Are you a global citizen? 56% of those polled say yes

July 01, 2016

The findings are from an international poll conducted by Globescan on behalf of the BBC World Service, which surveyed more than 20,000 people across 18 countries. 

Globescan has been surveying respondents on the question of identity for 15 years, and this is the first time the majority of respondents have identified themselves as global, rather than national citizens. 

The trend towards a sense of global citizenry was more pronounced in large, developing countries, where respondents consider themselves outward looking and internationally minded. Identification as a global citizen was particularly high in Nigeria (73%), China (71%), Peru (70%) and India (67%). 

By contrast, only 30% of respondents in Germany identified themselves as global citizens, the lowest figure recorded since Globescan began polling in 2001. 

Discussing the divergence between those living in developing countries and those in more developed nations when it comes to who feels more a sense of global citizenry, Lionel Bellier from GlobeScan suggested that people in developed nations feel heavily impacted by the negative facets of globalisation, with job losses being one example. 

"They have retracted to more nationalistic feelings, with a sense their countries are losing ground," he said.

Bellier attributes the more global outlook found in developing countries to "their growing importance, a sense that they are being taken more and more seriously by the Western democracies and that their voices are more likely to be heard than 20 years ago".

Whatever the reasoning behind peoples choice to identify themselves as a global or national citizen first, it will be interesting to see how the trend develops in the coming years. With a shared responsibility for global issues such as climate change, immigration or inequality, we may see more of the world’s population defining themselves as global first.

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