Should Europe open its doors to foreigners? A cross-country analysis of public views on replacement migration

Alin M. Ceobanu, University of Florida
Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, University of Florida

Concerns about population decline in Europe have occupied the attention of demographers and policy makers over the past decade. However, public attitudes about replacement migration, as a solution to address the deficit of population, have been under-explored. Using cross-national data from the Eurobarometer survey (2006) and concurrent country-level data, this study examines individual- and contextual-level predicting factors of attitudes toward the perceived demographic impact of immigrants in the current 27 member countries of the European Union. Building on previous research, this paper further investigates the cross-country variation in public attitudes about replacement migration. Results from multilevel logit analyses indicate that urban, university-educated, and childless individuals are consistently more likely than others to endorse replacement migration in Europe. Countries with higher economic levels and proportionally fewer foreign-born residents also show more positive attitudes. Such results echo research on anti-immigrant sentiment, suggesting considerable resistance to policies encouraging large-scale immigration. We discuss these findings in light of demographers’ criticism of the concept of replacement migration and alternative long-term strategies.

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Presented in Session 6: Policy issues

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