Publication - Research and analysis

Young people's attitudes to immigration: findings from the Young People in Scotland Survey 2017

Published: 15 Aug 2018

This report presents findings on attitudes to immigration from the Ipsos MORI Young People in Scotland Survey 2017.

43 page PDF

675.7 kB

43 page PDF

675.7 kB

Contents
Young people's attitudes to immigration: findings from the Young People in Scotland Survey 2017
Key findings

43 page PDF

675.7 kB

Key findings

The 2017 Young People in Scotland Survey included a module of questions about respondents' attitudes to immigration. Fieldwork was conducted by Ipsos MORI Scotland and 1,781 secondary school pupils in state schools across Scotland participated in the online self-completion survey between September and November 2017. Analysis and reporting was conducted by the Scottish Government Strategic Analysis Team.

Perceived impact of immigration on the country as a whole

  • Four in ten of the young people who participated in the survey felt that the impact of immigration on the country as a whole had been both good and bad.
  • People in the oldest year group (S6) were more likely to feel positive about the impact of immigration in Scotland than those in other year groups (almost three in ten of those in S6 felt that the impact had been mostly good).
  • Girls perceived the impact of immigration on Scotland less negatively than boys.
  • Young people in the least deprived socioeconomic group were the most positive, and those in the most deprived group the least positive, about the impact of immigration on Scotland.
  • Young people who said they had a physical or mental health condition were more negative about the impact of immigration than those who did not have a health condition.

Levels of immigration into Scotland

  • More than a third of the young people felt that immigration should be kept at the current level, and 15% thought the level should be increased. However, three in ten thought that immigration should be decreased or stopped completely.
  • The attitudes of people in the oldest year group were more positive than the other year groups: almost a quarter of people in S6 supported increased immigration.
  • Young White people were more likely than those in BME groups to think that immigration should be decreased.
  • Those with non-Christian beliefs were more likely than other groups to support increased immigration, and less likely to support decreased immigration.

Do people from outside Britain who come to live in Scotland make the country a better place?

  • Over a third of the young people agreed that immigrants who come to Scotland make the country a better place. A further third neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement.
  • Almost half of the people in S6 agreed that the impact of immigration had been positive in Scotland; in younger year groups this ranged between 34% and 38%.
  • Young people in the least deprived socioeconomic group were the most likely to agree that immigrants make the country a better place.
  • Young people in BME groups were more likely than White people to agree that immigrants who come to live in Scotland make the country a better place.
  • Almost half of the non-Christian group agreed that immigration had a positive impact on Scotland. This was a greater proportion than that of Christians, or those who had no religion, who agreed with the statement.

Perceived impact of immigration on Scotland's culture and identity

  • Over four in ten of the young people disagreed that Scotland would begin to lose its identity if more immigrants came to live in Scotland. However, more than a quarter agreed with the statement.
  • Young people in S6 were more positive about greater diversity in Scotland than respondents from younger year groups.
  • Girls were less likely than boys to think that Scotland might lose its identity as a result of greater diversity.
  • Participants from the least deprived socio-economic group ( SIMD 5) were the most positive about greater diversity.
  • Young people in BME groups were more positive than White people about the impact of immigration on Scotland's culture and identity.
  • Young people with a physical or mental health condition were more concerned about the prospect of greater diversity in Scotland than those who did not have a health condition.

Perceived impact of immigration on Scotland's economy

  • Half the participants agreed that people from abroad who come to live and work in Scotland make a valuable contribution to the economy. Just over one in ten disagreed with the statement.
  • People in S6 were more positive about the impact of immigration than those in other year groups.
  • Although approximately half of both boys and girls agreed that people who come to live and work in Scotland make a valuable contribution to the economy, boys were more negative than girls.
  • Young people in the least deprived socio-economic groups were more likely than those in other groups to agree with the statement.
  • Young people from BME groups were more likely than White young people to agree that people from outside Britain who come to live in Scotland make a valuable contribution to the economy.
  • Young people who had a physical or mental health condition were more likely to disagree with the statement than those who did not have such a condition.

Concluding points

  • In general, the young people who participated in the survey recognised that people who come to live and work in Scotland have a positive contribution to make, particularly in relation to the economy.
  • Although more than a quarter of the sample had concerns about Scotland beginning to lose its identity if more immigrants came to live and work here, more than four in ten were positive about the prospect of greater diversity.
  • Some findings relating to sub-groups are consistent across all questions. Generally, the oldest group (S6) had the most positive attitudes, as did the least socio-economically deprived group, people from BME groups, those with a non-Christian faith, and those who did not have a long-standing physical or mental health condition.
  • A substantial proportion of the young people (up to one in five) gave a 'don't know' response to every question. Analysis by year group in relation to each question indicated that the older respondents were, the less likely they were to say they did not know.

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