Search form

Press Release

New YouGov poll reveals strong American support for vaccinating, welcoming refugees and vulnerable populations globally

With World Refugee Day and new UN global refugee figures expected this week, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has partnered with pollster YouGov to evaluate public opinion regarding welcoming refugees in the United States, and regarding US efforts to vaccinate refugees and vulnerable populations around the world against Covid-19.

 The national poll, conducted May 31 to June 3, indicates that: 

  • Americans support vaccinating refugees globally and think the U.S. government should contribute to vaccination efforts around the world: 65% of Americans support vaccinating refugees and displaced people around the world against Covid-19. And 71% of Americans believe that the US should contribute to Covid vaccination efforts in other countries. 
  • Americans think the U.S. should resettle at least the historic annual average of refugees fleeing conflict or persecution and not retreat from this commitment: 56% of Americans think the U.S. should resettle at least 95,000 refugees each year, the bipartisan average admissions goal from 1980 to 2016.

David Miliband, International Rescue Committee’s President and CEO, said, “As we near World Refugee Day and over 15 months of a global pandemic, the data points to overwhelming support for assisting refugees and vulnerable people - whether that be by welcoming them to the US, or helping protect them against COVID-19 wherever they are. Americans recognize that the US won’t be safe from COVID until the world is - and that the US has the ability and the duty to help end transmission especially in lower-income countries. The race between vaccines and the variants is being won in richer countries but lost in poorer ones. Now is the time for a three pronged effort: redistribute excess vaccines from richer countries to lower-income ones, support production in low-income countries, and promote effective distribution within these low-income countries.”

“And as the world faces a record-number of displaced persons with needs only exacerbated by the pandemic, Americans also agree that more refugees should be welcomed in US communities. President Biden has made a bold promise to accept 125,000 refugees next year, to make up for a record-low set by the previous Administration. Today’s data shows that this should not just be a bold promise but a moral imperative.” 

Without an equal distribution of Covid-19 vaccine doses, cases will continue to surge around the world, increasing the likelihood of new variants developing that will only continue the trajectory of this pandemic. The IRC echoes the recommendations of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and calls on G7 countries to redouble their support for the COVAX Facility, commit funding toward vaccine distribution, and support efforts to increase manufacturing. The COVID-19 vaccine should be provided free of charge in low- income countries, and in an equitable manner that prioritizes populations based on need. This must be inclusive of refugee communities.

The IRC welcomes President Biden’s decision to increase FY2021 refugee admissions cap to 62,500. It represents a step on the road to rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and setting an ambitious goal of welcoming 125,000 refugees next year. The IRC looks forward to continuing as a constructive partner in rebuilding this important program. 

YouGov is a British international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm, headquartered in the UK, with operations in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. YouGov conducted a web-based survey among 1,203 US adults who were then matched down to a sample of 1000 to produce the final dataset. The respondents were matched to a sampling frame on gender, age, race, and education. The matched cases were weighted to the sampling frame using propensity scores. The propensity score function included age, gender, race/ethnicity, years of education, and region. The weights were then post-stratified on 2016 and 2020 Presidential vote choice, and a four-way stratification of gender, age, race, and education.


About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.