Who believes that aliens live among us? Quite a lot of us, apparently, according to a Thomson Reuters News Service poll released on 8 April.
It was conducted by Ipsos, between 4 November 2009 and 13 January 2010, in 22 countries representing three-quarters of the world’s GDP. Interviewing was via the Ipsos online panel of adults aged 18-64, with 1,000+ respondents per country (and 24,077 in aggregate).
Although the poll findings have been picked up on a huge scale by print and broadcast media around the world (as will be evident from a simple Google search), most reports (including those which have appeared in the British print media) are based on a truncated press release, which does not feature the British data.
However, topline results for all 22 countries will be found at:
Overall, in these 22 countries, 20% of adults are convinced that ‘alien beings have come to earth and walk amongst us in our communities disguised as us’. In Britain the figure is 16%, placing us thirteenth in this particular league table of belief.
The top slots are filled by India (45%), China (42%), Japan (29%) and South Korea (27%), the only four Asian countries to be surveyed. Italy (25%) records the highest figure in Europe, with France, Sweden, Belgium and The Netherlands at the foot of the table (on 8 or 9%).
In general, those who believe that aliens walk the earth are most likely to be found amongst men, the under-35s and the higher educated. However, no demographic breaks are as yet available for Britain alone (at least in the public domain).
The 16% of Britons believing that aliens live among us is slightly higher than the 13% found in a YouGov poll for The Sun in July 2008 (when 37% also agreed with the statement that an alien being has visited earth).