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Canada, the US and South Africa have the most inclusive view of nationality: Ipsos poll

Ipsos's Inclusiveness Index compares countries' acceptance of social and cultural diversity
An Ipsos Global Advisor survey shows Canada and the United States, followed closely by South Africa, have the most inclusive definition of nationality, followed by France, and Australia. These countries score highest on an Inclusiveness Index reflecting social acceptance of diversity as it applies to religion, immigration, sexual orientation and gender identity, political views, and criminal background. This study was conducted online and so represents the views of South Africans that access the internet on a regular basis.

Canada, the US and South Africa have the most inclusive view of nationality: Ipsos poll

The Overall Inclusiveness Index is based on the findings of an Ipsos Global Advisor survey conducted in April and May 2018. For the study, Ipsos interviewed over 20,700 men and women in 27 countries about as many as 28 types of people. For each type, respondents were asked if they consider such a person to be a “real” national (e.g. “a real American” in the US, “a real Brazilian” in Brazil, etc.) or not. The Overall Inclusiveness Index is calculated by averaging the net scores (“real” percentage minus “not real” percentage) for six constructs:
  • Religious Inclusiveness (average of net scores for each of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists) – led by France and Canada;
  • Naturalised-Citizen Inclusiveness (net score for naturalised citizens) – led by the US and Australia;
  • Second Generation Inclusiveness (average of net scores for native-born people whose parents immigrated from nine different regions of the world) – led by Canada and Chile;
  • LGBT Inclusiveness (net score for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people) – led by France and Canada;
  • Criminal Background Inclusiveness (net score for people who have been convicted and incarcerated) – led by Canada and South Africa; and
  • Extreme Political Views Inclusiveness (net score for people with extreme political views) – led by South Africa and the US.
For benchmarking purposes, the study also explores inclusiveness of people who served in the country’s armed forces (it is highest in the US) and self-perception of locals as “real” nationals (it is most common in China and India).

The study also explores the nature and prevalence of international experience and international connections among people from each country.

Summary of findings

Religious diversity

To assess attitudes toward religious diversity, respondents were asked whether they consider each of a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu and an atheist as a “real” national of their country. Of the 25 countries where questions on religion were asked*, South Africa, Canada, France and the US are the only four countries where full majorities (i.e. at least 50% of adults surveyed) consider members of all six religious groups as “real” nationals.

Other countries where members of at least three religious groups are seen by at least 50% or respondents as “real” nationals are: Australia (all groups except Muslims), Malaysia (all groups except Jews and atheists), and Argentina, Great Britain and Sweden (Christians, Jews and atheists for all three).

In Belgium, Chile, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and Spain, only Christians and atheists are seen by majorities as “real” nationals.

Members of only one religious group are thought of as “real” nationals by majorities in five countries: Christians in Brazil, Peru and Serbia; Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Naturalised citizens

Just under half (48%) of adults asked across 25 countries* think that an immigrant who has become a citizen of their country is a “real” national while 31% consider that he or she is not a “real” national and 21% are not sure.

In South Africa, 62% believe that an immigrant who has become citizen of our country is a real South African. This number decreases to 49% if the said immigrant does not have a job, in line with global trends, and all the way down to 37% if a legal immigrant has not become a citizen.

A majority of adults in 13 countries (including three quarters in the US and two thirds in Canada and Australia) and a plurality in seven other countries consider that a naturalised citizen is a “real” national. However, a majority in Malaysia, Hungary, Serbia, and Turkey, and a plurality in Poland disagree. A majority in Japan is not sure.

Globally, the odds for a naturalised citizen to be perceived as a “real” national increase by an average of five points when it is specified that he or she is employed or that he or she is fluent in the local language. The odds drop by significantly steeper margins when it is specified that the naturalised citizen does not have a job (nine points lower) and most of all, that he or she is not fluent in the local language (by 17 points). People in France, Belgium, and Australia are especially prone to differentiating naturalised citizens based on both their employment status and their fluency in the local language.

Legal and undocumented non-citizens

At 31%, the average global percentage of adults who consider a lifelong legal immigrant who has not become a citizen as a “real” national is 17 points lower than for an immigrant who is a naturalised citizen. The non-citizenship penalty for a legal immigrant is highest in the three countries most likely to view naturalised citizens as “real” nationals: the US, Canada, and Australia (30 points or more).

Globally, the percentage of adults who consider an undocumented immigrant who has lived in the country most of their life to be a “real” national is 29 points lower than for an immigrant who is a naturalised citizen. The penalty for being undocumented is highest in the three countries most likely to view naturalised citizens as “real” nationals: the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and South Korea (42 points or more). The only country where people in this situation are viewed as “real” nationals by a plurality is Mexico (45%), possibly taking into consideration the status of “Dreamers” in the United States.

In every country surveyed, an immigrant who is married to a native (without any mention of their legal status) is less likely to be viewed as a “real” national than is an immigrant who has become a citizen (32% vs 48%, a 16-point difference). The difference is highest in the US, Canada, and South Africa (25 points or more).

“Second generation”

Across the 27 countries surveyed, 58% view locally born and raised children of immigrants as “real” nationals while 21% say they are “not real” nationals and another 21% are not sure. In South Africa, 82% believe that children of immigrants are real South Africans. Views about those who are often referred to as “second generation” people vary widely across countries.

In 15 countries (chief among them Chile, Canada, and South Africa), at least 50% of adults surveyed view people born and raised in that country whose parents immigrated from every one of nine world regions as “real” nationals. On the other hand, in seven countries (chief among them Japan and China), fewer than 50% of adults surveyed view people born and raised in that country whose parents immigrated from any one of nine world regions as “real” nationals.

Views do not vary much depending on the parents’ region of origin: with few exceptions, the percentage of respondents who consider native-born children of immigrants from a neighboring or culturally similar country tends to be no more than a few points higher than for native-born children of immigrants from a more remote or culturally different part of the world. For example, 63% of all respondents across Europe and North America (not including Mexico) consider native-born children of immigrants from Europe or North America as “real” nationals vs 58% who think the same of native-born children of immigrants from the Middle East or North Africa – a five-point difference.

Children of expatriates

Globally, only 41% consider someone born and raised abroad by parents from their own country is a “real” national. This is seven points lower than for a naturalised citizen and 17 points lower than for someone born and raised in the country by immigrant parents (average for all regions of origin of immigrant parents).

In Malaysia (by 51 points), Serbia, Turkey and Hungary, children of expatriates are more likely to be viewed as “real” nationals than are naturalied immigrants. Furthermore, in Malaysia (by 38 points), Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, and Japan, children of expatriates are more likely to be viewed as “real” nationals than are native-born children of immigrants.

LGBT people

Majorities in 16 of the 25 countries* where the question was asked (including 75% or more in France, Canada, Chile, Belgium, and Sweden) consider someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender to be a “real” national. However, a majority or a plurality in four countries (Japan, Serbia, South Korea and Turkey) are not sure and a majority in two countries (Saudi Arabia and Malaysia) think an LGBT person is not a “real” national. 72% of South Africans regard LGBT citizens as real South Africans.

People with extreme political views

A majority of people in four countries surveyed (South Africa, the US, France, and Canada) and a plurality in six other countries think someone with extreme political views is a “real” national. A majority in Saudi Arabia and a plurality in five countries think someone with extreme political views is “not a real” national. In Japan and five other countries, the prevailing response is “not sure”.

People with a criminal background

The view that someone who has been convicted of a crime and incarcerated is a “real” national is shared by a majority of adults in only seven countries surveyed (chief among them South Africa and Canada) and by a plurality in ten other countries. A plurality in Saudi Arabia and a majority in Malaysia consider that a felon is “not a real” national of their country. A majority in two countries (Japan and Serbia) and a plurality in four other countries say they are not be sure if that is the case.

Armed forces veterans

Three out of four adults globally (73%), including at least 65% of adults in all but three of 25 countries*, think that someone who has served in the armed forces is a “real” national. This view is most widespread in the US (86%) as well as Malaysia and Canada (85% each) and South Africa (82%). However, it is shared by only three in five adults in Serbia and Germany (59% each) while a majority in Japan (62%) are not sure.

Self-perception as a “real” national

China and India are the two countries in the study where the sense of being an integral part of the nation is most widely shared: 98% in China consider themselves as “real” Chinese and the same percentage in India view themselves as “real” Indians. Self-perception as a “real” national is least prevalent in Saudi Arabia (where 28% do not view themselves as “real” Saudis and 7% are not sure), Great Britain (where 17% say they don’t think of themselves as “real” Britons and 24% are not sure) and Japan (where 7% don’t think of themselves as “real” Japanese and 29% are not sure).

90% of South Africans view themselves as “real” nationals.

International experience and connections

On average across the 27 countries surveyed, 70% have ever been in another country during their lifetime. Above-average levels of international experience are seen in all European countries (excluding Russia), Australia, Canada, and China. Overall, 16% were born abroad or have lived abroad with the highest proportions (around three in ten) in Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden and the lowest (6%) in Brazil. Globally, 62% have travelled outside of their country with wide variations across countries – from 80% or more in Serbia, Sweden and Belgium to less than 40% in Brazil and Mexico.

Overall, 68% across the 27 countries have some international connection, i.e. interactions with relatives, friends or work contacts who live abroad or with relatives, friends or casual acquaintances who were born abroad. Countries with the largest percentages of people having some international contacts (80%+) are Serbia, Sweden, South Africa, and India. The country where it is by far the lowest is Japan.
  • 55% of South Africans have travelled out of South Africa, and 22% were born or have lived outside of South Africa.
  • 33% globally have relatives abroad with whom they keep in touch (from 63% in Serbia, 54% in Peru and 51% in Mexico to 4% in Japan, 14% in China and 17% each in the US and Brazil).
  • 36% globally have personal friends abroad with whom they keep in touch (from 58% in Serbia, 52% in South Africa, and 47% each in India and Turkey to 9% in Japan, 25% each in South Korea and the US, and 26% in Russia).
  • 18% globally often communicate with people abroad as part of their job (from 35% in India, 29% in South Africa, 27% in Malaysia and 26% in China to 3% in Japan, 9% in Brazil, and 10% in France and South Korea.).
  • 15% have immediate family members who were born abroad (from 36% in Australia, 27% in Sweden, and 26% in Canada to 3% in Japan and 6% in China).
  • 19% have close friends where they live who were born abroad (from 36% in Sweden and 34% in Australia to 6% in each of Japan and South Korea).
  • 27% have casual acquaintances where they live who were born abroad (from 53% in Sweden, 42% in Australia to 7% in Japan and 11% in Brazil).


*Not asked in China and India
**Not asked in China


26 Jun 2018 17:53

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