Ignorance in a Context of Tolerance: Misperceptions about Immigrants in Canada


  • Daniel Herda Merrimack College




Immigration, Misperceptions, Canada, Innumeracy, Undocumented Immigrants


Misperceptions about immigrants are pervasive and have piqued the interest of social researchers given their links to greater intergroup hostility. However, this phenomenon is rarely considered in Canada, with its reputation as a particularly welcoming context. The current study simultaneously considers two such misperceptions: over-estimation of the immigrant population size and mischaracterizations of the typical immigrant’s legal status. This research examines their extent and correlates, as well as consequences for five anti-immigrant policies. Results indicate that legal status mischaracterizations, though rare, are more consequential than population over-estimates. Overall, misperceptions exist in Canada, but not all are equally consequential.


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Author Biography

Daniel Herda, Merrimack College

Daniel Herda is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California – Davis in 2013 and specializes in race/ethnicity, immigration, and social psychology. His work has appeared in Public Opinion Quarterly, Social Forces, Social Science Research, Sociological Perspectives, and Ethnic and Racial Studies. His current research examines misperceptions about the size and characteristics of immigrant populations in Europe and North America. His work also investigates the extent and consequences of experienced and anticipated interpersonal discrimination.


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How to Cite

Herda, D. (2020). Ignorance in a Context of Tolerance: Misperceptions about Immigrants in Canada. Migration Letters, 17(3), 411–424. https://doi.org/10.33182/ml.v17i3.816