An NBC News-The Wall Street Journal poll found that more than three-quarters of Democrats, but less than one-third of Republicans, feel comfortable with societal changes that have made the country more diverse.
Democrats, only 29 percent of whom are white and Christian anymore, embrace ethnic and religious diversity as central to the American idea. Republicans, nearly three quarters of whom are white and Christian, see these changes as eroding what they believe America to be about.
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump’s supporters worry the most. The Pew Research Center found (PDF) that only 39 percent of them agree diversity makes America stronger.
Analysis of post-election survey data by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found that 79 percent of Americans who agree with the statement “Things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country” voted for Trump. Read more
American Views on Immigration Are Still Very Liberal
Despite the election of a nativist for president, America’s views on immigration are still remarkably liberal, an NBC News poll by SurveyMonkey has found (PDF).
57 percent of Americans believe immigration helps the country more than it hurts. 38 percent believe it hurts more than it helps.
Asked about the impact of immigration on their own communities, 75 percent say it has either made no difference or made their communities better. Only 22 percent say it has made their communities worse. Read more
Joseph Heath, a professor at the University of Toronto, sees five reasons why Canada has been more successful at integrating migrants than Europe and the United States:
Very little illegal immigration. This helps explain the difference in attitudes with the United States but not with Western Europe, where illegal immigration is also low.
A political system that encourages moderation. I think this has more to do with political culture than the system. Heath argues that first-past-the-post makes it difficult for nativists to prevail. Parties need to appeal to the center. But it doesn’t stop nativists from influencing the mainstream right, as they did in the United Kingdom. To stem defections to UKIP that could split the right-wing vote and allow Labour to sneak into first place, the Conservatives felt they had to become more insular. And clearly in a two-party system, like America’s, nativists can come out on top.
Immigrants are part of larger nation-building project. Immigrants ended up strengthening Canadians’ sense of nationhood because, unlike the First Nations, Westerners and Quebecers, they embraced national symbols. Persuasive, but it’s hard to see how other countries could mimic this.
Protection of majority culture clear from the start. This is rooted in Canada’s unique history but could be a lesson to others. Heath argues that the need to appease Quebecers led to equal cultural and language protections for the English and French, as a result of which the majority felt unthreatened by newcomers.
Bringing people in from all over. I think this is the key. There is no “majority minority” in Canada. Heath reports that, in a typical year, no group makes up more than 15 percent of the total number of immigrants. Hence no parallel societies could emerge in Canada, like the predominantly Muslim banlieues of Paris, immigrant-heavy neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Latino districts in major cities across the United States. Their existence hinders assimilation and makes visible the threat immigrants pose to the dominant culture. Read more
Finland’s Brain Drain: When Talent Leaves a Small Country
Young Finnish professionals are attracted to major European capitals. They move to Stockholm, Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as farther away. The sun shines in Dubai; the world’s top organizations and institutes are in New York and Washington. The occupations of these migrants are manifold: bankers, graphic designers, computer engineers, photographers and researchers, to name only a few.
They leave Finland because of poor employment opportunities and future prospects. This has been happening for a long time. Finns were moving to North America 100 years ago and to Sweden after World War II — in both cases because growing economies needed factory workers.
The difference with today’s migrants is they are better educated (PDF) and leaving a welfare state that ranks as one of the best places to live in the world according to most indices. The likelihood of them returning has nevertheless fallen sharply. Why? Read more
Merkel’s Plan Strong on Taxes and Spending, Disappointing on Migration
German chancellor Angela Merkel’s party promises long-overdue investments in its election manifesto, but a plan for attracting high-skilled migrants is unconvincing.
The Christian Democrats, who are projected to win the most votes in September’s election, pledge to sustain recent increases in spending on digitalization and infrastructure and raise spending on research and development from 3 to 3.5 percent of the economy.
German public investment has languished for years as the Christian Democrats prioritized deficit reduction. The Dutch and Swedes invest twice as much in everything from electricity grids to roads. Read more