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.

Young people's attitudes to immigration: findings from the Young People in Scotland Survey 2017
5. Perceived impact of immigration on Scotland's culture and identity

5. Perceived impact of immigration on Scotland's culture and identity

Participants were asked whether they agreed or disagreed that Scotland would begin to lose its identity if more Muslims, people from Eastern Europe and Black and Asian people came to live in Scotland.

Across the whole sample, over four in ten of respondents disagreed with the statement. The young people were most likely to disagree with the statement when it related to Black and Asian people. However, over a quarter agreed that Scotland would begin to lose its identity as a result of greater diversity, particular when they were asked to consider more Muslims coming to live in Scotland (Table 5.1).

Table 5.1: Perceptions of Scotland's identity (%) (N=1,781)

Scotland would begin to lose its identity if: TOTAL
More Muslims came to live in Scotland Agree 28
Neither agree nor disagree 19
Disagree 42
Don't know/Prefer not to say 11
More people from Eastern Europe (for example, Poland and Latvia) came to live in Scotland Agree 27
Neither agree nor disagree 21
Disagree 41
Don't know/Prefer not to say 11
More Black and Asian people came to live in Scotland Agree 25
Neither agree nor disagree 20
Disagree 45
Don't know/Prefer not to say 10

Source: Young People in Scotland Survey 2017, Ipsos MORI.

Variations in attitudes between sub-groups

Year group

Young people in each year group were relatively positive about the prospect of greater diversity in Scotland. The most popular option for each year group, and in relation to each immigrant group, was disagreement with the statement about Scotland's possible loss of identity. Those in the oldest group (S6) were the least negative of all the year groups: 53%, 52% and 57% of respondents in S6 disagreed with the statement that Scotland would begin to lose its identity if more Muslims, people from Eastern Europe and Black and Asian people (respectively) came to live in Scotland.

The older the respondents were, the less likely they were to say they didn't know, or preferred not to say, when asked about the impact of more immigrants on Scotland's identity (Table 5.2).

Table 5.2: Perceptions of Scotland's identity (%), by year group (N=1,755)

Do you agree or disagree that Scotland would begin to lose its identity if: S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6
More Muslims came to live in Scotland Agree 22 28 28 28 31 29
Neither agree nor disagree 23 21 19 21 15 16
Disagree 40 37 43 41 45 53
Don't know/Prefer not to say 15 14 11 11 8 2
More people from Eastern Europe (for example, Poland and Latvia) came to live in Scotland Agree 24 25 25 29 28 27
Neither agree nor disagree 24 25 22 23 16 18
Disagree 38 36 43 36 48 52
Don't know/Prefer not to say 13 14 10 12 8 2
More Black and Asian people came to live in Scotland Agree 23 25 23 25 26 23
Neither agree nor disagree 18 19 23 26 17 19
Disagree 43 43 46 39 50 57
Don't know/Prefer not to say 16 13 8 11 7 1

Source: Young People in Scotland Survey 2017, Ipsos MORI.

Gender

Boys were more likely than girls to agree that Scotland might lose its identity if more Muslims, people from Eastern Europe and Black and Asian people came to live here (Table 5.3).

Table 5.3: Perceptions of Scotland's identity (%), by gender (N=1,715)

Scotland would begin to lose its identity if: Boys Girls
More Muslims came to live in Scotland Agree 32 23
Neither agree nor disagree 20 19
Disagree 39 46
Don't know/Prefer not to say 9 13
More people from Eastern Europe (for example, Poland and Latvia) came to live in Scotland Agree 30 22
Neither agree nor disagree 22 22
Disagree 38 44
Don't know/Prefer not to say 10 12
More Black and Asian people came to live in Scotland Agree 27 21
Neither agree nor disagree 22 19
Disagree 42 49
Don't know/Prefer not to say 10 10

Source: Young People in Scotland Survey 2017, Ipsos MORI.

Socio-economic background

Young people in the most deprived socio-economic group ( SIMD 1) appeared to be the most concerned about the prospect of greater diversity in Scotland. Respondents in SIMD 1 were more likely than other groups to agree with the statement that Scotland would begin to lose its identity if more Muslims, people from Eastern Europe and Black and Asian people came to live here. The key significant differences were between young people in SIMD 1 and SIMD 5, the least deprived socio-economic group (Table 5.4).

Table 5.4: Perceptions of Scotland's identity (%), by SIMD (N=1,781)

Do you agree or disagree that Scotland would begin to lose its identity if: 1 2 3 4 5
More Muslims came to live in Scotland Agree 33 27 27 27 24
Neither agree nor disagree 18 23 21 17 18
Disagree 36 40 40 46 49
Don't know/Prefer not to say 13 10 12 10 10
More people from Eastern Europe (for example, Poland and Latvia) came to live in Scotland Agree 34 26 26 24 25
Neither agree nor disagree 21 22 24 21 19
Disagree 31 40 39 47 47
Don't know/Prefer not to say 14 12 10 8 10
More Black and Asian people came to live in Scotland Agree 33 25 24 20 22
Neither agree nor disagree 18 22 21 21 18
Disagree 37 43 45 50 51
Don't know/Prefer not to say 12 11 9 9 10

Source: Young People in Scotland Survey 2017, Ipsos MORI.

Ethnicity

Respondents in BME groups were more likely than White young people to disagree with the statement that Scotland would lose its identity if more Muslims, people from Eastern Europe and Black and Asian people came to live here (Table 5.5).

Table 5.5: Perceptions of Scotland's identity (%), by ethnicity (N=1,672)

Scotland would begin to lose its identity if: White BME
More Muslims came to live in Scotland Agree 28 22
Neither agree nor disagree 20 14
Disagree 42 55
Don't know/Prefer not to say 10 10
More people from Eastern Europe (for example, Poland and Latvia) came to live in Scotland Agree 27 25
Neither agree nor disagree 22 17
Disagree 41 50
Don't know/Prefer not to say 10 8
More Black and Asian people came to live in Scotland Agree 25 22
Neither agree nor disagree 21 14
Disagree 45 56
Don't know/Prefer not to say 9 8

Source: Young People in Scotland Survey 2017, Ipsos MORI.

Physical/mental health condition

Young people who said they had a physical or mental health condition were more likely to agree that Scotland would lose its identity if there was greater diversity in the country. Young people who did not have a health condition were more likely to disagree with the statement (Table 5.6).

Table 5.6: Perceptions of Scotland's identity (%), by physical/mental health condition (N=1,412)

Scotland would begin to lose its identity if: Health condition No health condition
More Muslims came to live in Scotland Agree 34 27
Neither agree nor disagree 17 19
Disagree 37 45
Don't know/Prefer not to say 12 9
More people from Eastern Europe (for example, Poland and Latvia) came to live in Scotland Agree 32 25
Neither agree nor disagree 19 22
Disagree 38 44
Don't know/Prefer not to say 10 9
More Black and Asian people came to live in Scotland Agree 32 22
Neither agree nor disagree 18 21
Disagree 40 48
Don't know/Prefer not to say 10 9

Source: Young People in Scotland Survey 2017, Ipsos MORI.


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