Sabrina J. Mayer, Christoph Nguyen, Jörg Dollmann, Susanne Veit
The hidden majority/minority consensus: Minorities show similar preference patterns of immigrant support as the majority population

The British Journal of Sociology, 2023: 74, Heft 4, S. 711-716
ISSN: 0007-1315 (print), 1468-4446 (online)

The acceptance of new arrivals has become an important topic regarding the social cohesion of the receiving countries. However, previous studies focused only on the native population's drivers of attitudes towards immigrants, disregarding that immigrant-origin inhabitants now form a considerable part of the population. To test whether the drivers for the willingness to support immigrants are the same for natives and immigrants and their descendants, we rely on a vignette study conducted in a representative German online panel (N = 3149) which contains an overrepresentation of immigrant-origin respondents. We presented participants with three vignettes of potential immigrants, varying, amongst other factors, economic prospects, safe and war-ridden countries of origin (to capture deservingness), as well as religious identity. While we find that minority members are generally slightly more welcoming towards immigrants than majority members, at their core are the same factors that drive attitudes to immigrants in both groups: economic cost, cultural similarity, and deservingness. However, we observe differences at the margins: Immigrant-origin respondents take into account economic prospects to a lesser degree than majority members do, and by trend, they are less likely to distinguish between immigrants from war-ridden and safe countries of origin. Furthermore, we can show that the preference for immigrants with the same religious identities not only occurs among majority members but also among minority members.