Reports 2020/49

Attitudes towards immigrants and immigration 2020

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In this report the results of this year’s survey of attitudes toward immigrants and immigration are presented. In the last years the surveys have shown increasingly more positive attitudes toward immigrants, and this trend continues also this year. The changes shown in this year’s survey are larger and more significant than those in the preceding years. There are in other words more and more respondents that think immigrants make a useful contribution in working life and that immigrants should have the same opportunities for work as Norwegians. At the same time, we see fewer thinking that most immigrants abuse the social welfare system and immigrants to a lesser degree being perceived as a source of insecurity in society.

Fewer are also skeptical to having immigrants in close and less close relations, as domestic help, as a new neighbor or as son/daughter in law. The majority of those interviewed in the survey wants the possibility of refugees and asylum seekers to obtain residence in Norway to remain as it is today. This has been the case for many years. We do however see the share thinking that it should be become easier to gain residence increasing, while the share thinking it should become harder decreasing.

While attitudes are getting more positive, we also see contact with immigrants becoming more extensive. Most of those in contact with immigrants state that their experience with this contact is mainly positive.

Attitudes vary according to the characteristics of the respondents. Women more often hold positive attitudes toward immigrants than men, and young people are more liberal than older. Respondents with high education are more positive toward immigrants and immigration than those with lower education. Students and pupils are more positive than respondents receiving welfare benefits or pensions, while those working occupy a position between these two groups. There are also differ­ences between city and countryside. Respondents in densely populated areas are often more positively disposed toward immigrants, while respondents in less densely populated areas tend to be more skeptical. There are more positive attitudes in Oslo and Viken and in Trøndelag than in for example Agder- and South-East Norway and Northern Norway. Differences in attitudes between regions may partly be due to those living in larger cities and more densely populated areas having more contact with immigrants and with the population in these areas having higher education.

The gross sample of the survey has been selected in order to provide, as far as possible, a statistically representative sample of the target population. However, in all sample surveys there is drop-out. In this year’s survey the drop-out percentage was 41,2 percent. This is the smallest drop-out than in many years, but the drop-out is still large. That many do not participate in the survey contributes to biases in the net sample. This is compensated for by using drop-out weights based on sex, age and education. After using weights, we see a reduction of most biases, at least according to the characteristics that we are able to control, and a distribution in the weighted net sample more similar to the distribution in the gross sample. Biases may however occur. A further outline of this can be found in chapter 2. In chapter 3 we outline some events and developments in society that may have influenced the attitudes toward immigrants and immigration in this year’s survey. Chapter 4 presents the main results of the survey, with emphasis on the long-term changes that have taken place in the period from 2002 until 2020. In chapter 5 the development of the last year -from 2019 to 2020- is treated, with focus on those changes that are statistically significant. In chapter 6 we take a closer look at the relations between attitudes and the background characteristics of the respondents, as well as at which of these relations are statistically significant.

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