31% of Europeans want basic income as soon as possible

The concept of a basic income has captured the imagination of policy makers, activists and free thinkers as a way to cope with income inequality, poverty, and automation in the workplace. Dalia’s annual representative study on basic income was created to better understand and measure public support for this policy in the EU.

Dalia’s most recent survey, completed in March 2017, shows that the number of Europeans supporting basic income increased from 64% in March 2016 to 68% in March 2017.  The study, first conducted in March of 2016, is based on more than 11.000 interviews conducted across 28 EU countries.

When do Europeans Want Basic Income? The majority of Europeans also want a basic income introduced sooner rather than later: 31% want it ‘as soon as possible’, 32% want it ‘after successful experiments in their country’, and another 16% would wait for ‘successful experiments in other countries’. Only 8% would never want to introduce a basic income. Arguments Against Basic Income

While awareness and support for a basic income have increased in the past year, so too have people’s hopes and concerns surrounding the policy. Today, more Europeans worry that basic income might encourage people to stop working (from 43% in 2016 to 52% in 2017). Europeans also express greater fear that foreigners could come to their country and take advantage of the benefit (39%, up 5 percentage points).

Arguments for Basic Income However, over the past year, the potential benefits of basic income received greater gains among respondents’. Up 12 percentage points from last year, 52% of Europeans think basic income could reduce anxiety about financing basic needs. 42% think it could create more equality of opportunity (+11), 32% think it encourages financial independence (+9), and 29% think it would increase appreciation for household work and volunteering (+8).

Effects of Basic Income

Despite fears, 37% of Europeans say a basic income wouldn’t affect their work choices. 17% say they would spend more time with family if there was a basic income. 8% say they would work less, 7% would volunteer more, and another 7% say they would gain new skills.

Country Differences Among the 6 largest European countries, support for basic income is highest in Italy (75%, up 6 percentage points from 2016). Last year, Spain was the biggest supporter at 71%, but has now decreased to 69%. Support for basic income has increased the most in the UK, from 62% to 69%. France is least enthusiastic, with only 60% support, up from 58%.