BBC Poll Finds More People Are Identifying As 'Global Citizens' Than Ever Before


Citizens across the globe are becoming more conscious of the nations around them, a new BBC poll has found. 

For 15 years, the pollster GlobeScan — in partnership with the BBC — has been asking between 14 and 18 countries' residents whether they identify more as "global" citizens, as opposed to "national." And for the first time, more than half of the respondents from those 18 countries identified more with being called global.

The BBC reports that the study highlights emerging economies like Nigeria and Peru, who both had at least 70 percent of their populations say they felt more like global citizens. While the numbers seemed to drop for industrialized economies, China and India both still had more than two-thirds of their population choose "global."

On the other hand, several countries in the industrialized world — specifically Russia and Germany — showed strong evidence of nationalism. The BBC identifies the financial crash of 2008 as the major reason for the drop in these countries' concept of global citizenship. 

Also in play is the refugee crisis that has seen large influxes of Syrians into Germany thanks to the country's open door policies. 

Overall, though, the numbers are encouraging. 51 percent of all respondents — 20,000 people in 18 different countries — said they viewed themselves more as global citizens than national citizens. There were also serious strides made in the acceptance of marriage between different ethnic groups. 

In the United States, responses to questions of global citizenship fell below the worldwide average. Only 43 percent of respondents said they "strongly agreed" or "somewhat agreed" with the statement "I see myself more as a global citizen than a citizen of my country."  On the other hand, 36 percent of U.S. respondents said they "strongly disagreed" with the statement.

Polls like this can have real-world implications, where politicians and citizens can feel like foreign policy is a decision between what's good for "us" and good for "them." For instance, while there is little evidence to suggest accepting refugees is bad for a country, many people believe taking in large groups of refugees is a choice about prioritizing your own citizens or those of other nations.

Thankfully, the data from GlobeScan suggests that, overall, our conception of real and imagined separations between countries is changing, and changing for the better.

To read more about the poll, check out BBC's report here