The results of a new study reveal that more Americans view immigration as an opportunity than Europeans.
According to the 2013 Transatlantic Trends Survey carried out by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, 46 per cent of Americans view immigration as an opportunity while 44 per cent of Europeans held the same view. However, more Americans (47 per cent) also see immigration as a problem than Europeans (41 per cent).
In Europe, the view that immigration is more of a problem was most common in the United Kingdom (64 per cent), Slovakia (52%), and France (50 per cent). Respondents in Sweden (68 per cent) and Germany (62 per cent) were most likely to see immigration as more of an opportunity, the latter showing a clear trend towards greater optimism about immigration.
Another question in the study asked respondents whether they felt there were too many immigrants already living in their home country. Once again, the highest level of concern was registered in the United Kingdom (55 per cent, followed by France and Italy (both 43 per cent), Portugal and the United States (41 per cent), and the Netherlands (37 per cent). The highest increase was registered in France (up ten percentage points since 2011, and 16 since 2008).
The report also revealed that the public on both sides of the Atlantic vastly overestimate how many immigrants actually live in their countries.
US respondents guessed the share of immigrants in their country to be 42.1 per cent, when in fact, only 13 per cent of the US population is foreign-born. The Portuguese are also prone to overestimating the immigrant population, guessing that 34.6 per cent of their country’s residents were immigrants (actual number: 8.3 per cent).
The Swedes were closest to reality when they estimated their population to be 18.3 per cent foreign-born (actual number: 15.1 per cent).