Migration: Italy

Research Report: Attitudes towards migrants, refugees and national identity in Italy

SCI commissioned this report in conjunction with More in Common to provide the first of its kind of information on how Italians understand and feel about migration.

“Most Italians do not embrace extremist attitudes towards migrants themselves, despite deep concerns about the management and impacts of migration.”

This headline finding runs counter to the prevailing Italian public narrative on migration articulated by current political leaders and the media; pointing out the divide between that narrative and what the majority of Italians truly feel.

SCI believes that this report represents an opportunity to craft a more accurate and positive story of how Italians understand and respond to migration. We are working with civil society organizations, NGOs, the Catholic Church and others to translate this report’s findings and recommendations into real action.

Download Exec Summary (English)

Download Full Report (English)

Download Exec Summary (Italian)

Download Full Report (Italian)

Additional Top Findings:

  • The Italian population coalesces into seven distinct opinion segments – two segments have open and welcoming views (28%), two segments have closed views (24%) and three segments (48%) have conflicting views. However, each individual segment is motivated by unique perspectives and combinations of values.
  • The vast majority of Italians (72%) support the principle of asylum and believe that people should be able to take refuge in other countries, including Italy.
  • Religious identity is important to Italians, and for almost half of the Italian population their country’s Catholic heritage influences their belief that they have a responsibility to others, including migrants and refugees.


Additional Top Recommendations:

  • There is a large and potentially receptive audience for a more inclusive narrative of Italian identity that should affirm welcoming values as a core element of Italian civic identity.
  • Communications efforts should mostly focus on the groups with least polarised views – the 48% in the middle.
  • The most open and welcoming groups (Italian Cosmopolitans and Catholic Humanitarians in the report) should be the target audience for mobilisation efforts, rather than the target audience for communications.

The research, polling and focus groups were conducted by Ipsos Italia in partnership with More In Common.

SCI commissioned additional reports on France, Germany, Ireland and Greece and provided some support to an analogous survey in the Netherlands. More In Common plan to release a summary report of the Netherlands survey later this year. More In Common conducted a similar report in the United States.

Research of this nature has been undertaken by Hope not Hate and others, in England and Wales. SCI commissioned a survey in Northern Ireland in 2019 and will release the findings in early 2020. 

Additional Resources

Fears and Hopes in a Time of Growing Nationalism – Frederico Quadrelli Research Fellow, CILD

Report Overview:
A timely and important report on Italian’s attitudes to an open society. The report reveals that although the term open society has little traction in Italy, most Italians do support open society values.

Read the report here.

The report is part of a wider study – Voices on Values: How European publics and policy actors value an open society.



Connect with our Partners