A recent study by research company Ipsos MORI, commissioned by the BBC series Crossing Divides, has found that public opinion on immigration has steadily been increasing since 2011.
It was found that British residents were now among the most accepting of immigration in the world, and around 48% of UK residents surveyed believed that immigration had a positive impact on the country, compared to a global average of 24%.
English respondents were also found to be the most welcoming of immigration, with 48% of English respondents viewing immigration positively, following by 47% for Scotland and Wales, and 42% for Northern Ireland.
The study was ran in 27 countries and surveyed adults under 65, with a total of 19,782 adults completing questionnaires online. 15 of the 27 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries, and at least 500 respondents were surveyed in each country. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Peru and Mexico, produced a national sample that was more urban and educated then nationally represented averages, however the samples for both England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland was nationally representative based on a number of social demographics.
The survey found that the United Kingdom had the joint highest percentage of respondents who mentioned that immigration positively impacted their country, tied with Saudi Arabia.
The study has shown a consistent increase in the percentage of respondents who regard immigration as positive in the UK. In 2011, only 19% of UK respondents believed that immigration had a positive impact on UK society and by the 2016 EU referendum, that percentage had increased to 35%.
The country with the lowest percentage of positive responses to immigration was Japan, with only 3% of Japanese respondents reporting that Immigration was positive for Japan, and Turkey and Colombia reported the highest percentage of respondents who viewed immigration negatively, with both reporting 71% of respondents who believed that immigration had a negative impact on their respective countries.
The study has also shown that the past few years have seen a nationalist trend for more respondents to view immigration in a negative light globally.
The study’s results sheds new light onto the true state of public views on immigration, beyond the views driven by Political leaders.
The Research Director at Ipsos MORI’s Social Research Institute has said in response to the study that “it is notable that one of the key issues leading to Brexit was immigration, yet, Brits are twice as more positive about the impact of immigration than globally.”