Among OECD countries with populations larger than 10 million, Australia has the highest proportion of residents born overseas. The 2019 Mapping Social Cohesion Report allows researchers to assess community attitudes to migration, and to gauge how these attitudes are influenced by political and world events. It has consistently told a positive story about a nation that accepts immigration and multiculturalism, while also exploring why, for instance, our harsh border protection policies persist.
The 2019 report confirms that, on the whole, Australians feel better about themselves than news bulletins might suggest.
When asked to assess their happiness level in 2019, 84 per cent of respondents described themselves as “very happy” or “happy” (86 per cent in 2017). At the same time, 62 per cent said they were “very optimistic” or “optimistic” about the future (60 per cent in 2017), while in answer to the question “To what extent do you have a sense of belonging in Australia?”, 90 per cent said to a “great” or “moderate” extent (92 per cent in 2017).
Positive attitudes towards immigration also continued to predominate. In 2019, 68 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposition that “accepting immigrants from many different countries makes Australia stronger” (up from 63 per cent in 2017), while 85 per cent agreed that “multiculturalism has been good for Australia” – a level of support that has remained steady since the question was first posed in 2013.