Pew: Major Concerns Over Illegal Immigration Surge, as Coronavirus Worries Plunge

By Craig Bannister | April 16, 2021 | 2:10pm EDT
(Getty Images/John Moore)

Approximately half of U.S. adults now consider illegal immigration “a very big problem in the country today,” up significantly from last year, results of a new Pew Research Center survey reveals. The new national survey of 5,109 adults by Pew Research Center was conducted on the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel from April 5-11, 2021.

The survey finds that the percentage of Americans who say illegal immigration is a very big problem has jumped 20 percentage points, from 28% to 48%.

Conversely, those who consider the coronavirus outbreak to be a very big problem has fallen 11 percentage points, from 58% last year to 47% in the latest survey.

Thus, illegal immigration is now viewed as a bigger problem than the virus by slightly more Americans (48%-47%).

Americans’ views of other problems remain largely unchanged from a year ago, Pew reports.

Although the decline in the share of Democrats saying that coronavirus is still a very big problem was smaller than the drop for Republicans, the percentage of Democrats who are greatly worried about illegal immigration has doubled, Pew reports:

“While views of most national problems are divided along partisan lines, including illegal immigration, increasing shares of both Republicans and Democrats rate illegal immigration as a very big problem. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans (72%) say illegal immigration is a major problem, up 29 points since last June. The share of Democrats who say this is a major problem is now 29%, compared with 15% nearly a year ago.”


“Illegal immigration and the federal budget deficit are the top problems identified by Republicans. About seven-in-ten say both of these are very big problems for the country. Only about three-in-ten Democrats identify these issues as very big problems.”

Of the 15 issues surveyed, only “Affordability of Health Care” (56%) and “Federal Budget Deficit” (49%) ranked higher than illegal immigration in terms of the percentage of Americans who consider them major concerns.

Like “Illegal Immigration,” “Gun Violence” and “Violent Crime” are also rated major problems by 48% of Americans.

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