Global Study Shows Many Around the World Increasingly Uncomfortable with Levels of Immigration

Monday, August 15, 2016

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 local populace.

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 (52%).

American concern about immigration remains high, but has declined in the last 5 years

  • 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 country.
  • 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 website.

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:

Julia Clark
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
312.526.4919
julia.clark@ipsos.com

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

With offices in 87 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.

Visit www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos’ offerings and capabilities.


Global Study Shows Many Around the World Increasingly Uncomfortable with Levels of Immigration

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Julia Clark
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1.312.526.4919
julia.clark@ipsos.com