Immigration Reality vs. Perception / by Timothy Bakken

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Negative rhetoric and scapegoating notwithstanding, the reality is that there are fewer immigrants in the United States than many think. For example, a recent Harvard study of survey data from the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Sweden found that respondents from all six countries mistakenly think immigrants constitute a greater share of the population than then actually do.  In the U.S., for example, immigrants make up less than 15% of the total population but the respondents think immigrants are more than 35% of the total population.  Similar misperceptions apply to religion (people think more immigrants are Muslim than actually are and that fewer immigrants are Christian than actually are); education (people underestimate immigrants’ education levels); poverty rate (overestimate) and use of welfare (overestimate).  The study describes additional facts that highlight how fear-mongering and misinformation, rather than truth, are behind anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric. In addition, the data shows that certain groups, unsurprisingly many of the same ones from which Trump draws much of his support, are more likely to be mistaken about immigration realities that others.  Bottom line, the U.S. is not being flooded with immigrants. Read the full article here.