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Exploring Canada’s changing public attitudes towards immigration (IMMIGRATEFUL)

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The project aims to understand the factors shaping public views on immigration from 1998 to 2021 in Canada. Unlike in many other western countries, public attitudes towards immigration in Canada has grown more positive over the past three decades. The public attitude towards immigration was examined from the immigration policy perspective. There are significant differences in atttitudes among the population groups depending on education levels, age, political orientation and other factors. Our analysis helps to explain when, how and why different factors influence public attitudes and sheds light on the trends in public opinion in Canada.

  1. How have public attitudes towards immigration in Canada grown more positive in the last 20 years?
  2. What are the main factors that explain public attitudes towards immigration in Canada? How have these factors and their impacts on public attitudes towards immigration evolved?
  3. Did the 2008-2010 financial crisis affect public support for immigration? Which group’s attitudes towards immigration were more resistant to the financial crisis?
  4. Can the shifts in attitudes be accounted for by the change in population characteristics or the change in the effect of these characteristics?

Canadian attitudes towards immigration are unique and atypical relative to many other developed nations. Although several studies in the existing literature examine the factors that affect the attitudes towards immigration in Canada, we know little about what accounts for the shift in attitudes over the years. Moreover, while the attitudes towards immigration have become more positive over the last three decades in Canada, this trend is not immune to changes in economic conditions, such as the 2008-2010 financial crisis. This project investigates the factors that determine positive attitudes across the years and the dynamics of the shift in opinions towards immigration before, during, and after the financial crisis.

The project uses quantitative methods (binomial logistic regression and decomposition analyses). We analyzed the Environics Institute’s Focus Canada Survey data between 1998 and 2021. Specifically, we examined the impact of age, political orientation, gender, education level, immigration status, region (province), and perceptions of current Canadian economic conditions on public attitudes towards immigration. 

The project was completed March 2022

CERC Migration

immigration, public opinion, survey, multivariate decomposition analysis, attitudes, Canada