Public opinions towards immigration

National level data

One of the most salient issues across Europe, particularly since the 1980s, has been immigration. Some would even argue it is one of the more defining features of the contemporary political scene in most liberal democracies, both for actors on the political demand and the political supply. Many studies have analysed and continue to analyse the overall state and the evolution of people’s perceptions and the general public opinion towards immigration (POIM). Yet, they are often limited in their scope, the period they cover or they rely on a limited number of survey items.

Our project sets out to provide an encompassing and comprehensive measure of public opinion towards immigration. For the moment, the corresponding data set contains annual time series measures of public opinion towards immigration for 17 European democracies, namely Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden. These measures are based on data from dozens of international and national surveys, comprising hundreds of different variables drawn from thousands of survey margins.

Rather than individual country files, the data will be released as a harmonised time-series coss-sectional data set on the project's Dataverse

Regional level data

Public opinion towards immigration can show great patterns of variance. Even more, it is often difficult to perceive an 'opinion' - even if aggregated - as homogenous across a country. With that in mind, the project does not only allow for the analysis of within-country patterns of variance by means of through-time measures, but it also provides a limited number of regional-level public opinion towards immigration measures.

For the moment, the project collects regional-level public opinion towards immigration data for three countries, namely Belgium, France and Great Britain. The operationalisation of 'regions' largely corresponds to the NUTS 1 scheme designed by the European Union. More specifically,

- Belgium: Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.
- France: Nord, Bassin Parisien, Île-de-France, Est, Ouest, Centre-Est, Sud-Ouest and Méditerranée.
- Great Britain: North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

You can find the data (.csv and .dta) and the corresponding estimation analytics (log files) on the Harvard Dataverse here. Please cite the data as follows: Van Hauwaert, S. M. (2018), Regional-level immigration opinions dataset,, Harvard Dataverse, V2.

Below is a quick visualisation of the regional-level data

Click image to enlarge