A large majority of Americans support current or increased levels of immigration, while most of Europe wants fewer migrants

  • A Pew Research Center poll found that a majority of Americans would like the number of immigrants entering the US to either stay the same or increase.
  • The same poll, however, suggested that most Europeans would like to see fewer immigrants at their borders.
  • With an increasingly old population, Japan was among countries the poll indicated would like to see more immigrants moving in.

Americans are more open to increased immigration than most Europeans, though far more people around the world would like to see a decrease in immigration overall, a recently released poll by the Pew Research Center found.

Pew surveyed 27 countries this past spring and early summer on their views on immigration. Together, Pew reported, the 27 countries housed more than half of the world’s international migrants. Across the countries, a median of 45% said fewer or no immigrants should be allowed into their country, while 36%, including a plurality of US respondents, said they wanted just about the same number of immigrants.

Among European countries, 82% of Greeks said they would like fewer immigrants to be allowed into the country, which since 2015 has struggled with a surge of migrants and refugees from places such as Syria. Nearly three-quarters of Hungarians, 71% of Italians, and 58% of Germans also said fewer immigrants should be allowed to move to their countries, which have also been heavily affected by the refugee crisis.

In the US, only 29% of Americans said they wanted a decrease in immigration, while 44% said about the same amount of immigrants should be allowed in as already were. Nearly a quarter of Americans said immigration should increase. In Mexico, which is facing a surge in Central American migrants, 44% of those surveyed said they wanted immigration to decrease, while 42% said they wanted it to stay the same.


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Spain and Japan were among the most open to the idea of increased immigration, with 28% and 23% of their respective populations supporting more immigration. Japan, known for its isolationist policies and historically low immigration numbers, is facing a dire economic threat – its population is getting older.

The Pew report also found that out-migration was widely seen as a problem among the nations surveyed. Greeks (89%) and Spaniards (88%) were the most worried about the number of people leaving their countries. Pew noted that both countries had seen increases in people moving abroad in recent years. Eight out of 10 Mexicans also said out-migration was a problem. Mexico, according to the United Nations, has one of the largest numbers of people living outside their country, second only to that of India. But only 64% of those surveyed by Pew in India said out-migration was a problem.

The report was published Monday, the same day global representatives gathered in Morocco to sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The non-legally-binding agreement, backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was created to manage migration for both origin and destination countries but was rejected by several nations, including the US, Chile, and Australia.

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