The Attitudes of People Living at the Slovenian State Border Toward Immigrants: A Case Study of the Municipalities Kostel and Osilnica
The authors explore the attitudes of residents of Kostel and Osilnica, two Slovenian municipalities bordering Croatia, toward people on the move. In this area, immigrants attempt to cross the border in large numbers; hence, the contact between the local population and the immigrants is more regular than elsewhere. The authors explore how the attitudes of locals living near the border compare to those of the general population of Slovenia and whether these attitudes are correlated with gender, age, education, and religion. The authors contextualize this micro-study, based on surveying in Kostel and Osilnica in 2020, within the large-scale surveying of Slovenia as a whole (Slovenian Public Opinion Survey).
KEYWORDS: people on the move, migrants, migrations, migrant crisis, Slovenian-Croatian border
This paper explores the attitudes of the residents of Kostel and Osilnica, two Slovenian municipalities on the border of Croatia, toward the “people on the move” (immigrants who started arriving in Slovenia in large numbers from 2015 on). The authors, relying on the micro-survey conducted in the two municipalities in 2020, found that the local population there has, generally speaking, rather negative attitudes toward these immigrants. They are afraid of immigration for various reasons (security, cultural and identity issues, etc.) and agree that the immigrants should leave Slovenia as soon as the danger that forced them to leave their native countries has gone.
Later in the paper, the authors contextualize their data, acquired in Kostel and Osilnica, within the wider context of surveys done in Slovenia as a whole (general sample). They aim to determine whether the local population’s attitudes in the border region are similar to the country’s general population (Slovenian Public Opinion Poll Surveying 2014 and 2016/2). The authors learned that the local population has more negative attitudes in all explored respects than the general population. In their study, women have slightly more negative attitudes toward immigrants than men; however, these differences are not statistically significant. This finding corresponds with the data in the general sample of people living in Slovenia.
Furthermore, the level of education is correlated with a positive attitude toward the immigrants – the more educated the person, the more positive the attitude toward the immigrants. The religious people in the bordering region have shown a less positive attitude toward the immigrants, compared to the non-religious people surveyed in their micro-study. The last demographic factor analyzed was age – the higher the age, the more negative the attitude toward the immigrants.