26 October 2017 – Scanlon Foundation response to TAPRI report

26 October 2017 – Scanlon Foundation response to TAPRI report

The Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion report has been referenced in The Australian Population Research Institute, Research Report, released today.

Some questions were raised about the difference between the two surveys.

The Scanlon Foundation’s annual Mapping Social Cohesion survey has been running for ten years, employing a robust methodology to chart public opinion on a broad range of issues affecting social cohesion. These include our sense of belonging, immigration, multiculturalism, discrimination, and political trust.

The survey includes a random, representative sample of the Australian population, including people born natively and overseas. It is the largest study of its kind with a collective sample of more than 35,000 people since 2007.

The research is apolitical and questioning is neutral.

The research employs consistent question wording to enable changes of opinion to be tracked over time.  For example, its key question on attitudes to the immigration intake has been used in Australian surveying for more than 50 years.

There is consistency in the findings of the Scanlon Foundation surveys alongside other research sources. For example:

The Australian Election Study, conducted by Australian National University Researchers after federal elections, found that in 2016 the proportion of the population that agreed with the proposition that ‘the number of migrants allowed into Australia has gone too far’ was at 40%, down from 52% in 2010.

The 2017 Lowy Institute Poll asked ‘Do you personally think that the total of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high, too low, or about right?’ 40% of respondents responded ‘too high’ (up from 37% in 2014), while 53% responded ‘about right’ or ‘too low’.

The method of surveying adopted employs a rigorous random sample of the population – not a sample of an opt-in commercial panel.

Results from the 2016 Mapping Social Cohesion report include:

The biggest predictor of acceptance of immigration and cultural diversity is age, followed by the level of completed education and financial status. Strong rejection of immigration and cultural diversity was around 7% among those aged 18-44 years and 4% among those with a Bachelor or higher level qualification, compared with 22% of those over 65 years of age and 22% of those whose highest level of education is up to Year 11.

Support for multiculturalism remains high at 83%, and the strongest positive association of multiculturalism is with its contribution to economic development.

Sense of belonging in Australia remains high at 91%, but is lower than the 94%-96% reported between 2007-2012.

Just 34% considered that the immigration intake was ‘too high’, the lowest recorded in the Scanlon Foundation surveys.

The 2017 Scanlon Foundation findings will be released on 29 November.