Six Conceptions of Nationality - A Global Segmentation Based on Inclusiveness

To better understand the nature and the prevalence of nativism around the world, Ipsos has segmented the adult population of 25 countries into six groups reflecting their conception of nationality.

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US
  • Mallory Newall Public Affairs, US
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The segmentation is based on survey data indicative of how much people’s conception of nationality is inclusive or exclusive of potential “outgroups”. It informs how much citizens across the world are predisposed to a nativist agenda, depending on their demographic and political profile.

The analysis is based on an Ipsos survey of more than 19,000 men and women about “The Inclusiveness of Nationalities” conducted in April-May 2018 on the online Global Advisor platform. Research participants were asked whether they consider members of different religious groups, immigrants with different types of legal and employment status and fluency in the local language, people of different ethnicity, LGBT people, and people with a criminal history as “real” nationals of their country. Go to for the detailed survey results and methodology.

Based on the answers to the survey, six clusters emerged, each with its own vision of nationality. Below is a description of each one of these six segments, listed from the most inclusive to the most exclusive.

Post-Nationalists (15% of the global population surveyed)

  • Have a nearly unconditional, all-inclusive view of nationality
  • Welcome anyone into the fold regardless of country of birth, family’s region of origin (proxy for ethnicity), religion, sexual orientation/identity, acculturation, and, more often than not, criminal history, lack of legal immigration status or extreme political views.
  • Strongly skew left on the political spectrum
  • Tend to be young and highly educated
  • Most common in Canada, the U.S., Australia, Chile, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.  

Legalists (15%)

  • Their view of nationality is all-inclusive when it comes to place of birth, family’s region of origin, religion, and sexual orientation/identity, but it is conditioned by full-fledged citizenship and some level of acculturation
  • Consider anyone born in their country a “real national” as well as any immigrant who has been naturalized and is fluent in the local language
  • Skew older (50-64) and more affluent
  • Most common in France, South Africa, Canada, the U.S., Australia and Argentina

Religists (17%)

  • Extend membership to their nation to anyone born in their country (irrespective of their parent’s country of origin) and to any immigrant who has been naturalized, is fluent in the local language, and is preferably employed, but only if they belong to the country’s dominant religious group and do not espouse extreme political views
  • Globally, their demographic and political profile is nearly identical to that of the total population
  • Most common in Mexico, South Korea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Chile and Brazil

Distant (24%)

  • Cannot decide or will not express their views on what defines a real national: tend to answer “not sure” about any criteria
  • More likely to have a lower level of income and/or education
  • Less likely to be older or left-leaning politically
  • Most common in Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Malaysia, Turkey, Brazil and the U.K.

Cultural Nationalists (12%)

  • Restrict nationality to people born in their country, regardless of their parent’s country of origin, often excluding those who are not members of the dominant religious groups
  • Exclude all immigrants, even those who are naturalized citizens fluent in the local language
  • Skew middle-aged (35-49) with a lower education level and right-leaning on the political spectrum
  • Most common in South Africa, Malaysia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Hungary

Ethnic Nationalists (17%)

  • Restrict nationality to those born in the country, from local stock and of the dominant religious group(s)
  • Exclude any immigrant (even if naturalized or acculturated), anyone with roots in any other part of the world (even if born in the country) or identifies with any minority religion – and often not to someone who is LGBT, has a criminal history or extreme political views.
  •  Skew middle-aged/older (35+), with a lower level of education and right-leaning politically
  • Most common in Serbia, Turkey, Hungary, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany and Poland

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US
  • Mallory Newall Public Affairs, US

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