It’s already become clear that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a major political strain over the refugee crisis. The German public initially seemed accepting of refugees, especially in comparison to people in other large European countries.
It doesn’t look like Germans are turning against the idea of hosting people fleeing from conflicts, but the issue is suddenly becoming a political priority. Recent polls have showed a rising proportion of people worried about the huge influx of migrants and refugees.
New figures from Eurostat, the European Union statistical agency, show just how the issue has rocketed into the public consciousness.
Field work conducted between September 3 and 23 interviewed 62,511 people, asking them — among other things — what the two most important issues facing their region are.
The proportion answering “immigration” is displayed on the map below, and it’s astonishing.
In two parts of Germany, the figure climbs above 50% — 60% in Bayern (Bavaria) and 58% in Baden-Württemberg, the two areas that stand out in bright red — place the issue in their top two. In much of the rest of the country, it’s above 40%.
Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Belgium, southern Sweden, and northern Italy also stand out as being particularly preoccupied with immigration.
That’s not entirely surprising, given the simple number of refugees moving through and to the regions highlighted. Germany expects to take hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers this year. Though Sweden’s acceptance of refugees is less well-publicized, on a per-capita basis the country takes in more people applying for asylum.
Another map shows an even more obvious effect: It measures how much more concerned people in Europe are about migration, in comparison to how concerned they were in 2012.
Once again, Germany stands out: