• Spain's news in English

Spaniards 'ignorant' on impact of immigration

The Local · 29 Oct 2014, 16:58

Published: 29 Oct 2014 16:58 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

When asked about social topics ranging from teenage birth rates to life expectancy, unemployment and immigration, Spaniards proved to be the fourth 'least ignorant' of the fourteen nationalities surveyed by polling company Ipsos.

But most of their answers were still way off the mark in the "Perils of Perception" survey.

People from eight countries in Europe were questioned as well as Australian, American, Japanese and South Korean respondents.

Swedes, Germans and Japanese people were found to be less ignorant than the Spanish. Italians were found to be most ignorant, followed by people from the US.

The study included the question: "Out of every 100 people, how many do you think are Muslim?"

In Spain, the correct answer is 2 percent, but Spaniards guessed 16 percent. Similarly  huge differences between perception and reality on this subject were seen in most countries, meaning that Spain placed only midway down the table of false perceptions.

Spaniards also guessed that 16 percent of girls in their country between 15 and 19 gave birth each year. The true figure was one percent.

US citizens thought that 24 percent of teenagers fitted into this category, whereas the actual figure there is three percent. 

Spain's actual unemployment figure of 25 percent was over double that of the real rate in the next-highest country, Italy, but nowhere near the perceived figure of 46 per cent.

Spaniards scored best on life expectancy, guessing 82 compared with an actual age of 81.

Other subjects in the poll included the percentage of Christians in the population, the number of immigrants, voter turnout at elections and murder rates.

Bobby Duffy, managing director of Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute, said: “These misperceptions present clear issues for informed public debate and policy-making.

"For example, public priorities may well be different if we had a clearer view of the scale of immigration and the real incidence of teenage mothers.

"People also under-estimate 'positive' behaviours like voting, which may be important if people think it is more 'normal' not to vote than it actually is."

Story continues below…

More than a thousand volunteers aged between 16 and 64 were quizzed in each country by pollsters, except in the US and Canada where all participants were over 18.


For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
jobs available