How Others See Us: Perceptions of the UK across 36 countries

Research conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the British Council finds the UK to be the joint most attractive country overall among young people across the 36 countries surveyed.

The author(s)

  • Becky Writer-Davies Research Manager
  • Bridget Williams Public Affairs
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Between 7 February and 27 March 2020, Ipsos MORI undertook a survey of 37,158 18-34 year olds with a minimum of secondary education in 36 countries. For 19 of the 36 countries, this was the fourth wave of research conducted among this audience by Ipsos MORI for the British Council, with two previous waves conducted in 2016 (before and after the EU referendum) and a further wave in 2018. Trend data has been included where possible to assess whether views of the UK have changed over time.

For the additional 17 countries included in the survey in 2020, this was the first wave of research conducted among this audience by Ipsos MORI for the British Council.

This year’s study finds that the UK and Canada are considered to be the most attractive countries overall among young people across the 36 countries surveyed: the countries rank joint first, with 75 per cent of participants saying they find each country attractive. Italy, France and the USA rank close behind the UK and Canada (third and joint fourth ranks respectively).

Most Attractive Countries Overall - Ipsos MORI and British Council

The UK achieves the highest attractiveness ratings in Kenya and the Ukraine (both 88 per cent) and lowest in Japan (55 per cent). However, percentage figures mask cultural differences across countries in the way people answer questions in a survey. When rank position is considered, Japan ranks the UK fourth of the 36 countries included in the survey. 

The UK achieves the lowest rank for attractiveness among young people in Ireland (twelfth), and highest in Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Ukraine, where it ranks in first place.

Attractiveness ratings for the UK - Ipsos MORI & British Council

Technical details

  • 37,158 interviews were conducted with 18-34 year olds with a minimum of secondary education in the 36 countries included in the survey. The sample size was 1,000 per country with the exception of Ireland where 500 interviews were conducted.
  • Interviews were conducted online in 34 of the 36 countries included, and face-to-face in two countries (Kazakhstan and Pakistan)
  • Interviews were conducted between 7 February and 27 March 2020
  • Quotas were set on gender and age, with a minimum number of completes required across region
  • Data has been weighted for each individual country to the known offline population proportions for age within gender, and each country has been given equal weighting within the global dataset

The author(s)

  • Becky Writer-Davies Research Manager
  • Bridget Williams Public Affairs

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