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German attitudes towards asylum seekers increasingly hostile: Report

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German attitudes towards asylum seekers increasingly hostile: Report
Asylum seekers at a Bavarian processing centre. Picture: DPA
15:56 CEST+02:00
A new study into German attitudes about asylum seekers has shown an increase in negative opinions – despite a significant decrease in refugee arrivals.

The study showed that more than 50 percent view asylum seekers negatively. It also found that right-wing attitudes were as prevalent in the younger generation as in older generations. 

However, the report also showed that an increase in intolerance was not universal. Those surveyed showed more tolerant attitudes towards LGBT people and the homeless, while they viewed sexism more negatively than in previous studies.  

Changing attitudes

The study, carried out by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (Foundation), has been conducted since 2002. The percentage of negative opinion is higher now than it was at the peak of the migration crisis in 2015 and 2016.  

In 2014, around 44 percent of those surveyed held negative views of asylum seekers – ten percentage points below the current figure of 54.1 percent. 

In 2016, 49.6 percent of those surveyed indicated negative attitudes to asylum seekers. 

The number of registered asylum seekers arriving in Germany has decreased significantly since a peak of approximately 900,000 in 2015. The figures show just under 300,000 arrivals in 2016, and under 200,000 arrivals in 2017. 

Differences in the former east and west

The study found different attitudes among those surveyed between the former east and the west. Just under two out of three (63 percent) of those surveyed in the east held a negative view of asylum seekers, compared with 51 percent in the former west. 

As The Local covered throughout 2018, attacks against asylum seekers and people of ‘foreign' appearance have been frequent throughout much of the former communist east. 

SEE ALSO: Hooligans ‘attack migrants' in Chemnitz after stabbing at city festival 

SEE ALSO: German far-right wants to 'reclaim' Chemnitz after fatal stabbing

SEE ALSO: How Chemnitz is showing there's more to eastern Germany than far-right extremism 

A widespread increase in intolerance? 

Not all of the study's findings showed that universal intolerance was on the rise in Germany, however. Negative attitudes towards the homeless and LGBT people have declined, while respondents also indicated they were more likely to reject sexist attitudes than in the past. 

In 2016 almost one in five of those surveyed had negative attitudes towards homeless people, however that number now stands at 11 percent. 

In total, eight percent of those surveyed had negative attitudes towards gay and lesbian people, down from 10 percent in 2016. 

The study took into account 1,890 members of the public contacted by telephone between September 2018 and February 2019. 

 
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