Polling data on migration explores questions on issues such as:
- People’s desire to migrate, including the details of the source and target countries.
- The experiences and attitudes of migrants themselves.
- The experiences and attitudes of people with respect to immigrants in their midst.
- The experiences and attitudes of the family/friends of emigrants with respect to emigrants.
Key sources of polling data:
People’s desire to migrate, including the details of the source and target countries
Gallup polls have asked people if they would move to other countries if they were allowed to do so. Some of the major polls and their findings are discussed below.
- 700 Million Worldwide Desire to Migrate Permanently: U.S. tops desired destination countries by Neli Esipova and Julie Ray. The Gallup poll surveyed 259,942 adults in 135 countries from 2007 to 2009. The countries together house 93% of the world population.
- International Migration Desires Show Signs of Cooling: U.S. still top desired destination by Neli Esipova and Julie Ray, a follow-up that showed that by 2010, the number of people desiring to migrate had dropped to 630 million from the original 700 million in 2007.
- More Adults Would Move for Temporary Work Than Permanently: About 1.1 billion worldwide would move for temporary work by Julie Ray and Neli Esipova. The Gallup poll surveyed 141,000 adults in 119 countries between 2009 and 2010.
- Nearly 50 Million Worldwide Planning to Migrate Soon: Those working at capacity, professionals most likely prepping to leave by Neli Esipova and Julie Ray.
- More Than 100 Million Worldwide Dream of a Life in the U.S. by Jon Clifton. This is a follow-up to the preceding polls and covers the 2010-2012 period. The total number estimated to want to move to the US according to this survey is 138 million.
A Reader’s Digest poll asked people whether they would move if economic and political barriers were non-existent, and found substantially higher numbers than the Gallup poll. The methodology of the Reader’s Digest poll is less clear, but it is a valuable data point for the question it asked, which is different from Gallup’s question.
The Reader’s Digest poll was discussed in a blog post A question related to open immigration policy by Eugene Volokh and further discussed in an Open Borders Action Group post by Carl Shulman linking to Volokh’s blog post.
Experiences and attitudes of people with respect to immigrants in their midst
- World Values Survey data, discussed in Nathan Smith’s blog post who favors open borders?
- Transatlantic Trends: Immigration 2011.
- Assessing Globalization, a Pew Global poll conducted in 2008, which found that people in 44 of 47 countries surveyed wanted more restrictions on immigration.
List of multiple polls in the United States:
Gallup polls in the United States:
- Americans More Pro-Immigration Than in Past: Record-low 35% want flow decreased; support for increasing it now 23%, blogged about by David Bier at Open Borders in the blog post Gallup: Record Opposition to Closed Borders.
- Americans’ Immigration Concerns Linger by Lymari Morales for Gallup (released January 2012): Nearly two out of three Americans (64%) are dissatisfied with the level of immigration into the country, down slightly from 72% in January 2008. About one in four (28%) are satisfied.
- Americans’ Views on Immigration Holding Steady by Jeffrey M. Jones for Gallup (released June 2011): Americans in 2011 continue to show a slight preference for lower immigration levels over keeping the levels the same, while a much smaller percentage favors increased immigration. These views are similar to what Gallup found last year and are fairly typical of what it has measured since 2002.
- Americans Value Both Aspects of Immigration Reform: Strengthening the border and dealing with illegals already here both have appeal by Lydia Saad for Gallup (released May 2010).
Pew polls in the United States:
- Illegal Immigration: Gaps Between and Within Parties: Public Split Over In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants released December 6, 2011.