This is a brief overview of how the Agency’s Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II) was carried out.
The selected findings in this report are based on survey interviews of Muslims in 15 EU Member States. It was part of the Agency’s EU-MIDIS II survey, which collected data on immigrants and ethnic minorities’ experiences and opinions in all 28 EU Member States. The survey methodology builds on the Agency’s first survey on immigrants and ethnic minorities in 2008 (EU-MIDIS I). The set of questions was extended and the coverage of the survey’s target groups was improved through advanced sampling approaches. An overview of the main results for all interviewed groups and a comprehensive technical report will be available in December 2017.
A ‘Muslim respondent’ refers to those who identified themselves as ‘Muslim’ when asked about their religion. Depending on the country, this includes Muslim immigrants from Turkey, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia (in Cyprus, Asia), as well as descendants of immigrants who have at least one immigrant parent from these countries and regions. The data on Muslims in Slovenia refer to recent immigrants who immigrated to the EU in the past 10 years from non-EU countries (mainly from other Western Balkan countries).
Respondents were asked about their experiences of discrimination, crime victimisation (including hate crime), profiling and policing as well as their rights awareness. They were also asked for information about their personal situation and living conditions, as well as basic socio-demographic characteristics.
EU-MIDIS II interviewed Muslims in 15 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK between October 2015 and July 2016. Comparing the estimated size of the Muslims covered in EU-MIDIS II with the general estimate for all Muslims, the share of Muslims covered in this analysis is almost half (45%) of all Muslims in these countries and around 42 % of all Muslims in the EU. However, the percentage of Muslims covered by EU-MIDIS II within countries varies and is particularly high in France (75%), Belgium (56%) and Germany (54%).
In total 10,527 people who identified themselves as ‘Muslim’ when asked about their religion were interviewed. The sample sizes per country ranged from 226 in Slovenia to 1,270 in Italy – these figures include only the Muslim respondents, so the total number of people interviewed in each country and group can be larger as it includes also non-Muslims. In some Member States, Muslim respondents from different countries/regions of origin were interviewed, e.g. in Belgium and the Netherlands – immigrants from Turkey and North Africa, in France and Italy – immigrants from North Africa, South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, etc.
The EU-MIDIS II data are representative for selected groups of immigrants born outside the EU (first generation) and for descendants of immigrants (second generation) with at least one parent born outside the EU.
The Agency designed the survey content and methodology with input from academic experts and civil society representatives and after a cognitive pre-test of the questionnaire in six EU Member States in 2014. An international UK-based survey company, Ipsos MORI, collected the EU-MIDIS II data in all 28 EU Member States under the supervision of FRA staff, who monitored compliance with strict quality control procedures .
The English source questionnaire, developed by FRA, was translated into 22 EU languages as well as into Arabic, Kurdish, Russian, Somali, Tamazight and Turkish, which were used to interview respondents.
Together with the Agency, Ipsos MORI designed an interviewer training programme that was used to train national data collection teams in 2015. FRA participated in a number of training sessions to monitor the quality of the training and its content, to help ensure that the data collection methods were used consistently across all survey countries.
FRA analysed the data in the current report.
The main interview mode was Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) – that is, face-to-face interviews by interviewers using a computerised questionnaire, and paper showcards to aid understanding and response rates.
Interviewers were specially trained for the survey, including cultural and ethical training. Wherever possible or necessary, interviewers with the same ethnic background and/or gender conducted the interviews to increase responsiveness among the target groups.
The length of interviews with each respondent depended a lot on their personal experiences and was about 45 minutes on average.
The survey was carried out by professional interviewers, trained to ensure confidentiality.
The survey data set is anonymised and does not contain any personal information, which would enable respondents to be identified. Care was taken during the data analysis so that nobody can be recognised from the results.
Individuals aged 16 years or older who live in private households, and whose usual place of residence was one of the EU Member States for at least 12 months. The results presented in the current report are based on those respondents who self-identified as Muslims when asked about their religion during the interview and live in the selected 15 EU Member States.
Respondents were asked about their country of birth or – in the case of descendants of immigrants – their parents’ country of birth. Respondents include both citizens and non-citizens of the survey country, for example immigrants who have obtained citizenship, descendants of immigrants who have citizenship since birth, as well as immigrants who still hold the citizenship of their country of origin.
When interviewing immigrants and their descendants, up to two people could be interviewed in each household who were randomly selected from all elligible respondents in a household.
Ethnic or immigrant minorities are considered as ‘hard-to-reach’ groups in surveys. They are relatively small in number compared to the total population, spread across the country and there tends to be no sampling frames as reference for selection of respondents from the target groups (i.e. list of people that can be used to make a controlled representative selection of the target group). This means that achieving a representative sample is more difficult compared with general population surveys.
EU-MIDIS II mainly used a multistage random probability sampling design.
Whenever possible, a sample was drawn from a sampling frame covering the target population. However, the opportunities to sample the target population are hugely different across Member States due to different availability of sampling frames and distribution of the target group in the countries.
Advanced and new sampling methodologies had to be developed and employed in most countries, and the best possible design was chosen for each target group in each country. For some target groups in some countries, a combination of different methods was used to ensure better coverage of the target population. Detailed description of sampling methods used will be published in the survey technical report.
In some countries, national coverage had to be reduced for reasons of efficiency. This means that in multi-stage sampling, areas with lower densities of the target population of immigrants and descendants of immigrants (i.e. not only Muslims) were excluded because screening of the target population would not have been possible. In most countries, areas with densities below a certain threshold had to be excluded. These thresholds vary from areas with fewer than 2.7% in Cyprus up to 10% in France.
To date, two FRA surveys – EU-MIDIS I (2008) and EU-MIDIS II (2016) – have collected data on Muslims. Between the two surveys, there are 12 countries where both surveys have analysed Muslim respondents’ experiences from the same target group: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. However, in Germany, Italy, Malta and Slovenia, there were slight differences in some of the target groups.
While both surveys collected data on issues such as discrimination, crime victimisation and rights awareness, results concerning living conditions such as poverty and housing were only collected during EU-MIDIS II.
In some instances, the wording of questions changed slightly between surveys, which may limit the comparability of results.
EU-MIDIS I and EU-MIDIS II both used a similar methodology, applying a multistage random selection of respondents. To optimise the sampling approach, EU-MIDIS II further developed the methodology. The different approaches and restrictions lead to differing geographical coverage for most of the target groups and countries, which may limit the comparability between both surveys. For example, the coverage of the target groups from North Africa and Turkey in The Netherlands is similar in both surveys but not identical, as ‘Zaanstad’ was added in EU-MIDIS II and therefore only covered this time.
In presenting the EU-MIDIS II results, comparisons with EU-MIDIS I are only reported when notable differences are observed. Any comparison should consider the methodological caveats and statistical variation as indicated in the notes to the tables and footnotes.
All sample surveys are affected by sampling error, given that the survey interviews only a fraction of the total population. Small differences of a few percentage points between groups of respondents have to be interpreted within the range of statistical variation. Only substantial differences between population groups should be considered as evidence of actual differences.
The EU-MIDIS II survey further improved the sampling and weighting methods developed for the EU-MIDIS I survey. Therefore, the results of EU-MIDIS II should be a more accurate representation of the situation and experiences of Muslims in the countries covered in the two surveys.
The 2016 EU-MIDIS II survey data were weighted in a more sophisticated way. EU-MIDIS II not only took into account the selection probabilities, but also adjusted the samples for non-response and – where possible – for the composition of the target population on selected characteristics. This means that even if the sample in a country is similar in both surveys, the EU-MIDIS II data are more accurate.