Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Activists protest a migrant detention center in London. (Photo: noborder.org)

For First Time Ever, A Majority of People Identify as 'Global Citizens'

The trend is particularly strong in developing countries

Nadia Prupis

People around the world are increasingly identifying as global citizens, according to a new BBC poll that shines a light on changing attitudes about immigration, inequality, and different economic realities.

Among all 18 countries where public opinion research fir, GlobeScan conducted the survey, 51 percent of people see themselves more as global citizens than national citizens. It is the first time since tracking began in 2001 that a global majority identifies this way, and is up from a low point of about 42 percent in 2002.

The trend is particularly strong in developing countries, the poll found, "including Nigeria (73%, up 13 points), China (71%, up 14 points), Peru (70%, up 27 points), and India (67%, up 13 points)."

Overall, 56 percent of people in emerging economies saw themselves as global citizens rather than national citizens.

"The poll's finding that growing majorities of people in emerging economies identify as global citizens will challenge many people's (and organizations') ideas of what the future might look like," said GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller.

In more industrialized nations, the numbers skew a bit lower. The BBC's Naomi Grimley writes:

In Germany, for example, only 30% of respondents see themselves as global citizens.

According to Lionel Bellier from GlobeScan, this is the lowest proportion seen in Germany since the poll began 15 years ago.

"It has to be seen in the context of a very charged environment, politically and emotionally, following Angela Merkel's policy to open the doors to a million refugees last year."

The poll suggests a degree of soul-searching in Germany about how open its doors should be in the future.

Not all wealthy nations were opposed to newcomers. In Spain, 84 percent of respondents said they supported taking in Syrian refugees, while 77 percent of Canadians said the same. A small majority of Americans—55 percent—were also in favor of accepting those fleeing the ongoing civil war.

As Grimley points out, the concept of "global citizenship" can be hard to define, which makes it difficult to determine answers about identity.

"For some, it might be about the projection of economic clout across the world," she writes. "To others, it might mean an altruistic impulse to tackle the world's problems in a spirit of togetherness—whether that is climate change or inequality in the developing world."

GlobeScan interviewed 20,000 people in 18 countries between December 2015 and April 2016.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Horrific': 50 Migrants Found Dead in Abandoned Trailer Truck in Texas

"We need to end Title 42 and fix our broken immigration system so these unimaginable tragedies stop happening," said Rep. Chuy García. "People fleeing violence and poverty deserve a chance at a better life."

Jake Johnson ·


Harris Says White House Not 'Discussing' Use of Federal Land for Abortion Care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among the Democratic lawmakers who have expressed support for the idea as GOP-controlled states move to outlaw abortion.

Jake Johnson ·


Abortion Rights Defenders Applaud Judge's Block on Utah 'Trigger Ban'

"Today is a win, but it is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight," said one pro-choice advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo