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Growing Number of Austrians See Immigration Negatively

Over half of Austrians now view immigration in a negative light, a new poll reveals, as migration pushes the country’s population to a new record high.

Some 58 percent of Austrians see immigration and migration to Austria in negative terms, according to a new survey by Lazarsfeld Society.

It marks an increase of five percent who see it negatively since its last survey.

Only 13 percent of surveyed Austrians see immigration as being a net positive, while 28 percent are neutral.

Most Austrians see immigration in generally negative terms, with over half of both men and women, as well as people aged 30 and above, holding this view. Only 21 percent of people aged 16 to 29 see immigration in Austria as a net positive, compared to 37 percent who see it negatively.

Regionally speaking, attitudes to immigration are most negative in Lower Austria and Burgenland – with 66 percent of Austrian residents there viewing it negatively, compared to 51 percent in Vienna.

Voters for most Austrian political parties generally see immigration negatively – either as a plurality or as a majority. This includes 84 percent of far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) voters and 67 percent of centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) voters.

The trend is also noticeable, if slightly less pronounced, among voters for progressive parties. 37 percent of regular Social Democrat (SPÖ) voters see immigration negatively, compared to 29 percent who see it positively. Roughly the same breakdown exists among voters for the liberal NEOS party.

Only Green voters tend to view immigration positively, with 31 percent having a favourable view of it and 15 percent saying it’s a net negative. A full 55 percent of regular Green voters consider themselves neutral on immigration.

According to the latest Austrian census, 20 percent of the population is now foreign-born, and a full quarter of the working age population. At the same time, around 20 percent of the population is now in retirement age, compared to 11 percent in 2011, with new arrivals roughly balancing out the effects of an aging population on the social insurance system.

Austria’s recorded population hit 9 million for the first time in that census.

Source : The Local Austria

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