Preparing a meal at the Newcomer Kitchen Project for Syrian migrant women in Toronto, Canada, 2016 | Photo: picture-alliance/C. Katsarov
Preparing a meal at the Newcomer Kitchen Project for Syrian migrant women in Toronto, Canada, 2016 | Photo: picture-alliance/C. Katsarov

The world is growing less accepting of migrants, according to a global survey. The Gallup poll also found that attitudes towards migrants in several European countries are the most negative.

The global Migrant Acceptance Index ranks countries on responses to three questions on whether people think migrants living in their country, becoming their neighbors and marrying into their families are good things or bad things.

The poll covered 140 countries in 2016 and 2017 and updated again in 145 countries in 2019. 

Downturn

Overall, the poll found that the world is slightly less accepting of migrants today than it was three years ago. Many of the countries where attitudes have become more negative over the period are those receiving migrants fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela – Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

Scores also dropped in European countries Belgium and Switzerland, where anti-immigration parties gained significant ground between 2016 and 2019, according to Gallup.

India also became less welcoming – a fact Gallup links to laws that went into effect in late 2019 giving some migrants paths to citizenship but excluding Muslims.

More welcoming

In a number of countries, acceptance of migrants rose. The biggest increase was in Moldova, which has welcomed a large number of migrant workers from Turkey, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Most of these migrants were working for foreign companies, Gallup notes.

Attitudes also improved in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as Poland, though its score on the index is not high.

Least-accepting countries

The seven least-accepting countries for migrants in the world in 2019 were in Europe, and some are EU member states. They were North Macedonia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Latvia.

Turkey, which was not on this list in 2016, is now in 10th place. Its appearance “likely reflects the burden the country took on with the 2016 deal with the EU to keep refugees in its territory,” Gallup said.

Canada tops list

Canada leads the world as the most-accepting country for migrants. It is followed by Iceland, New Zealand, Australia, Sierra Leone, the US, Burkina Faso, Sweden, Chad, Ireland and Rwanda.

The index shows that worldwide, acceptance of migrants was greater among younger generations, people with higher levels of education and people living in urban rather than rural areas. The poll was based on more than 140,000 interviews.

With Thomson Reuters Foundation

 

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