Britons emerge as one of the most sceptical of western nations when it comes to immigration, according to the third annual Transatlantic Trends: Immigration report, which was published in Washington DC on 3 February.
65% of us see immigration as more of a problem than an opportunity, 70% think the government is doing a poor job at managing the issue, and 63% say that immigration policy may affect the way we vote.
Transatlantic Trends: Immigration is a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Compagnia di San Paolo, and the Barrow Cadbury Trust, with additional support from the Fundacion BBVA.
The key findings and topline data for the 2010 study will be found at, respectively:
Fieldwork was conducted in Great Britain (by ICM between 27 August and 9 September 2010) and in France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, the United States and Canada. 1,003 Britons aged 18 and over were interviewed by telephone.
The principal interest of the 2010 survey to BRIN users lies in two questions on attitudes to the integration of Muslim immigrants. These were only posed to a half-sample (n = 496 in Britain).
A slight majority (53%) of Britons considered that Muslim immigrants were integrating poorly into British society, 16% more than believed them to be integrating well. 10% could not say one way or the other.
The other half-sample was asked about the integration of immigrants in general. 52% of Britons said that they were integrating badly and 43% well, perhaps suggesting that Muslims were likewise to the front of mind in their replies.
Those holding that Muslim immigrants were poorly integrated were more numerous in Britain than in the United States (40%), Canada (44%), Italy (49%) and France (51%) but less than in The Netherlands (56%), Germany (67%) and Spain (70%).
Views were more favourable about the integration of the children of Muslim immigrants who had been born in Britain. 59% of Britons thought they had integrated well, 30% badly, with 11% uncertain.
Canada (66%) was most positive about the integration of the Muslim second generation, followed by the United States (62%) and Italy (60%). The other four European countries had lower figures than Britain, with 57% of Germans actually stating that the children of Muslim immigrants had integrated poorly.
A more extensive, but different, set of questions about Muslim immigrants was asked in the first Transatlantic Trends: Immigration survey in 2008, the topline data for which are available at:
The 2010 study also enquired into self-assessed religiosity. This question was put to the full sample. In reply, 10% of Britons described themselves as very religious, 42% as somewhat religious and 47% as not religious at all.
The proportion claiming not to be religious was higher in Britain than in any of the other countries surveyed. In descending order, the statistics were: The Netherlands (46%), France (43%), Germany (40%), Spain (35%), Canada (34%), and the United States and Italy (16% each).
This echoes the finding of a recent Gallup Poll which placed the United Kingdom 109th in a list of 114 countries in the importance attached by its citizens to religion in their daily lives. See further: