Nationalist Attitudes Highest in Italy

June 26, 2018

Nationalist and anti-immigrant attitudes in Western Europe have been an issue in a number of recent national elections around the region, particularly after the influx in the past few years of refugees from predominantly Muslim countries. But Western Europeans vary by country when it comes to having positive or negative views about immigrants and religious minorities, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

To better examine the prevalence of these attitudes, the Center developed a scale to measure the extent of Nationalist, anti-Immigrant and anti-religious Minority (NIM) sentiment. The NIM scale combines answers to 22 survey questions on a wide range of issues including views on Muslims, Jews and immigrants, as well as immigration policy.

Respondents' scores increased if they said that immigration to their country should be reduced; that they were unwilling to be neighbors or relatives with Muslims or Jews; that immigrants from certain regions are not honest or hardworking; that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with their national culture and values; that being born in their country is important to being "truly French," "truly German," etc.; and for expressing a host of other sentiments on related topics. The higher the score, the more likely a respondent had expressed nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-religious minority sentiments during the survey. Scores on the scale range from 0 to 10.

Relatively few adults in every country surveyed score above 5 on the scale. But there is considerable variation across countries. In Sweden, just 8% of those surveyed scored higher than 5, the lowest amount in any country, while in Italy, 38% did, the highest share in any country. In most countries, the share scoring 5.01 or higher was between 15% and 25%. For example, in both Norway and France, 19% of respondents scored 5.01 or higher.

Jeff Diamant and Kelsey Jo Starr. "Western Europeans vary in their nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-religious minority attitudes". Pew Research Fact Tank, June 19, 2018.

Related: Anti-Immigration and Pro-Italy, Anti-Minority Sentiment

Mycenaeans and Italians

January 15, 2018

We don't have Ancient Roman DNA yet, but now we have the next closest thing: Ancient Mycenaean Greek DNA. This new study shows that Mycenaeans, like their Peloponnesean descendants, are genetically similar to modern Italians (and other Southern Europeans) because both are similar mixes of Neolithic farmers and Indo-Europeans, and also because of Ancient Greek settlements in Southern Italy.

We estimated the fixation index, FST, of Bronze Age populations with present-day West Eurasians, finding that Mycenaeans were least differentiated from populations from Greece, Cyprus, Albania, and Italy (Fig. 2), part of a general pattern in which Bronze Age populations broadly resembled present-day inhabitants from the same region (Extended Data Fig. 7). [...] Other proposed migrations, such as settlement by Egyptian or Phoenician colonists, are not discernible in our data, as there is no measurable Levantine or African influence in the Minoans and Mycenaeans, thus rejecting the hypothesis that the cultures of the Aegean were seeded by migrants from the old civilizations of these regions.


The Mycenaeans settled all of mainland Greece up to Thessaly, and throughout the Aegean islands. There is evidence of extensive Mycenaean acculturation in Western Anatolia, Italy and Cyprus and trading relations with Egypt and the Near East. The Mycenaeans were literate and used for accounting purposes a syllabic script, Linear B, written in an early form of the Greek. They introduced this script into Crete after they occupied the island.

Lazaridis et al. "Genetic origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans". Nature, 2017.

Related: Ancient Roman DNA, Ancient-to-Modern Genetic Distances