Global trends and continental differences in attitudes to immigration : thinking outside the Western box

In this Policy Brief we present a global overview of long-term trends and current attitudes to immigration across the world to highlight: Concerns about immigration in Western European and American countries have followed a different pattern than in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe over the last 40 years. Social and cultural concerns about immigration are relatively more salient than economic concerns in the Western world and more developed countries, while the opposite is true of developing countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. Asia and Africa are the continents most concerned with economic risks associated with immigration such as unemployment. Differences in attitudes to immigration by socio-demographic characteristics such as age, education, or gender vary greatly across continents and countries. Western European countries, the United States, New Zealand and Australia become increasingly favourable to immigrants as the share of immigrant population increases. In contrast, no such pattern is observable in other parts of the world.