DATA-SURVEY: Migrant Acceptance Index: A Global Examination of the Relationship Between Interpersonal Contact and Attitudes toward Migrants

John H. Fleming, Neli Esipova, Anita Pugliese, Julie Ray, Rajesh Srinivasan

Abstract

Using independently sampled Gallup World Poll survey data from 140 countries, we explored the relationship between interpersonal contact and attitudes toward migrants from a perspective not typically found in the social psychological literature. We hypothesized that respondents who report personally knowing a migrant living in their home country would be more accepting of migrants generally (using a three-item Migrant Acceptance Index (MAI) score) than respondents who do not know a migrant. Results supported our hypothesis in 134 of the 140 countries suggesting that the strong relationship between interpersonal contact and attitudes toward migrants is near-universal. We also quantified migrant acceptance at the country level, finding a wide spectrum of attitudes toward migrants. Low acceptance countries were located primarily in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and high acceptance countries were located in Northern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. We discuss these results in the context of interpersonal contact theory (Allport, 1954) and the larger context of global migration.

Keywords

migrant acceptance; attitudes; interpersonal contact; Gallup World Poll

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