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Communities Could Be Driving Away Migrants They Need
World

Communities Could Be Driving Away Migrants They Need

by Neli Esipova, Julie Ray and Anita Pugliese
Communities Could Be Driving Away Migrants They Need

Story Highlights

  • Working-age, college-educated migrants more likely to leave
  • Gaps in desire to migrate largest among migrants in EU, MENA

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Migrants are more mobile than the native-born population. They've moved before and Gallup data collected over the past decade show they are typically more likely to want to move again. This is true regardless of whether they think their cities or areas are good or bad places for migrants to live.

However, if migrants live in communities that they think are not good places for migrants to live, they are even more likely to want to move on. While those who do not want migrants living in their communities may not see this as a problem, this dynamic is important because it could actually end up driving away the migrants many economies can least afford to lose.

Migrants who think their cities or areas are not good places for migrants to live are considerably more likely to want to move (31%) than those who think their communities are good places (21%). At the same time, whether their city or area is a good or bad place for migrants makes no difference to the native-born -- in either situation, about 15% want to move.

This dynamic among migrants could have potential workforce and economic implications. Worldwide, working-age migrants and those with college educations are significantly more likely to want to migrate if they think their communities are not good places for migrants to live than those who think their communities are good places.

Working-Age, Educated Migrants Desire to Leave Places That Aren't Good for Migrants
Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for immigrants from other countries?
Good place for migrants Not a good place for migrants
% want to move % want to move
Age
15 to 29 32 41
30 to 59 21 31
60 and older 11 15
Education
Elementary education or less 22 25
Secondary education 23 32
College degree 22 35
Among first-generation migrants
Gallup World Poll 2010-2018

These relationships are particularly important because the regions with the biggest gaps in migrants' desire to migrate are also some of the world's top destinations for migrants. For example, the gaps in migration desire among those who see their communities as not good versus good for migrants are largest in the European Union (14 percentage points) and the Middle East and North Africa (13 points).

Notably, these relationships hold in Northern America as well, but the sample sizes for migrants who think their communities are not good for migrants are too small (less than 100) to report numbers separately.

Migrants in EU, MENA More Likely to Want to Move
Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for immigrants from other countries?
Good place Not a good place Difference
% want to move % want to move pct. pts.
European Union 28 42 14
Middle East and North Africa 23 36 13
Commonwealth of Independent States 17 24 7
Latin America and the Caribbean 27 34 7
Sub-Saharan Africa 35 37 2
Asia 15 17 2
Among first-generation migrants. Northern America not displayed because samples were too small.
Gallup World Poll, 2010-2018

There are gaps in migrants' desire to migrate (depending on whether they think their communities are good or bad places) in almost every country within the EU. The gaps are quite large in some countries where there has been significant backlash against migrants -- and where migration has become a contentious political and social issue.

In the UK, for example, where the gap is 17 points, 56% of migrants who say their communities are bad places would like to leave, versus 39% who say their communities are good places.

Migrants in EU Would Move on From Places That Aren't Good for Migrants
Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for immigrants from other countries?
Good place Not a good place Difference
% want to move % want to move pct. pts.
Luxembourg 16 34 18
United Kingdom 39 56 17
Ireland 26 42 16
Austria 14 30 16
France 25 39 14
Cyprus 28 40 12
Belgium 27 35 8
Croatia 21 29 8
Greece 34 38 4
Latvia 18 15 -3
Estonia 17 14 -3
Slovenia 24 22 -2
EU countries where sample sizes of migrants who think communities are not good places is at least 100
Gallup World Poll, 2011-2018

Notably, these relationships also hold in Germany, but the sample size of migrants who think their communities are not good for migrants is too small (less than 100) to report numbers separately.

There are gaps in migrants' desire to migrate (depending on whether they think their communities are good or bad places) in most countries across the Middle East and North Africa as well. The gaps are quite large in countries with large migrant populations such as Saudi Arabia (26 points), Libya (21 points) and the United Arab Emirates (19 points). Israel and Jordan are notable exceptions.

Gaps in Migrants' Desire to Move in MENA
Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for immigrants from other countries?
Good place Not a good place Difference
% want to move % want to move pct. pts.
Saudi Arabia 23 49 26
Libya 50 71 21
United Arab Emirates 16 35 19
Kuwait 24 38 14
Israel 13 13 0
Jordan 34 32 -2
MENA countries where sample of migrants who say their communities are not good places is at least 100.
Gallup World Poll, 2010-2018

In the EU, the gaps are biggest among working-age migrants, while the effect is the same for all education groups. In MENA, the gaps are highest among migrants with the highest level of education.

Implications

People in most regions are at least as likely -- if not more likely -- to see their communities as good for migrants than they've been in the past. In most parts of the world, this is true of both the native-born and migrant populations -- and particularly of migrants. But the key difference between them is that if migrants don't see their communities as good places for them to live, they are more likely to want to move on.

Younger migrants, by their nature are more mobile to begin with, and those with more education have more options. So, if countries need migrant workers, this dynamic is important to pay attention to because it could potentially be driving away the migrants many economies desire to keep -- and ones they want to attract.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/271769/communities-driving-away-migrants-need.aspx
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