Global Citizenship A Growing Sentiment Among Citizens Of Emerging Economies: Global Poll


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27 April 2016 – For the first time in 15 years of tracking by GlobeScan, findings indicate that nearly one in two people (49%) surveyed across 14 tracking countries see themselves more as global citizens than citizens of their country. This sentiment is being driven by citizens of large emerging economies, according to a new poll for the BBC World Service.
The poll, conducted by GlobeScan among more than 20,000 people worldwide between December 2015 and April 2016, is being released as part of the BBC World Service Identity Season—a Spring season of broadcasts on the World Service’s 27 language services exploring stories about how people identify themselves around the world.
Among all 18 countries where this question was asked in 2016, the poll suggests more than half (51%) see themselves more as global citizens than citizens of their country, against 43 per cent who identify nationally. This is the first time since tracking began in 2001 that there is a global majority who leans this way, and the results in 2016 are driven by strong increases since 2015 in non-OECD countries including Nigeria (73%, up 13 points), China (71%, up 14 points), Peru (70%, up 27 points), and India (67%, up 13 points).
Looking at the 14 tracking countries that have been surveyed repeatedly since 2001, a growing divide appears on the topic of global citizenship between respondents from developing economies and those from industrialised countries. At the height of the financial crisis in 2009, views were fairly similar across the two country groupings, with 48 per cent in seven OECD countries seeing themselves more as global citizens than national, and 45 per cent in seven non-OECD countries. This sentiment has continued to grow at a strong pace since then among respondents in emerging economies to reach a high of 56 per cent in both 2015 and 2016. Conversely in seven OECD countries it has followed an opposite trajectory, dropping to a low of 39 per cent in 2011 and remaining at low levels since (now at 42%). This latter trend has been particularly pronounced in Germany where the poll suggests identification with global citizenship has dropped 13 points since 2009 to only 30 per cent today (the lowest since 2001).
The poll also asked about the level of approval for different demographic developments changing the population make-up of their country, and results indicate public opinion is generally quite supportive of a number of trends shaping global society. In the 19 countries surveyed for this series of questions, three quarters (75%) of respondents approve of intermarriage between different races or ethnic groups, and more than six in ten (63%) approve of immigration from other countries (with 31% disapproving). Similar degrees of openness are observed on accepting refugees, with 62 and 57 per cent respectively supporting their country admitting refugees fleeing conflict generally, and from Syria in particular. On all of these statements, German attitudes stand out due to the unusually high percentage of respondents choosing “neither agree nor disagree,” or that it “depends.” A majority of Germans (54%) nonetheless approves the acceptance of Syrian refugees.
GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented: “The poll’s finding that growing majorities of people in emerging economies identify as global citizens will challenge many people’s (and organisations’) ideas of what the future might look like.”

Other Findings

An additional question on the poll gave respondents a broader range of options to reflect on how they consider their identity. Results reveal the complexity of the issue and show how people can identify in different ways.
When offered a choice between five distinct identities, more than one in two citizens (52%) across 19 countries define their most important identity as citizens of their country, outnumbering those who view themselves as being a world citizen (17%), a resident of their local community (11%), or who identify themselves primarily through their religion (9%), or their race or culture (8%). Out of 19 countries, majorities or strong pluralities in 16 countries describe being a national citizen as the most important feature of their identity. National citizenship is the strongest in Kenya (84%) and Ghana (81%), followed by Russia (70%), Nigeria (68%), and Chile (64%).
Three countries stand out in the way their populations think about self-identity. Spaniards are by far the most likely to identify with world citizenship (54%). For 56 per cent of Indonesians, belonging to their local community is the strongest defining identity. And for Pakistanis, a strong plurality (43%) identify first as a member of their religion.
The results are drawn from a telephone and in-person survey of 20,823 adult citizens across 21 participating countries in total. Not all questions were asked in all countries. The poll was conducted for the BBC World Service between December 2, 2015 and April 15, 2016 by the international opinion research and consultancy firm GlobeScan and its national research partners. Within-country results are considered accurate within +/- 2.8 to 3.7 per cent 19 times out of 20. Urban-only samples were used in Brazil, China, Indonesia, and Kenya.


For participating countries and detaild findings, see below. For full methodology, question wording, and research partners, please see the drop-down links at the bottom of this article.

Participating Countries

Urban-only samples were used in Brazil, China, Indonesia, and Kenya.

Detailed Findings

Media Contacts

For media interviews, please contact:

About BBC World Service

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster, delivering a wide range of language and regional services on radio, TV, online and via wireless handheld devices. It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 166 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels. Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate. BBC World Service offers its multilingual radio content to partner FM stations around the world and has numerous partnerships supplying content to news websites, mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices as well as TV channels. For more information, visit


In total 20,823 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the UK, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between December 2, 2015 and April 15, 2016. Polling was conducted by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country.
In Brazil, China, Indonesia, and Kenya, urban samples were used. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 2.8 to 3.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Sample Size (unweighted)
Field dates
Sample frame
Survey methodology
Type of sample
Australia 802 February 29 – March 21, 2016 18+ Telephone National
Brazil 804 January 25 – February 12, 2016 18-69 Face-to-face Urban1
Canada 1020 March 7–24, 2016 18+ Telephone National
Chile 1200 December 2, 2015 – January 5, 2016 18+ Face-to-face National
China 1055 April 2–15, 2016 18+ Telephone Urban2
France 1055 February 22 – March 3, 2016 18+ Telephone National
Germany 1001 February 4–18, 2016 16-70 Telephone National
Ghana 1053 March 16 – April 12, 2016 18-65 Face-to-face National
Greece 704 March 16–28, 2016 18+ Telephone National
India 1269 March 15–30, 2016 18+ Face-to-face National
Indonesia 1000 March 12–26, 2016 18+ Face-to-face Urban3
Kenya 1010 March 4–20, 2016 18+ Face-to-face Urban4
Mexico 999 March 18–22, 2016 18+ Face-to-face National
Nigeria 800 March 9–24, 2016 18+ Face-to-face National
Pakistan 1000 February 19 – March 5, 2016 18+ Face-to-face National
Peru 1205 March 14–27, 2016 18-70 Face-to-face National
Russia 1020 March 9–21, 2016 18+ Face-to-face National
South Korea 1000 March 20–24, 2016 19+ Telephone National
Spain 815 February 29 – March 29, 2016 18+ Telephone National
United Kingdom 1005 February 22 – March 13, 2016 18+ Telephone National
USA 1006 February 29 – March 13, 2016 18+ Telephone National
  1. In Brazil the survey was conducted in Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Curitiba, Goiânia, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Paulo, representing 23 per cent of the national adult population.
  2. In China the survey was conducted in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Harbin, Hefei, Kunming, Nanning, Shanghai, Shenyang, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xi’an, Xining, Zhengzhou representing 14 per cent of the national adult population.
  3. In Indonesia the survey was conducted in Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, and Surabaya, representing 27 per cent of the national adult population.
  4. In Kenya, the survey was conducted in seven out of the eight former administrative provinces targeting the 45 per cent of the adult population in urban and mixed settlements. The survey sample included urban populations in 30 counties representing 64 per cent of all counties. The counties included in the sample were: Bungoma, Busia, Embu, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kisumu, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Machakos, Marsabit, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Narok, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga.

Research Partners

Country Research Institute Location Contact
Australia GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
Brazil Market Analysis Florianopolis Fabián Echegaray
+55 48 3364 0000
Canada GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
Chile Mori Chile Santiago Marta Lagos
+56 2334 4544
China GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
France Efficience 3 Paris and Rheims Thierry Laurain
+33 1 4316 5442
Germany Ri*QUESTA GmbH Teningen Bernhard Rieder
+49 7641 93 43 36
Greece MRB Hellas Athens Vivian Antonopoulou
+30210 6971000 /+306944 414756
Ghana Business Interactive Consulting Limited Accra Razaaque Animashaun
+233 302 783140 / +233 302 782892
India Team C Voter Noida Yashwant Deshmukh
+91 120 424 7135
Indonesia DEKA Marketing Research Jakarta Ratna Mulia Darmawan
+62 21 723 6901
Kenya Research Path Associates Ltd. Nairobi Charles Onsongo
+254 20 2734770
Mexico Parametría Mexico City Francisco Abundis
+52 55 2614 0089
Nigeria Market Trends Lagos Jo Ebhomenye
+234 1734 7384
Pakistan Gallup Pakistan Islamabad Ijaz Shafi Gilani
+92 51 2655630
Peru Datum Lima Urpi Torrado
+511 215 0600
Russia CESSI Institute for Comparative Social Research Moscow Vladimir Andreenkov
+7 495 650 55 18
South Korea East Asia Institute Seoul Wonchil Chung
+82 2 2277 1683
Spain Sigma Dos Int. Madrid Petrana Valentinova
+34 91 360 0474
United Kingdom Populus Data Solutions London Patrick Diamond
+44 207 553 4148
USA GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767

Question Wording

Q18jt. Please tell me if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each of the following statements. READ AND ROTATE. CODE ONE FOR EACH
jt) I see myself more as a global citizen than a citizen of [COUNTRY].
01 – Strongly agree
02 – Somewhat agree
03 – Somewhat disagree
04 – Strongly disagree
05 – Depends / neither agree nor disagree
99 – Don’t know / no answer
M1. As you may know, there are a number of developments changing the population make-up of [Country]. For each of the following, please tell me if you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of it in [Country]. READ AND ROTATE. CODE ONE FOR EACH
a) Intermarriage between different races and ethnic groups
01 – Strongly approve
02 – Somewhat approve
03 – Somewhat disapprove
04 – Strongly disapprove
05 – Depends on which, what extent
06 – Neither
99 – Don’t know / no answer
b) Immigration from other countries
c) The acceptance of refugees fleeing conflict in other countries
d) The acceptance of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria
M2. Different people identify themselves in different ways. In your own case, would you say your most important identity is as… READ AND ROTATE. CODE ONLY ONE
01 – A member of a religious tradition
02 – A citizen of [Country]
03 – A member of your race or culture
04 – A resident of a community or area (smaller than country)
05 – A citizen of the world
06 – None of the above, other
99 – Don’t know / no answer