Washington DC- A major new Ipsos survey across 22 countries finds attitudes to
immigration throughout the world are often negative – and a significant minority want to go as
far as close borders to refugees. One reason given for this attitude is considerable concern
about terrorists disguising themselves as refugees, but economic and social concerns factor in
as well. The survey, carried out online among adults in the United States, Argentina, Australia,
Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico,
Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey,
explores broad attitudes to immigration as well as perceived impacts of immigration on the
American attitudes on this complex issue trend towards more positivity
- The number of Americans who feel immigrants play a positive role in the community has
nearly doubled from 18% in 2011 to 35% in 2016. This sentiment is nearly 6 times that of
Turkish and Hungarian citizens, where just 6% believe immigration has had a positive impact
on their country.
- More than a third of Americans feel immigration is good for the economy (36%), the largest
percentage to date, and a 13-point increase from 23% in 2011.
- A clear majority of Americans feel that immigration has increased in the last five years
(74%) and half (51%) feel that there are too many immigrants. It is worth noting that American
feelings toward immigration are significantly more positive than the attitudes held in European
countries like Turkey, Sweden and Germany where over 90% correctly believe immigration
has increased a lot (96%, 94%, 93% respectively).
- About half of Americans now believe that immigration is causing changes they don’t like
American concern about immigration remains high, but has declined in the last 5
- A majority of Americans feel immigration places pressure on the public services (60%), 10
points higher than the global average.
- Half of Americans worry that immigrants have made it more difficult to get jobs (49%). This
number has increased 3 points since October 2015 (from 46%) but has declined notably since
2011 (when it was at 60%).
Americans are unsure about how immigrants will integrate into society
- 4 in 10 Americans (42%) believe immigrants make the US a more interesting place to live,
up from 36% in 2011. Globally, only 20% believe in the positive impact of immigrants on their
- Just over half (53%) of Americans are confident that refugees will successfully integrate
into the US. At the ends of the spectrum from a global context, Indian citizens are the most
confident in refugee integration (64%), while only 28% of Japanese believe refugee
integration will be successful.
- 77% of Americans believe terrorists are pretending to be refugees who will enter the US to
cause violence and destruction. Comparatively speaking, Turkish citizens are even more
cautious, with 88% believing this about terrorists.
These are the findings of the Global @dvisor Immigration tracker 2011-2016. In total
16,040 interviews were conducted between 24 June and 8 July 2016 among adults aged 18-
64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries.
The survey was conducted in 22 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel
system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada,
France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi
Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.
Between 500 and 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos
Online Panel. The sample was 1000+ in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great
Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United Stated of America. In all other countries the sample
was 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a
poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage
points. For more information on Ipsos’ use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos
In countries where internet penetration is approximately 60% or higher the data output
generally reflects the overall population. Of the 22 countries surveyed online, 17 yield results
that are balanced to reflect the general population: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada,
France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain,
Sweden, Great Britain and the United States. The 5 remaining countries surveyed – Brazil
(58%), India (19%), Mexico (44%), South Africa (49%) and Turkey (51%) - have lower levels
of internet connectivity and reflect online populations that tend to be more urban and have
higher education/income than the general population. Where results do not sum to 100, this
may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not
stated responses. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
For more information on this news release, please contact:
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
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