A new Ipsos survey which compares countries’ acceptance of social and cultural diversity shows that Canada and the United States have the most inclusive definition of nationality, followed by South Africa, France, and Australia. These countries score highest on an Inclusiveness Index reflecting social acceptance of diversity as it applies to religion, immigration, sexual orientation and gender identity, political views, and criminal background. Britain ranks 10th in the overall index.
The Overall Inclusiveness Index is based on the findings of an Ipsos Global Advisor survey of over 20,700 men and women aged under 65 in 27 countries online. Respondents were asked about as many as 28 types of people and for each type, they were asked if they consider such a person to be a “real” national (e.g., “a real Briton” in Great Britain., “a real American” in the US, etc.) or not. The Overall Inclusiveness Index is calculated by taking an average of the net scores (“real” percentage minus “not real” percentage) for each of the six constructs:
- Religious Inclusiveness (average of net scores for each of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists) – led by France and Canada;
- Naturalised-Citizen Inclusiveness (net score for naturalised citizens) – led by the U.S. and Australia;
- Second Generation Inclusiveness (average of net scores for native-born people whose parents immigrated from nine different regions of the world) – led by Canada and Chile;
- LGBT Inclusiveness (net score for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) – led by France and Canada;
- Criminal Background Inclusiveness (net score for people who have been convicted and incarcerated) – led by Canada and South Africa; and
- Extreme Political Views Inclusiveness (net score for people with extreme political views) – led by South Africa and the U.S.
Findings for Britain
Six in ten of the British public (59%) think of themselves as a ‘real Brit’ but less than two in ten (17%) do not. Globally, Britons rank lowest on this measure against an average of 84%. Younger people are less inclined to consider themselves real Brits, with 22% of under 35s saying they do not consider themselves a real Brit compared to just 12% of those aged over 50.
The British public is fairly inclusive when it comes to certain types of religious belief. The majority of Brits (i.e. over 50%) think that a person who is Christian (65%), Atheist (57%) or Jewish (51%) can be considered a ‘real Brit’ although this is less so the case for Muslims (46%), Buddhists (48%) and Hindus (48%).
On immigration, Britain is slightly more inclusive than the global average. Half of the public (52%) think that an immigrant who has become a citizen of the UK can be considered a real Brit compared with one in five (22%) who do not. But for immigrants who have lived most of their life in Britain and not taken citizenship, the public is split; 35% think they are real Brits and 35% think not.
Over half the public 55% think that immigrants who have become citizens and have a job can be considered real Brits (compared with 20% who do not). But only two in five (42%) think that immigrants who have become citizens and but who do not have jobs can be considered a real Briton – highlighting the notion that contributing to society is perceived as an important part of being British.
The ability to speak English is also seen as real marker of being a true Brit. Over half (56%) of the public think that immigrants who have become citizens and are fluent in English can be considered Brits. This falls to three in ten (30%) for those are not fluent in English. Similarly, marrying someone British does not necessarily make someone be seen as a real Brit – 34% think it does and the same proportion thinks it does not. Just one in four (23%) think that someone who is an illegal immigrant but has lived in the country most of their life can be considered a real Brit compared with 46% who think they can’t.
On second generation inclusiveness, around six in ten people in Britain say that second generation citizens - whose parents immigrated from outside the UK - can be considered real Brits regardless of where their parents immigrated from.
The majority of the public (60%) believes that someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can be considered a real Brit (compared to a global average of 53%). Britain is in line with Germany (61%) and Italy (63%) but lags behind France (81%).
When it comes to criminality, only four in ten people believe (44%) that someone who has been convicted of a crime and served time in prison can be considered a real Brit. A similar proportion (39%) are unsure and 17% do not think they can be considered a real Brit. On this measure Brits are in line with the global average.
The public feel that extreme political views are more at odds with Britishness with just 37% considering someone with extreme political views as a real Brit. A quarter (25%) say they cannot be considered a real Brit and 38% are unsure. On the other hand, someone who has served in the Armed Forces is clearly seen as a real Briton – by 68% (although slightly below the global average).
Brits say they are more well-travelled than most with over four in five (84%) having either travelled, been born or lived outside of the county compared with a global average of 70%.
Commenting on the findings, Kully Kaur-Ballagan, Research Director at Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute said:
Britishness is bound up with multiple identities, and while the majority of the British people do consider themselves a ‘real Brit’, this sense of attachment to nationality is higher in other countries in this study. However, Brits are well travelled compared to many other countries and are relatively inclusive when it comes to other aspects such as people who are LGBT, and for some religious beliefs (although only lukewarm for others). On immigration, views are more nuanced – the majority feel that when immigrants take citizenship they are truly British, and this is stronger for second-generation immigrants. But being considered a true Brit is not an automatic right and for many is contingent on a number of factors – such as speaking English and having a job. And only a minority of people think those who have lived here all their lives but don’t have the legal right to be here can be considered real Brits. The public is also more divided on whether those who have criminal records and those with extreme political views can be considered true Brits.
Global summary of findings
To assess attitudes towards religious diversity, respondents were asked whether they consider each of a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu and an atheist as a “real” national of their country. Of the 25 countries where questions on religion were asked*, Canada, France, South Africa, and the U.S. are the only four countries where full majorities (i.e., at least 50% of adults surveyed) consider members of all six religious groups as “real” nationals.
Other countries where members of at least three religious groups are seen by at least 50% or respondents as “real” nationals are: Australia (all groups except Muslims), Malaysia (all groups except Jews and atheists), and Argentina, Great Britain and Sweden (Christians, Jews and atheists for all three).
In Belgium, Chile, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and Spain, only Christians and atheists are seen by majorities as “real” nationals.
Members of only one religious group are thought of as “real” nationals by majorities in five countries: Christians in Brazil, Peru and Serbia; Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
In both Japan and South Korea, the most common answer for members of all religious groups is “not sure”.
Just under half (48%) of adults asked across 25 countries* think that an immigrant who has become a citizen of their country is a “real” national while 31% consider that he or she is not a “real” national and 21% are not sure.
A majority of adults in 13 countries (including three quarters in the U.S. and two thirds in Canada and Australia) and a plurality in seven other countries consider that a naturalised citizen is a “real” national. However, a majority in Malaysia, Hungary, Serbia, and Turkey, and a plurality in Poland disagree. A majority in Japan is not sure.
Globally, the odds for a naturalised citizen to be perceived as a “real” national increase by an average of five points when it is specified that he or she is employed or that he or she is fluent in the local language. The odds drop by significantly steeper margins when it is specified that the naturalised citizen does not have a job (nine points lower) and most of all, that he or she is not fluent in the local language (by 17 points). People in France, Belgium, and Australia are especially prone to differentiating naturalised citizens based on both their employment status and their fluency in the local language.
Legal and Undocumented Non-Citizens
At 31%, the average global percentage of adults who consider a lifelong legal immigrant who has not become a citizen as a “real” national is 17 points lower than for an immigrant who is a naturalised citizen. The non-citizenship penalty for a legal immigrant is highest in the three countries most likely to view naturalised citizens as “real” nationals: the U.S., Canada, and Australia (30 points or more).
Globally, the percentage of adults who consider an undocumented immigrant who has lived in the country most of their life to be a “real” national is 29 points lower than for an immigrant who is a naturalised citizen. The penalty for being undocumented is highest in the three countries most likely to view naturalised citizens as “real” nationals: the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, and South Korea (42 points or more). The only country where people in this situation are viewed as “real” nationals by a plurality is Mexico (45%), possibly taking into consideration the status of “Dreamers” in the United States.
In every country surveyed, an immigrant who is married to a native (without any mention of their legal status) is less likely to be viewed as a “real” national than is an immigrant who has become a citizen (32% vs. 48%, a 16-point difference). The difference is highest in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa (25 points or more).
Across the 27 countries surveyed, 58% view locally-born and raised children of immigrants as “real” nationals while 21% say they are “not real” nationals and another 21% are not sure. Views about those who are often referred to as “second generation” people vary widely across countries.
In 15 countries (chief among them Chile, Canada, and South Africa), at least 50% of adults surveyed view people born and raised in that country whose parents immigrated from every one of nine world regions as “real” nationals. On the other hand, in seven countries (chief among them Japan and China), fewer than 50% of adults surveyed view people born and raised in that country whose parents immigrated from any one of nine world regions as “real” nationals.
Views do not vary much depending on the parents’ region of origin: with few exceptions, the percentage of respondents who consider native-born children of immigrants from a neighboring or culturally similar country tends to be no more than a few points higher than for native-born children of immigrants from a more remote or culturally different part of the world. For example, 63% of all respondents across Europe and North America (not including Mexico) consider native-born children of immigrants from Europe or North America as “real” nationals vs. 58% who think the same of native-born children of immigrants from the Middle East or North Africa – a five-point difference.
Children of Expatriates
Globally, only 41% consider someone born and raised abroad by parents from their own country is a “real” national. This is seven points lower than for a naturalised citizen and 17 points lower than for someone born and raised in the country by immigrant parents (average for all regions of origin of immigrant parents).
In Malaysia (by 51 points), Serbia, Turkey and Hungary, children of expatriates are more likely to be viewed as “real” nationals than are naturalised immigrants. Furthermore, in Malaysia (by 38 points), Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, and Japan, children of expatriates are more likely to be viewed as “real” nationals than are native-born children of immigrants.
Majorities in 16 of the 25 countries* where the question was asked (including 75% or more in France, Canada, Chile, Belgium, and Sweden) consider someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender to be a “real” national. However, a majority or a plurality in four countries (Japan, Serbia, South Korea and Turkey) are not sure and a majority in two countries (Saudi Arabia and Malaysia) think an LGBT person is not a “real” national.
People with Extreme Political Views
A majority of people in four countries surveyed (South Africa, the U.S., France, and Canada) and a plurality in six other countries think someone with extreme political views is a “real” national. A majority in Saudi Arabia and a plurality in five countries think someone with extreme political views is “not a real” national. In Japan and five other countries, the prevailing response is “not sure”.
People with a Criminal Background
The view that someone who has been convicted of a crime and incarcerated is a “real” national is shared by a majority of adults in only seven countries surveyed (chief among them South Africa and Canada) and by a plurality in ten other countries. A plurality in Saudi Arabia and a majority in Malaysia consider that a felon is “not a real” national of their country. A majority in two countries (Japan and Serbia) and a plurality in four other countries say they are not sure if that is the case.
Armed Forces Veterans
Three out of four adults globally (73%), including at least 65% of adults in all but three of 25 countries*, think that someone who has served in the armed forces is a “real” national. This view is most widespread in the U.S. (86%) as well as Malaysia and Canada (85% each). However, it is shared by only three in five adults in Serbia and Germany (59% each) while a majority in Japan (62%) are not sure.
Self-Perception as a “Real” National
China and India are the two countries in the study where the sense of being an integral part of the nation is most widely shared: 98% in China consider themselves as “real” Chinese and the same percentage in India view themselves as “real” Indians.
Self-perception as a “real” national is least prevalent in Saudi Arabia (where 28% do not view themselves as “real” Saudis and 7% are not sure), Great Britain (where 17% say they don’t view think of themselves as “real” Britons and 24% are not sure) and Japan (where 7% don’t think of themselves as “real” Japanese and 29% are not sure).
International Experience and Connections
On average across the 27 countries surveyed, 70% have ever been in another country during their lifetime. Above-average levels of international experience are seen in all European countries (excluding Russia), Australia, Canada, and China. Overall, 16% were born abroad or have lived abroad with the highest proportions (around three in ten) in Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden and the lowest (6%) in Brazil. Globally, 62% have traveled outside of their country with wide variations across countries – from 80% or more in Serbia, Sweden and Belgium to less than 40% in Brazil and Mexico.
Overall, 68% across the 27 countries have some international connection, i.e., interactions with relatives, friends or work contacts who live abroad or with relatives, friends or casual acquaintances who were born abroad. Countries with the largest percentages of people having some international contacts (80%+) are Serbia, Sweden, South Africa, and India. The country where it is by far the lowest is Japan.
- 33% globally have relatives abroad with whom they keep in touch (from 63% in Serbia, 54% in Peru and 51% in Mexico to 4% in Japan, 14% in China and 17% each in the U.S. and Brazil).
- 36% globally have personal friends abroad with whom they keep in touch (from 58% in Serbia, 52% in South Africa, and 47% each in India and Turkey to 9% in Japan, 25% each in South Korea and the U.S., and 26% in Russia).
- 18% globally often communicate with people abroad as part of their job (from 35% in India, 29% in South Africa, 27% in Malaysia and 26% in China to 3% in Japan, 9% in Brazil, and 10% in France and South Korea.)
- 15% have immediate family members who were born abroad (from 36% in Australia, 27% in Sweden, and 26% in Canada to 3% in Japan and 6% in China.)
- 19% have close friends where they live who were born abroad (from 36% in Sweden and 34% in Australia to 6% in each of Japan and South Korea.)
- 27% have casual acquaintances where they live who were born abroad (from 53% in Sweden, 42% in Australia to 7% in Japan and 11% in Brazil.)
* Not asked in China and India
** Not asked in China
- The survey was conducted in 27 countries via the Ipsos Online Panel system: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.
- Interviews were conducted with 20,767 adults aged 18-64 in Canada and the U.S. and 16-64 in all other countries between April 20 and May 4, 2018.
- Data is weighted to match the profile of the population.
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