European Social Survey Topline Report released

This week sees the release of the European Social Survey’s “Topline” Report on Attitudes to Immigration, written by Anthony Heath and Lindsay Richards. Anthony Heath has led the pan-European team that worked together to develop this module in the ESS, making it one of the most detailed investigations into immigration attitudes, and with the broadest geographical coverage, ever seen. (The data can be analyzed online or downloaded at The press release can be found here.topline-cover

A few highlights:

  • In both 2002/03 and 2014/15, Sweden, Denmark and Finland are the most positive towards immigration and the Czech Republic, Hungary and Portugal the most negative.
  • In both years Britain tended to be quite negative too – similar to France but more negative than the Nordic countries, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • On some measures, by no means all, we see polarization among the European public. The number of people who felt that no migrants from poor non-European countries should be allowed to come to their country increased from 11% in 2002/03 to 20% in 2014/15. But there was also a small increase in the number thinking that many should be allowed to come, and therefore fewer people with middling attitudes (see Fig 1).Figure 1
  • Of the 19 countries where data was also collected in 2002/03, only Austrians and those from the Czech Republic have become more negative in their views that migration makes their country a worse place to live.