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Mapping social cohesion: the Scanlon Foundation surveys 2019

Immigration Multiculturalism Social cohesion Public opinion Social issues Australia

This report presents the findings of the twelfth Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion national survey, conducted in July-August 2019. The report builds on the knowledge gained through the eleven earlier national surveys (2007, 2009-18), which provide the context for interpretation. In addition to the national surveys, local area and minority group surveys have been conducted by the Scanlon Foundation, in total twenty-one surveys with close to 50,000 respondents. A prime objective of the survey is to further understanding of the social impact of Australia’s increasingly diverse immigration program.

To our knowledge this is the first major survey on social cohesion conducted simultaneously in interviewer administered and self-administered modes. While the Scanlon Foundation continues to explore a range of survey methodologies, it does so in the knowledge that there is no perfect method for conducting surveys, rather each methodology has advantages and disadvantages.

The 2019 telephone administered survey was conducted from 1 July to 6 August, the panel survey from 8 to 22 July. The survey has grown to comprise 90 questions (65 substantive and 25 demographic), including eighteen questions that are used for calculation of the ScanlonMonash Index of Social Cohesion.

Key findings:

  • 28% of Australians are born overseas, this ranks Australia first within the OECD amongst nations with populations over 10 million.
  • 53% of respondents are of the view that the immigration intake was ‘about right’ or ‘too low’.
  • 85% of respondents agree that multiculturalism has been good for Australia.
  • 63% agree that accepting migrants from different countries makes Australia stronger.
  • 58% of respondents believe that Australian democracy ‘works fine’ or ‘needs minor change.’
  • Trust in the federal government to do the right thing for the Australian people 'almost always' or 'most of the time' is at 30%.
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