A survey of 12 countries by the Pew Research Center found strong public support to welcome immigrants into their country including in the U.S., but only if they are highly skilled.
The results of this survey, which the nonpartisan think tank conducted last spring, indicates the support for merit-based immigration in the U.S.
Who Is More Welcoming?
About eight in ten adults in the U.S.—or 78%—support encouraging highly skilled foreign nationals to come and work in the U.S. Of those surveyed, five countries—Sweden, the UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia exceeded those in the U.S. in their level of support for high skilled immigrants.
Only in Israel (42%) and Italy (35%) do less than half of those surveyed support high-skilled immigration.
Younger adults, more highly educated adults, and adults with higher incomes in the 12 countries Pew surveyed tended to support welcoming highly skilled people to immigrate to their countries.
More than one-third of those who immigrate to the U.S. earned a college degree. That’s lower than those who immigrate to Canada (65%), Australia (63%), the U.K. (49%), Israel (49%), and Sweden (41%). Still, the U.S. is home to the largest population of college-educated immigrants among the 12 countries Pew Research surveyed.
About 14.7 million immigrants age 25 and older with a postsecondary diploma or college degree lived in the U.S. as of 2015. That’s more than three times the number in Canada (4.4 million) and about four times as many as in the U.K. (3.4 million).
Most immigrants to the U.S. from India (80%) have a postsecondary education, according to the Pew Research Center. More than half of the immigrants to the U.S. from China do. Many sub-Saharan African immigrants in the U.S. are highly educated, often exceeding the average education levels in the U.S. Most of the individuals who immigrate to the U.S. from sub-Saharan African com from Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya.
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