Public Attitudes toward Young Immigrant Men
by Dalston G. Ward, Washington University in St. Louis
Young men often make up a large share of newly arriving immigrant populations. How this impacts the welcome that immigrants receive from the public is unclear. As young men have the potential to make substantial economic contributions, they may be especially welcome. However, young men may also be viewed as threatening public safety and as unlikely to culturally integrate, reducing the welcome they receive.
The results of a recent survey of 2,100 Germans show that increasing numbers of young men in a group of immigrants reduces their welcome from the public. In the survey, respondents compared groups of immigrants with randomly varying shares of young men, origin countries, and education levels. Groups with many young men were rarely preferred for settlement in respondents’ communities, and further, were more often seen as a security threat and as unlikely to culturally integrate. In contrast, there is no evidence that young men impact assessments of immigrant groups’ economic potential. These findings show the important role that an immigrant population’s demographics can play in relations with host communities.