Immigration activists rally in New York City against policies of the Trump administration. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 9 (UPI) -- With immigration a more divisive issue now than it's been in years, a new study says most people worldwide view their communities as a "good place" for migrants to live -- but those opinions vary greatly among all parts of the world.
Pollster Gallup said 54 percent of respondents it surveyed in 143 nations last year view their communities as migrant-friendly. That figure is up from 47 percent at the start of the decade, in 2010.
The study said, however, those views are met with decidedly opposite feelings in some regions -- particularly the European Union, where sentiments range greatly among all 28 member states.
East Central and Southeast Europe recorded the greatest decline -- 7 percent -- as those regions continue to see large numbers of immigrants from North Africa. Southeast Asia recorded the lowest favorability rating.
North America didn't see much change from the 2010 and 2018 surveys, whereas 80 percent and 79 percent, respectively, answered favorably. The high North American figure is due, in large part, to sentiments in Canada, where 90 percent said their community is migrant-friendly, the highest share of any nation in the poll. Seventy-eight percent of respondents in the United States answered that way.
Other nations that view themselves as friendly to migrants are New Zealand (89 percent), Norway (88 percent), Australia, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates (87 percent), Denmark and Ireland (84 percent) and Luxembourg (83 percent).
"The countries or areas at the top of the list ... tend to be wealthier nations and notably, many of them are historically top-receiving countries for migrants," the Gallup report said.
Nations that expressed the lowest migrant-friendly attitudes were Hungary, where just 17 percent answered favorably, Cambodia (20 percent), Malaysia and Bulgaria (24 percent), and Turkmenistan and Latvia (26 percent).
Views in Hungary shifted the most, down 36 percent, since 2010.
Gallup polled about 1,000 persons in each country for the survey, which has a margin of error of between 2 and 5 points.