Attitudes towards immigrants and immigration 2013


The survey of attitudes towards immigrants and immigration, conducted by Statistics Norway in July and August 2013, shows that the share who completely or partly agrees with the statement "Most immigrants make an important contribution to Norwegian working life" has fallen by 8 percentage points since 2012. Seventy-two per cent of people now support the statement, and 14 per cent disagree. Last year's result of 80 per cent agreeing with this statement was the highest share ever measured. The change this year is statistically significant.

We also find in 2013 a decrease of 5 percentage points in the share who say they completely or partly agree with the statement "Labour immigration from non-Nordic countries makes a mainly positive contribution to the Norwegian economy." Support for this statement is now 66 per cent, while 16 per cent disagree.

Although we see a slight fall of 4 percentage points, the majority still, nevertheless, support the statement "Immigrants in Norway should endeavour to become as similar to Norwegians as possible", with 49 per cent agreeing and 41 per cent disagreeing.

The share who report having contact with immigrants was up 7 percentage points from last year's unusually low share of 71 per cent. In the last five years, the share having contact with immigrants has remained stable at about three out of four, with last year's result being an exception.

Half of respondents still disagree that "Most immigrants abuse the social welfare system," while a third believe this to be true. The corresponding shares for the assertion that immigrants are a “source of insecurity in society” are roughly the same.

Seven out of ten agree that most immigrants "enrich the cultural life in Norway", which is about the same as last year. The share who believe that immigrants in Norway "should have the same job opportunities as Norwegians" is unchanged from last year, at 86 per cent.

Finally, the report shows how attitudes vary for different background factors such as gender, age, education, place of residence, region etc. The most elderly are generally more sceptical towards immigrants and immigration than other age groups. A breakdown by education shows that acceptance of immigrants is greatest among the highly educated. By region, Akershus and Oslo are generally the most liberal. People who have contact with immigrants are also more benevolent.

The survey of attitudes towards immigrants and immigration is funded by the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion and is aimed at gauging the mood of the population in relation to various aspects of the country's immigration and refugee policy and to immigrants as a group. Most of the questions asked have been included in the survey every year since 2002.