2004 May 27 Thursday
Poll Finds Majority Opposition To Immigration In Most Western Countries

With Canada as the notable exception in almost all Western countries the majority sees immigration in a negative light.

In the United States and in the European countries polled - Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - people were more likely to say they had negative views of the influence of immigrants, according to AP-Ipsos polls. That comes at a time of high concern over unemployment and worries about terrorism.

When asked "What influence do you think immigrants have on the way thing are going in your country" the combined percentage for very good/somewhat good versus very bad/somewhat bad broke down for the United States as as 42% positive/47% negative, for Canada 73% positive/20% negative, for Japan 44% positive/44% negative, and for Europe as a whole 37% positive/54% negative.

The more important question from a policy standpoint is what level of immigration is best? An earlier 2000 poll showed that in spite of a overall positive view of immigration about half of Canadians think current immigration is too high.

They are also split about the number of immigrants coming to Canada (45% "too high", 45% "about right"), and whether Canadians as a whole should be encouraged "to try to accept minority groups and their customs and languages" (46%) versus 50 percent who say that Canada should “encourage minority groups to change to be more like Canadians".

The latest poll does not ask whether current immigration levels are too high. But the section of the poll on whether immigration is a good or bad influence is probably a proxy that underestimates the percentage of the respondents that would support a decrease in immigration levels. For polls on American attitudes toward levels of immigration see my previous posts Elite Populace Gap On Immigration Issues and Most Americans Want Halt To Illegal Immigration.

Given the message we hear in favor of more immigation from Hispanic activists in the United States and from the Mexican government it is quite ironic that the latest poll shows 24% of Mexicans see immigration as a very bad influence, 29% see it as somewhat bad, only 28% see it as somewhat good, and a mere 8% see it as very good. Also, when Mexicans were asked whether it was important for all people to share the same culture and traditions 42% strongly agreed and 29% somewhat agreed. So 71% of Mexicans think multiculturalism is a bad idea.

The full survey results can be downloaded in PDF format.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 May 27 07:46 PM  Immigration Border Control

Invisible Scientist said at May 28, 2004 8:28 AM:

One reason Canada does not complain about immigration as much as other countries is that they have
a very well written immigration protocol which is a "point system", where the candidate gets much higher
priority if he or she has excellent education, advanced degrees and special skills.

Recently introduced legislation in Germany will strongly emphasize the immigration of SKILLED people. This is
despite the very high and chronic unemployment over 10 % in Germany, because they see a shortage of skilled
technical and scientific people.

If the US adopts such a system, then there will be no complaint against immigration. Especially the green card
lottery system in the U.S. which allows thousands of random people to get citizenship, should be replaced
with one that accepts talented people expeditiously.

M said at May 28, 2004 10:54 AM:


Americans can only dream of such a rational system,at least until we get a wave of terrorist bombings that will leave our political class no choice but to act out of self-preservation.

Bob Badour said at May 28, 2004 6:57 PM:

Canadians are also fed a constant stream of propaganda supporting multi-culturalism and feeding off Canadians' petty jealousy of Americans.

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