According to a recent study by IPSOS, most people in Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Greece believe that there are far more migrants in their countries than there actually are.

Most people in these four EU nations apparently believe that there are far more migrants in their national territory than there actually are. These are the findings of a survey conducted by the global market research and public opinion firm IPSOS on behalf of the WeWorld non-profit organization.   

The contrast between perception and reality is particularly noteworthy in Hungary, where citizens believe that migrants account for about 20% of the population - compared with an actual 2%. In Italy, citizens think that migrants account for 31% compared with an actual 9%, while in Greece, the assumed percentage is 35% compared with an actual 9%.

Austria had smallest discrepancy among the four countries, with people believing that 35% of the population are migrant, compared with 16%. Even so, people in Austria still misjudged the ration by more than two-fold.

Immigration still not top concern

Most Italians, Greeks, and Hungarians said that immigration had a negative impact on the country, with Greeks being the most critical among those nations (64%), followed by Italians (57%), and Hungarians (56%).

Austrians, meanwhile, were practically split on the issue, with 49% thinking that migrants were a negative force, while 51% did not sign up for that particular assertion.

The survey also found, however, that immigration is not the main cause of social concern in any of the four countries. In Austria, immigration was in third place, in Italy and Greece in fourth, and in Hungary in seventh. Of greater concern to citizens are issues like economic downturns, and employment.

Fiscal issues were also a chief concern in Italy and Greece, while price hikes were a talking point for Austrians, and the inefficiency of the healthcare system was an important social issue for Hungarians. 

Citizenship requirements 

Another issue highlighted in the survey were citizenship requirements. In Austria, the most important aspect for gaining Austrian citizenship was was knowledge of the language, with 70% responding that this was their biggest issue. 

Meanwhile in Greece, 78% said that they're main concern with citizenship requirements was that parents should be of Greek origins. In contrast, Italians overwhelmingly responded (60%) that the most important aspect is being born in the country.

Security issues

Greek citizens expressed the biggest concerns when it comes to migrants being seen as a threat to national security, with 40% of those surveyed saying that it is not possible to receive further refugees in the country, and that the borders must be closed. 

Meanwhile 33% of Italians said they believed that most crimes in Italy are committed by immigrants. 40% even responded that it is too dangerous to receive migrants because they represent a serious terrorist risk.

More articles