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CIVIC AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

HIGHLIGHTS

Most immigrants want to vote

(often as much as nationals do)

WOULD YOU VOTE IF THERE WAS A GENERAL

ELECTION TOMORROW?

 

What percentage answered yes to the hypothetical question of whether they would vote if there was a general election tomorrow? Non-EU citizens were also asked whether they would vote if they could.

 

In Spanish, Portuguese and French cities, interest in voting is as high among surveyed non-EU immigrants as it was among the general population when asked for the 2008 European Values Study (85%, 72% and 90% respectively).

 

Seventy to 80 per cent of surveyed immigrants show interest in voting, though slightly less than the general population, in Italian cities and Belgian cities (where voting is mandatory). Smaller majorities are interested in Budapest (63%).

 

 

The majorities in favour were slightly larger among naturalised immigrants in Italian and Portuguese cities and much larger in Budapest and Belgian cities.

 

Interest was high among both naturalised and non-naturalised immigrants in French and Spanish cities.

 

Most immigrants want more diversity in politics and many are willing to vote in support of it.

DO YOU THINK WE NEED MORE MPs WITH AN IMMIGRANT BACKGROUND?

 

Most immigrants want more diversity in politics – and many would even use their vote to encourage it.

 

Surveyed immigrants were asked a question from the 2006 Eurobarometer on Discrimination in the EU about whether they think that their country definitely or probably needed more Members of Parliament (MPs) with an immigrant background.

 

WHY DO YOU WANT MORE MPs WITH AN

IMMIGRANT BACKGROUND?

 

When asked why, 80 to 95% answered that MPs with an immigrant background would better understand them, better represent them, and would be symbolically important for the country.

 

Sixty to 92 per cent even said that they would be more likely to vote for diverse candidates. Support for immigrants as candidates was just as high among naturalised immigrants, including likely voters (those who would vote in an election tomorrow).

 

The cities where support for these specific arguments was the lowest were in Germany. There, for instance, only a minority of surveyed immigrants would vote for MPs with an immigrant background (not taking into account their political views) just to increase ethnic diversity in the Bundestag.

 

ARE YOU A MEMBER OF A TRADE UNION OR A POLITICAL PARTY OR GROUP?

 

Immigrants’ self-reported participation in political and civic organisations is uneven, varying from city to city and organisation to organisation.

 

The city results for surveyed immigrants are compared with the national results for the general population from the European Values Study (2008).

 

Often, fewer immigrants report that they are members of these types of organisations.

 

In a few cities, just as many (or even more) report that they are members than the general population in the country.

 

Immigrants’ broader participation in civic life is uneven from city to city  and organisation to organisation.

KNOWLEDGE AND MEMBERSHIP OF

ORGANISATIONS

 

Immigrants’ relationship with immigrant organisations also varies significantly from country to country and city to city.

 

Surveyed immigrants said that they knew of or participated in an immigrant or ethnic organisation (broadly defined as group in support of immigrants’ social, cultural, or political interests).

 

Not many more immigrants were members of an immigrant organisation than of trade unions or political organisations. Generally, membership of immigrant organisations was not significantly higher across most ICS cities.

 

Whether immigrants know or participate in an immigrant NGO depends heavily on their local and national context.