Attitudes towards target groups


Hostility refers to a feeling of enmity towards a person or an attitude of opposition towards a group. Hostility indices capture the disagreement or the agreement with this attitude, when it is directed towards one of three following target groups: Muslims, Black people and Jewish people.


For all target groups, the average values of the indices measuring hostile attitudes are close to 2 in 2020, on a scale from 1 (disagreement with the attitudes) to 4 (agreement with the attitudes). This shows that the population disagrees rather than agrees with hostile attitudes, meaning that the attitudes are overall more positive than negative.


The average value of these indices has decreased over the observation period, indicating a shift towards less and less hostile attitudes.

More figures on this topic

By recording opinions or stereotypes used to construct the hostility indexes, the figures below provide information on the attitudes of the population towards Muslims, Black people and Jewish people.

High refusal to rank the groups

In the majority of cases, the population’s assessment of Muslims, Black and Jewish people is a positive one. The proportion of persons agreeing with the statement that Muslims, Black or Jewish people are just like anybody else (soft refusal to rank) is higher than 95% for all target groups.

Strong refusal to rank less frequent when it comes to Muslims

The proportion of persons strongly agreeing with the statement saying that the target group is like any other group is smaller with regard to Muslims (73%). This indicates that preconceptions regarding Muslims are less favourable than those regarding Black people (79%) and Jewish people (80%).

Less negative stereotypes of Black people

Among those who gave their opinion about the stereotypes ascribed to the target groups, 22% think the stereotypes of Jewish people apply strongly, respectively 20% concerning stereotypes of Muslims. Approval drops to 11% in the case of negative stereotypes about Black people. These figures indicate that preconceived stereotypical perceptions of Black people are more favourable than those of the other target groups.

Low rejection of stereotypes of Muslims

With regard to Muslims, the comparatively strong agreement with negative stereotypes (20%) is accompanied by a low refusal to stereotype (5%). In contrast, the proportion of the population that rejects stereotyping Jewish and Black people is higher (at 16% and 18%, respectively). Only for Black people, the refusal to stereotype (18%) is higher than the agreement with negative stereotypes (11%).

Focus 2017: Racism against Black people

By means of daily life situations, the figures below show whether the population perceives certain behaviours towards Black people to be racist and measure the extent to which the definitions of racism are shared by the population.

Hover the mouse pointer over the dots in the interactive graph above to display the labels for the situations.

  • 45% of the population identifies racist behaviours in all the situations reflecting so-called "old" or "traditional" forms of racism
  • 17% of the population identifies racist behaviours in all the situations reflecting so-called "new" forms of racism
Attitudes toward the groups
  Muslims Black people Jewish people
Hostility 2.0 1.9 1.9
Refusal to rank (soft)
95% 96% 96%
Refusal to rank (hard) 73% 79% 80%
Refusal to stereotype 5% 18% 16%
Agreement with  stereotypes 20% 11% 22%

Further information





Federal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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