A majority of Americans (62%) continue to say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation.”

Majority of Republicans now say America risks its 'identity as a nation' if it is too open to foreignersBut the share expressing this view is 6 percentage points lower than it was in September – a result of a shift in opinion among Republicans. Democrats continue to overwhelmingly take the view that openness is an essential characteristic of the nation.

Currently, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that if the United States is too open to people from around the world, “we risk losing our identity as a nation.” Fewer (37%) say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential to who we are as a nation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 10-15 among 1,502 adults.

Both last fall and in 2017, Republicans’ opinions on this question were divided. Since September, the share of Republicans who say America risks losing its identity if it is too open has increased 13 percentage points, while the share who view the nation’s openness to others as essential has declined 10 points.

Over the past two years, there has been virtually no change in Democrats’ attitudes. Today, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation; 85% said this last September.

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Young adults, blacks and postgrads among the most likely to view U.S. openness as 'essential'Opinions about whether America’s openness to those from other nations is essential – or a risk – to its identity also differ by gender, race and ethnicity, and education.

Women are more likely than men to say America’s openness to foreigners is essential (70% vs. 55%). In addition, there are sizable age differences, with adults under 30 more likely than older people to express this view.

While majorities across racial and ethnic groups see American openness as essential, blacks are particularly likely to have this view (78%, compared with 66% of Hispanics and 58% of whites).

In addition, adults who have not completed college are less likely than those with at least a four-year college degree to regard America’s openness to foreigners as essential. Among whites, 71% of those with at least a four-year college degree say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential, compared with only about half of those who do not have a degree (51%).

Note: See full topline results and methodology

Claire Brockway  is an intern at Pew Research Center.
Carroll Doherty  is director of political research at Pew Research Center.