Immigration: are you more clued-up than British public?

by Stephen Tall on November 3, 2014

immigrationHere’s your starter for three:

People sometimes talk about ‘net immigration’, meaning the difference between the number of people coming to Britain each year to live, and the number leaving Britain to live in another country. What do you think is the current level of net immigration into Britain? If you are not sure, please give your best guess.

More than two million a year
Between one and two million a year
Between 500,000 and one million a year
Between 400,000 and 500,000 a year
Between 300,000 and 400,000 a year
Between 200,000 and 300,000 a year
Between 100,000 and 200,000 a year
Between 50,000 and 100,000 a year
Less than 50,000 a year

And what do you think is the current level of ‘net immigration’ just from the rest of the European Union? If you are not sure, please give your best guess.

More than two million a year
Between one and two million a year
Between 500,000 and one million a year
Between 400,000 and 500,000 a year
Between 300,000 and 400,000 a year
Between 200,000 and 300,000 a year
Between 100,000 and 200,000 a year
Between 50,000 and 100,000 a year
Less than 50,000 a year

According to official statistics, around 2.3 million people living in Britain are immigrants from the rest of the European Union. How many of them do you think are currently claiming the main unemployment benefit, the Job seekers Allowance? If you are not sure, please give your best guess.

Fewer than 100,000
100,000-200,000
200,000-300,000
300,000-400,000
400,000-500,000
500,000-600,000
600,000-700,000
700,000-800,000
800,000-900,000
900,000 – one million
More than one million

And the correct answers are… (courtesy YouGov’s Peter Kellner)

Number of immigrants coming to UK each year: 200-300,000.
Only 15% of the British public had the figure in the right range, with 40% overstating the true figure and 25% under-stating it.

Number of immigrants from EU: 100-200,000.
Only 14% of the British public had the figure in the right range, with 41% overstating it and 22% understating it.

Number of immigrants from the EU claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance: c.60,000 (about 3%).
The median answer from the British public was 300,000, or five times the true figure. Among Ukip supporters, the median is 500,000.

How did you do?

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.