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

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

1. Introduction

This report presents analysis of data from Ipsos MORI's Young People in Scotland Survey 2017. The Scottish Government commissioned a module of questions on attitudes to immigration. The questions focused on two broad themes: levels of immigration and perceived impacts of immigration. The questions are detailed in Annex A.


The survey was conducted with a secondary school age, nationally representative sample of young people who responded to the questions in an online, self-completion survey. The sample is of 1,781 pupils across state schools in Scotland. The data were weighted by gender, year group, urban-rural classification and SIMD classification [1] to account for any differences between the sample and Scotland's population as a whole. Fieldwork was conducted between September and November 2017.

Analysis and reporting were undertaken by the Strategic Analysis Team, using data tables provided by Ipsos MORI Scotland. Responses to each attitudinal question were examined for the whole sample and for each sub-group. Details of the statistical tests and the full list of variables are presented in Annex B.

Full details relating to the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the sample are provided in Annex C.

About this report

Although the Scottish Government preferred term is 'migration,' the questions selected for the survey use 'immigration.' It was decided not to change the term when participants were interviewed, so that the meaning was made explicit to the young people, and so that data would be comparable with other surveys which included these questions. For coherence between question reporting and analysis, 'immigration' is used throughout this report.

Each findings section of the report begins with a paragraph and a Figure which summarises findings for the whole sample. Variations in attitudes between sub-groups are then detailed, where these include differences that are statistically significant. For ease of reference, sub-group breakdowns are always ordered as follows:

  • Year group
  • Gender
  • Socio-economic background (defined by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD) category)
  • Ethnicity
  • Religious affiliation
  • Presence or absence of long-standing physical or mental health condition [2] .

There were no significant differences between the views of young people living in urban and rural areas in response to any of the questions, so no urban/rural sub-group analysis is included in the report.

The questions used in the Young People in Scotland survey (or questions with similar wording) have been used in a number of recent surveys and opinion polls in Scotland and the UK/Britain. Annex D provides more information and weblinks to findings, for those interested in comparative data.


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