Why Locals are Hostile against Immigrants
A survey in six major countries reveals that many people see negative impact on economy, jobs and public services because of immigration. A Financial Times/Harris Poll finds that immigration is widely unpopular in the United States and in all of the five largest countries in Europe.
The survey asked about immigration generally and not about illegal immigration. Majorities in four of the countries and pluralities in the other two believe that immigration makes it harder to find new jobs.
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Majorities in three countries and over 40% in the other three believe it has a bad effect on education. Majorities in four of the countries and 40% or more in the other two think it has a bad effect on health care services.
Americans, even though they live in what has been described as a nation of immigrants are not, in general, any less hostile to immigration than Europeans.
These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive among 6,098 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,004), Germany (1,036), Great Britain (1,099), Spain (1,032), U.S. (989) and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (948) between August 18 and 25, 2010.
The main findings of this new poll include:
- Majorities in Britain and Spain, and large minorities in the U.S., France, Italy , and Germany think that immigration has a bad impact on the economy;
- Majorities in the U.S., Britain, Italy, and Spain believe that immigration makes it harder to find a new job, as do 45% in France and 46% in Germany;
- While most people who are working do not believe that immigration has had any effect on their pay, those who think they are paid less greatly outnumber those who say they are paid more;
- Only minorities, between 13% in France and 40% in Italy, believe that immigration has made it more affordable to hire services such as cleaners, builders or plumbers;
- Majorities in the U.S., Britain, France and Spain and over 40% in Italy and Germany believe that immigration makes the level of health care services worse; and,
- Majorities in the U.S., Britain and Germany believe that immigration has made public education worse, as do over 40% in France, Italy and Spain.
Overall, many people in all six countries believe that the current level of immigration makes their countries worse places to live in , varying from 64% in Britain, 60% in Spain, and 57% in Italy to 49% in the U.S., 44% in Germany, and 43% in France.
This survey underlines the political problems that confront governments and politicians when they are addressing issues of immigration, and the easy opportunities for populist leaders to win votes by advocating anti-immigration policies.
And of course the issue of illegal immigration, that was not addressed in this survey, is much more difficult.
The poll results were released Friday, September 10.