WIN/Gallup International’s Global Poll Shows the World is Divided on Immigration

WinGia-1WIN/Gallup International, the world’s leading association in market research and polling, has published its 39th Annual Survey exploring the outlook, expectations, views and beliefs of 68 595 people from 69 countries across the globe. The poll shows that of the 69 countries, popular opinion in 42 countries is opposed to immigration, while it is favourable in 27 countries.

When asked‘Generally speaking do you think the immigration of foreign workers is a good thing or a bad thing for your country?’ 57% of the world’s population believe it is a good thing against 32% believing it is a bad thing. The net support score of 25% is equal to the % of people that believe it is a good thing minus the % of people that believe it is a bad thing.

Globalization and the possibilities of travel and relocation divide the world into three groups of countries: the Poor countries where the majority supports immigration, the Middle and Upper Income countries where the majority is in opposition to immigration and the Rich whose majorities are divided between supporting and opposing nations. Among the 18 Poor countries, where the average per capita annual income is less than 10,000 USD, the majority is opposed in only 3 of them. Among the Middle and Upper Income countries, that have an average annual per capita income of between 10,000 USD and 35,000 USD, the views held by the majorities are exactly the opposite: only 3 are in favour while 31 are opposed. Interestingly in the Rich countries with incomes above 35,000 USD, the majorities are divided: In the 17 countries polled, 9 were in favour of and 8 were opposed to immigration.

Jean-Marc Leger, President of WIN/Gallup International said: “Our poll findings suggest that in a rapidly globalizing world Immigration will continue to remain a subject of controversy, debate and split opinions for a long time to come. It is a complex issue which triggers emotional chords blending economic, social and political considerations. As global pollsters we will continue to monitor and track popular opinions on the subject objectively and comprehensively across all parts of the world.”


There are important differences in attitudes towards immigration across age and income groups. The Young, under Age 35 are globally more favourable than the older population towards immigration, the net support among them is +30%, compared to over Age 55, among whom the net support drops to +15%. Among the Bottom Income quintile, the net support globally is only +2%, but among the top quintile it is +53%. Thus globally as well as within regions, the Poor are more opposed to immigration than the Rich in the same societies.



Among the various Regions of the world analysed in the poll, opposition to Immigration is the highest in the 21 countries of the European Union polled in this survey. The net support is -21% with 31% in favour and 52% opposing immigration in their countries.


It comes as a surprise that attitudes towards immigration are net favourable in Canada and USA, both of whom receive migrant workers. On the other hand attitudes are net unfavourable in 5 of the 7 countries polled in Latin America, even though Latin America is on the whole seen as a labour exporting rather than a labour importing area. Except for Mexico (net support of +10%) and Peru (net support of 8%), attitudes in all other Latin American countries are net unfavourable: Argentina (-3%), Brazil (-11%), Columbia (-34%), Ecuador (-53%) and Panama (-11%)


There is a fairly strong wave of anti-immigration sentiment in the whole of Europe but it is more prominent in EU* Europe compared to non-EU* Europe. The net support for immigration in EU* Europe is -21% (31% favourable, 52% opposed) while the net support for immigration in non-EU* Europe is -9% (35% favourable, 44% opposed).

Within EU*, the anti-immigration wave is the strongest in the Eastern part of EU*, where the net support is -37% (24% favourable, 61% opposed), followed by the South at -27% (28% favourable, 54% opposed), and the North Western area where it is -17% (33% favourable, 49% opposed). In the Nordic countries, the attitude towards immigration is relatively positive as the net support is +18% (50% favourable, 32% opposed).

In the North Western Sub-Region, there is a marked difference amongst attitudes in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom; all three are strongly hostile to immigration, scoring -49% (19% favourable, 68 % opposed), -37% (22% favourable, 58% opposed) and -21% (30% favourable, 51% opposed) respectively. On the other hand, Germans are somewhat positive, scoring a net support of +5% (44% favourable, 39% opposed).


On the whole attitudes on immigration are favourable in Africa. The only exception is South Africa, where attitudes are net unfavourable (-24%; with 32% favourable and 56% unfavourable).

Otherwise, Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa, Ethiopia in East Africa and DR Congo in Central Africa all show results wherein favourable attitudes outnumber the unfavourable.


On the whole attitudes towards immigration are favourable in these Regions, scoring a net favourable result of +22% (58% favourable and 37% unfavourable). However there is wide variation within these Regions. Attitudes in both MENA and West Asia are unfavourable, -18% in MENA and -40 % in West Asia. The net attitude is only favourable in South Asia, scoring +33%.

Furthermore, it comes as a surprise that Saudi Arabia which is a labour importing country is strongly favourable on immigration (net favourable rating of +39%). On the contrary, several countries which export labor are net unfavourable, such as Algeria (-51%), Iraq (-62%), Tunisia (-41%), Lebanon (-50%) and Palestine (-20%). The only exception among labor exporting countries is Morocco where attitudes are net favorable (+13%).

It is not surprising that attitudes in Turkey, which is currently faced with over 2 million refugee influx from Syria, are net unfavorable (-35%).

In all of three large South Asian nations, attitudes on Immigration are favorable: India (+28%), Pakistan (+65%), Bangladesh (+40%). All three are labor exporting nations.


At first sight, the findings show that attitudes on immigration are very favourable in this Region, scoring a net favourable rating of +48%. However, the findings for the Region as a whole only conceal an underlying variety among various countries of the Region. China is highly favourable (net favourable at +74%); so are Vietnam (+47%), Philippines (+24%); and surprisingly Japan (+7%). Attitudes are also net favourable among the thinly populated Fiji (+38%) and Papua New Guinea (+13%). Attitudes in all others are net negative: Thailand (-65%), Indonesia (-25%), Australia (-22%) and South Korea (-15%). Even though Mongolia is very thinly populated, attitudes towards immigration are highly unfavourable (-58%).

For detailed information and tables see


The WIN/Gallup International National and Regional Experts have prepared their interpretation of poll findings in their countries and regions. These will be posted on the WIN/Gallup International website on February 25, 2016. The Media will be welcome to consult their interpretation by accessing the website, or approaching the following Regional Spokespersons, as well as National Spokespersons listed in the Contact List Attached at the end of this document.


The WIN/Gallup Internationalsurvey is an annual tradition initiated by and designed under the chairmanship of Dr. George Gallup in 1977. It is conducted every year since then. This year it was carried out by the WIN/Gallup Association in 69 countries around the world.

The global survey network places its detailed findings on the website: www. and is keen to engage with its audience through social media:



Sample Size and Mode of Field Work:

A total of 68 595 persons were interviewed globally. In each country a representative sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed either face to face (30 countries; n=35 028), via telephone (15 countries; n=11 996) or online (23 countries; n=21 571). The field work was conducted during November 2015 – December 2015. The margin of error for the survey is between +/- 3-5% at 95% confidence level.

About WIN/Gallup International

WIN/Gallup Internationalis the leading association in market research and polling and is made up of the76largest independent market research and polling firms in their respective countries with combined revenue of over€550million and covering95%of the world’s market.

For more than 60 years WIN/Gallup International Members have demonstrated their expert ability to conduct multi-country surveys on a comparable basis and deliver the highest quality. Their Members are leading national institutes with a profound local knowledge of research methods and techniques, statistical sources, customs and culture differences of its own country and carefully selected by the Association Board. With only one Member agency per country, Members work together on a daily basis to share knowledge, new research techniques and tools, as well as to provide the most appropriate solutions to international research projects and service our clients to the best of our abilities.

The accumulated expertise of the Association is formidable – they have internationally renowned experts in public opinion, Third World issues, advertising, and media research as well as in commercial fields such as IT/telecommunications, healthcare, retail, economics, corporate research and so on. Members are at the leading edge of technical and methodological developments, which have impacted on not only the research industry but also the whole commercial world.

Disclaimer:Gallup International Association or its members are not related to Gallup Inc., headquartered in Washington D.C which is no longer a member of Gallup International Association. Gallup International Association does not accept responsibility for opinion polling other than its own. We require that our surveys be credited fully as Gallup International (not Gallup or Gallup Poll). For further details see website:


Gallup International Association or its members are not related to Gallup Inc., headquartered in Washington D.C which is no longer a member of Gallup International Association.

Gallup International Association does not accept responsibility for opinion polling other than its own. We require that our surveys be credited fully as Gallup International (not Gallup or Gallup Poll). For further details see: