The Contribution of Immigrants to Urban Economies: Exploring Citizens' Opinions in Athens, Greece
Keywords:Immigrants, Urban economy, Integration, Acceptance, Southern Europe
Migration processes pose important social problems and demand appropriate integration policies. With this perspective in mind, the present study investigates native residents’ opinion on the contribution of immigrants to urban economy in Athens, Greece, using a self-reported questionnaire submitted to a convenience sample of 446 native residents 18+ years old. In spite of the current economic crisis, mixed responses were recorded about the extent Greek government should allow new immigrants to come, live and work in the country. Conversely, citizens’ opinions were rather homogeneous and negative when speaking about the state benefits granted to immigrants. Respondents who believe that, in the near future, a high (and possibly increasing) number of immigrants should be allowed to live, and work in Greece, demonstrated to be fully aware of the importance of integration policies. By contrast, in line with the ‘secular’ role of families permeating the Greek society, married people were more inclined to refuse any policy of immigrants’ integration compared to single people. Future research should emphasize how institutions, national/local policies, and contextual aspects including ethnic networks, social capital, and labor market conditions, may influence immigrant integration in traditional, Mediterranean societies.
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CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0