Turkey, and 13% in Hungary and Russia.

In Britain, 38% agree that immigration has been good for the country compared with 30% in the US and 27% in Germany.

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The full Ipsos study can be found here.

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