EU-MIDIS: European Union minorities and discrimination survey

Objectives - Why this project and for whom?

EU-MIDIS provides primary survey data collected from selected ethnic minority and immigrant persons resident in the EU Member States. This survey data will support policy-makers and other key stakeholders in developing evidence-based and targeted policies that address discriminatory, racist practices, and improve support structures for victims of discrimination and racist crime.

Details - What does the project involve?

23,500 immigrant and ethnic minority people were interviewed face-to-face in all 27 EU Member States during 2008.

In addition 5,000 people from the majority population living in the same areas as minorities were interviewed face to face in 10 Member States to allow for comparison of results concerning certain key questions.

Groups of respondents were selected for interview in each Member State on the basis of:

  • Information supplied to the FRA by its Racism and Xenophobia Network (RAXEN) of 27 National Focal Points (NFPs), which provide the Agency with detailed national annual reports on different minorities' vulnerability to discrimination and victimisation in each Member State;
  • Identification of the largest minority group or groups in each country, which had to reach a minimum overall size of 5% to be sufficient for random sampling in specific areas;
  • Availability to be surveyed in more than one Member State, which allowed for the creation of ‘aggregate' groups - such as ‘North Africans' - for comparison of results between countries.

The results of this survey are representative for the groups surveyed in the areas where the research was undertaken.

Innovation - What's 'new' about the project?

EU-MIDIS provides the most extensive data set to date on discrimination and victimisation faced by ethnic minorities and immigrants in the EU. The survey is the first of its kind to systematically survey minority groups across the EU through face-to-face interviews using the same standard questionnaire.

Outputs - What will the project deliver?

 

  • An ‘EU-MIDIS at a glance' report - introducing the survey and certain key findings
  • A full technical report - presenting an overview of how the research was conducted
  • A series of ‘Data in Focus' reports - reporting on selected themes to emerge from the research
  • The research dataset allowing for further analysis of the results by interested parties
  • A full results report - presenting detailed findings from the research (December 2009)

For more information about the EU-MIDIS survey and for the full list of EU-MIDIS reports, please see the Surveys and Publications tabs at the top of this page.

Related Information

While the composition of Member States' populations is becoming increasingly diverse, the FRA reports have consistently shown that there is a severe lack of data on minorities in many countries. This continued lack of (comparable) data makes it difficult for policy-makers at national and EU level to develop and target interventions to combat discrimination and victimisation against minorities.The FRA has therefore conducted this major representative survey, examining experiences of discriminatory treatment, racist crime, victimisation, awareness of rights, and reporting of complaints.

Downloads: 

EU-MIDIS technical report

[pdf]en (708.87 KB)

EU-MIDIS questionnaire

[pdf]en (265.51 KB)
Q and A

EU-MIDIS Q&A

1. General Questions

  1. Why did the Agency undertake this survey?
  2. How was the survey conducted, and what were respondents asked?
  3. Who was interviewed, and how were the groups selected?
  4. Can one take the survey results to mean that country X is more or less racist than country Y?
  5. How comparable is the survey data?
  6. How is the anonymity of the respondents protected?
  7. How will the Agency follow-up the survey?

2.  Survey methodology

  1. How was  the survey methodology developed?
  2. Who were the people interviewed for EU-MIDIS?
  3. How did the Agency select the groups for the survey?
  4. How, where and when were the interviews conducted?
  5. How did the Agency control the quality and reliability of the interviewers’ fieldwork?
  6. What questions were the respondents asked?
  7. Who carried out the survey?

1. General Questions

1.1 Why did the Agency undertake this survey?

The Agency’s reports have consistently shown that there is a severe lack of data on minorities in many countries. As a result, policy-makers remain ill-informed about how minorities experience everyday life in the Member States. For example, on average only 11 EU Member States collect good, comprehensive data on racist crime that allows for a trend analysis over time. This continued lack of (comparable) data makes it difficult for policy-makers at national and EU level to develop and target interventions to combat discrimination and racist crime. EU-MIDIS can complement existing efforts in some Member States and at EU level to try and rectify the current lack of hard data on minorities’ experiences of discrimination and victimisation.

1.2 How was the survey conducted, and what were respondents asked?

The survey (executed by Gallup) conducted face-to-face interviews with a random sample of respondents from selected ethnic minority and immigrant groups in all 27 Member States of the European Union. 23,500 ethnic minority and immigrant people were interviewed. In addition 5,000 people from the majority population living in the same areas as minorities were interviewed in 10 Member States to allow for comparison of selected results.

EU-MIDIS surveyed between one and three immigrant, ethnic minority or national minority groups in each Member State of the EU, with a minimum of 500 people interviewed per group in each country. The survey used the same standard questionnaire in all EU countries. The results of this survey are representative for the groups surveyed in the areas where the research was undertaken.

The survey asked ethnic minority and immigrant people about their experiences of discrimination in nine different areas of life: (1) when looking for work; (2) at work; (3) when looking for a house or an apartment to rent or buy; (4) by healthcare personnel; (5) by social service personnel; (6) by school personnel; (7) at a café, restaurant, bar or club; (8) when entering or in a shop; (9) when trying to open a bank account or get a loan.

Experiences of criminal victimisation, including racially motivated crime, were asked about within five different areas: (1) theft of or from a vehicle; (2) burglary or attempted burglary; (3) theft of personal property not involving force or threat; (4) assault and threat; (5) serious harassment.

1.3 Who was interviewed, and how were the groups selected?

The survey sampled men and women who were at least 16 years old and identified themselves as belonging to one of the selected ethnic minority or immigrant groups. Respondents needed to have been residing in the respective Member State for at least 12 months.

Groups were selected for interviewing in each Member State on the basis of the following[1] :

  • Information supplied to the FRA by its Racism and Xenophobia Network (RAXEN) of 27 National Focal Points, which provide the Agency with detailed national annual reports on different minorities’ vulnerability to discrimination and victimisation in each Member State;
  • Identification of the largest minority group or groups in each country, which had to reach a minimum overall size of 5% to be sufficient for random sampling in specific areas;
  • Availability to be surveyed in more than one Member State, which allowed for the creation of ‘aggregate’ groups – such as ‘North Africans’ – for comparison of results between countries.

1.4 Can one take the survey results to mean that country X is more or less racist than country Y?

No. The purpose of this survey was to provide precise data on experiences of minorities and immigrant groups in many different areas of life. EU-MIDIS provides the most extensive data set to date on discrimination and victimisation faced by ethnic minorities and immigrants in the EU. It is, however, only representative for the groups surveyed in the areas where the research was undertaken, and not for all ethnic minority and immigrant groups present in the EU. This data can now be used to develop targeted and evidence-based policies to protect people better from discrimination and racism.

EU-MIDIS has tested a robust and comprehensive random sampling methodology, which any Member State or the EU as a whole can use to extend the survey’s coverage to different groups and more respondents in a country, thus allowing for further comparison and analysis.

1.5 How comparable is the survey data?

As the results predominantly refer to the experiences of the largest ethnic minority groups in the EU, general comparisons can be drawn with respect to the different groups surveyed. However, when making such comparisons due consideration must be given to the different backgrounds and context of each group in each Member State.

Comparison between Member States: EU-MIDIS allows for comparisons between Member States that have similar minority populations, for example between countries where Roma or North Africans were interviewed.

Comparison within a Member State: In 12 Member States, EU-MIDIS interviewed two groups. The results can be compared in each Member State with official government data on discrimination and victimisation (in the form of reported incidents, recorded crimes, and court cases), where such data is available, or with figures from unofficial sources such as NGOs. The scale of potentially unreported discrimination and racist victimisation can thus be gauged in each Member State.

1.6 How is the anonymity of the respondents protected?

At the outset, all research organisations participating in EU-MIDIS were required to abide by the relevant norms of personal data protection. The final data set does not contain personal details, such as names or addresses of the respondents, and the analysis is being carried out so that it will not be possible to identify any single respondent based on their answers to the survey. In addition, respondents had the possibility at any stage to stop the interview, or not to participate at all, and only full interviews are included in the final data set. Before releasing the full data set for the use of other researches, the data set will again be carefully screened to ensure the anonymity of the respondents.

1.7 How will the Agency follow-up the survey?

The Agency will present the results from the survey to key stakeholders, including policy-makers at EU and national level. Throughout 2009, the Agency will release further ‘data in focus’ reports on specific minority groups and key issues examined in the survey. The full results from the survey will be publicly released and form the background to a high-level conference, to be held in Stockholm in December 2009 under the auspices of the Swedish Presidency of the EU.

 

2. Survey Methodology

2.1 How was the survey methodology developed?

For a variety of reasons, minority and immigrant groups are considered to be groups difficult to survey. The Agency therefore paid much attention to developing a very sound methodology and interview practices to survey these population groups. 

Prior to launching the survey, the Agency consulted key international experts in the field to ensure that the methodology meets highest standards and best practice. Before launching the full study, the Agency conducted a pilot survey in 2007 in six Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Slovakia) to test the sampling of minorities, contacting mode and fieldwork success. The experiences collected from the pilots were taken on board in designing the full survey, covering the EU-27. 

EU-MIDIS has developed and tested a robust and comprehensive random sampling methodology, which any EU Member State can now use to extend the survey’s coverage to different groups and more respondents in a country, thus allowing for further comparisons and analysis.

2.2 Who were the people interviewed for EU-MIDIS?

The survey (executed by Gallup Europe) conducted face-to-face interviews with a random sample of respondents from selected ethnic minority and immigrant groups in all 27 Member States of the European Union. 23,500 ethnic minority and immigrant people were interviewed. In addition, 5,000 people from the majority population living in the same areas as minorities were interviewed in 10 Member States to allow for comparison of selected results.

EU-MIDIS surveyed between one and three immigrant, ethnic minority or national minority groups in each Member State of the EU, with a target sample size of 500 respondents per group in each country. The survey used the same standard questionnaire in all EU countries. The results of this survey are representative for the groups surveyed in the areas where the research was undertaken. The data set is anonymous and care is taken that no single respondent can be identified from the results.

The survey sampled men and women who were at least 16 years old and identified themselves as belonging to one of the selected ethnic minority or immigrant groups. Respondents needed to have been residing in the respective Member State for at least 12 months. However, in selecting respondents, no consideration was given on whether they were EU citizens (with passport of a Member State) or non-citizens (without passport of EU Member State), since the objective was to have as representative a sample as possible without prejudice on citizenship status.

For more detailed information on the groups surveyed see EU MIDIS at a glance

2.3 How did the Agency select the groups for the survey?

The EU-MIDIS involved extensive fieldwork in all of the EU countries. As EU-wide surveys tend to be expensive, the Agency had to make a selection of the groups to survey. In selecting these groups, the Agency relied on its extensive experience in reporting on racism and xenophobia in the EU. On a yearly basis, the Agency’s Racism and Xenophobia Network (RAXEN) of 27 National Focal Points provide the Agency with detailed national annual reports on different minorities’ vulnerability to discrimination and victimisation in each Member State. This information is captured in the Agency’s Annual Reports.

For statistical reasons, the Agency in addition applied two more selection criteria:

Identification of the largest minority group or groups in each country, which had to reach a minimum overall size of 5% to be sufficient for random sampling in specific areas. (The minimum overall size of 5% refers to number of persons from the target groups in the smallest geographical units that could be used for sampling, for example city districts. It does not refer to the group size nationally.)

Availability to be surveyed in more than one Member State, which allowed for the creation of ‘aggregate’ groups – such as ‘North Africans’ – for comparison of results between countries.

2.4 How, where and when were the interviews conducted?

Most of the interviews took place in the capital cities or the next largest cities in each Member State. Where it was clear that the selected minority group is primarily living elsewhere in the country, the interviews were conducted in these areas.

Interviewers contacted respondents at their homes using pre-defined selection criteria both for selecting the households and for selecting the respondents from the households. The selection criteria were enforced in order to ensure the randomness of the sample. FRA experts made also field visits to monitor that the interviews were carried out according to the specifications.

The majority of interviews took place during the months of May, June and July in 2008. In some Member States fieldwork period had to be extended, and the last interview was conducted on 5 November; however, in these countries fieldwork was interrupted for a summer break from 22 July to late August to ensure that respondents’ possible absence from their homes during the summer holiday period would not bias the sample. Details on the fieldwork length by Member State are presented in the Technical Report.

2.5 How did the Agency control the quality and reliability of the interviewers’ fieldwork?

Before the start of the fieldwork, the interviewers had received special training. The training was based on a standardised training manual, which was also distributed to the interviewers to take home and study. FRA experts participated in selected trainings to oversee that the training was adequate and was carried out in accordance with the manual.

The interviews mostly took place at people’s homes, and the interviews could be conducted with maximum three persons in each household. The interviews took from 20 minutes up to one hour, depending on the number of discrimination and victimisation incidents that the respondent had experienced.

Fieldwork managers in each survey company controlled 10% of the routes that the interviewers had followed in selecting the respondents to ensure that the households were identified according to the pre-set selection rules designed to ensure the randomness of the selection. The fieldwork managers also contacted again 10% of the interviewed households to check that the information recorded on the questionnaire was correct and that the interview had been carried out in an appropriate manner.

2.6 What questions were the respondents asked?

Standard questionnaire with 150 questions
The survey used the same standard questionnaire in all EU countries, containing 150 questions, resulting in over 300 variables. The number of questions relevant for each respondent depended on their answers – respondents who had experienced several types of discrimination were asked a set of follow-up questions regarding the most recent incidents for each type of discrimination, whereas someone who was not discriminated against in the past 12 months was not asked these questions. Read the full questionnaire

Questions on background, discrimination and victimisation
After a set of standard questions on perception of discrimination and rights awareness, respondents were asked about their experiences of discrimination and victimisation. If they had experienced any of the five crime types covered in the survey, or discrimination based on their ethnic minority or immigrant background in any of the nine discrimination areas covered, the questionnaire asked in more detail about these incidents. The interview concluded with questions on respondents’ background.

The survey asked ethnic minority and immigrant people about their experiences of discrimination in nine different areas of life: (1) when looking for work; (2) at work; (3) when looking for a house or an apartment to rent or buy; (4) by healthcare personnel; (5) by social service personnel; (6) by school personnel; (7) at a café, restaurant, bar or club; (8) when entering or in a shop; (9) when trying to open a bank account or get a loan.

Experiences of criminal victimisation, including racially motivated crime, were asked within five different areas: (1) theft of or from a vehicle; (2) burglary or attempted burglary; (3) theft of personal property not involving force or threat; (4) assault and threat; (5) serious harassment.

2.7 Who carried out the survey?

The Agency, following a public call for tender, contracted Gallup Europe for the overall management of the survey. Gallup is the world’s leading polling company with extensive experience in surveying different population groups. Their past projects have included the European Crime Victimisation Survey, European Working Conditions Survey, as well as parts of the Eurobarometer.

Gallup was responsible for the overall management of the survey and conducted the survey fieldwork in each Member State, in cooperation with competent subcontractors (survey research companies).


 

[1]: For more detailed information on the groups surveyed see EU MIDIS at a glance, p.4