Brits have ‘wrong’ perception of immigration

A new survey shows that British people hold huge misconceptions on numerous key social issues, including immigration.

Immigration in the UK

Immigration in the UK

The poll, carried out by the Royal Statistical Society alongside Kings College London, shows that the British public believe that 31 per cent of the UK’s population is made up of recent immigrants when the actual figure is only around 13 per cent – it’s only 15 per cent even when illegal immigrants are included in the data.

What’s more, Brits believe that black and Asian people make up around 30 per cent of the UK’s population, when the figure is actually closer to 11 per cent.

Crime, teen pregnancy and benefit frauds were other areas where British people’s perceptions were found to be significantly out of line with the facts.

Hetan Shah, executive director of the Royal Statistical Society, said: “Our data poses real challenges for policymakers. How can you develop good policy when public perceptions can be so out of kilter with the evidence?

“We need to see three things happen. First, politicians need to be better at talking about the real state of affairs of the country, rather than spinning the numbers. Secondly, the media has to try and genuinely illuminate issues, rather than use statistics to sensationalise. And finally we need better teaching of statistical literacy in schools, so that people get more comfortable in understanding evidence.”

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