More than half of Americans think immigration strengthens their country, according to a recent Pew survey of seven European nations and the U.S.

The U.S. hosts the world’s largest population of immigrants – some 41 million – making it a key issue in the run-up for the 2016 presidential elections. The latest numbers suggest that attitudes have shifted to a more favourable view, compared with 1994, when only 31% of Americans thought immigration was good for the country.

This latest study has been compared with the 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, which found that despite progress in the US, it was in Europe where the most positive views on immigration could be found. Germany was especially welcoming, and is now set to receive more migrants this year than all of the European Union combined in 2014. Greece and Italy, on the other hand, both of which have turbulent economies, held substantially less favourable opinions.

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Author: Donald Armbrecht is a freelance writer and a social media manager.

Image: Egyptian immigrants at a naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles, California. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson