Thursday, March 10, 2011

More on the immigration attitudes of Americans

In the recent post on attitudes toward immigration, a reader suggested that I compare the U.S. with developed countries only. Once again, here are the attitudes of Americans:

Immigration policy--percent

Let anyone come 6.8
As long as jobs are available 36.6
Strict limits 48.9
Prohibit people from coming 7.6

Here is the distribution for eleven developed countries:

Let anyone come 6.9
As long as jobs are available 49.7 
Strict limits 40.5
Prohibit people from coming 2.9

Basically one-half of people from the developed world favor immigration as long as jobs are available, while almost half of Americans want strict limits. It doesn't matter whether we include poor countries or not: the American people are more conservative than the rest of the world on the immigration issue.


  1. JT Wharton11:27 AM

    I disagree with these statistics.

    I'll go get some raw numbers but polls in the UK and other European countries show much higher anti-immigration sentiment than in the US. In a massive EU poll about a year or two ago, only 19% Europeans thought immigration had benefited Europe. I've seen polls in the UK where about 70% favor an immigration moratorium.

  2. I don't think very many people have problems with LEGAL immigration; however, I think that many Americans are having a problem with illegal immigration and rightly so. How is it fair that immigrants that want to live here legally have to jump through endless hoops to do so, but the government overlooks illegals who settle right in and take away American jobs?

  3. Anonymous3:42 PM

    Sushiboofay if your only problem with illegal immigration is that it's unfair to legal immigrants, why not just make all immigration legal? Problem solved!

  4. Anonymous9:26 PM

    Europeans seem to be more skeptical of immigration. I've also seen polls showing that the Brits overwhelmingly want less immigration. The Germans also tend to be restrictionist in attitude too, as do their elites. Germany is so restrictionist that more immigrants are now leaving than arriving from Turkey (the main non-Western migrant source), but immigrants continue to arrive from other Western countries.

    The Nordics and (until recently, maybe not now) Spaniards seem quite liberal, but the rest of Europe is to the right of the U.S. on immigration. It's pretty much just Sweden, Canada, Australia, and NZ that continue to be more open.

    The true conservatives are the East Asians. Despite labor shortages, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan haven't opened the door. Not even slightly. Net migration continues to be zero. Even in HK and Singapore, net migration is mainly highly skilled, mostly temporary, and overwhelmingly Chinese.


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