The Tribes

Chatham House researchers identified six ‘tribes’ across Europe that transcend national boundaries and whose members share similar opinions and life experiences. These were developed using a unique 10-country public survey conducted in late 2016 and early 2017, in collaboration with Kantar Public.

Hesitant Europeans

Hesitant Europeans need persuading on the EU. They are the largest tribe and tend to sit in the middle on many issues. They tend to feel moderately satisfied with life, have average experiences of social hardship and feel as though they have some control over their lives. Many are on modest incomes. This group also has the highest proportion of women. They are more likely than others to be apathetic about politics. However, they are also one of the groups least likely to feel that their country has benefited from immigration. They tend to prioritize national sovereignty over deeper European integration – most want some powers returned to the nation-state – but they are also the most likely to feel indifferent about the EU.

Class size

36%
Largest

Tend to live

Cities, towns & rural areas

Gender

Female 57%
Male 43%

Income

Low to moderate

Typical age

Mixed

Politics

Centre

Life satisfaction

Moderate

Death penalty

Oppose Support

Country distribution

Lower Higher

Contented Europeans

Contented Europeans are optimistic, pro-European and happy with the status quo. They feel they have benefited from being in the EU and are proud to be European. Contented Europeans are often young; many are aged 18-29 and many are students. They are among the most socially liberal group. They generally feel positive, happy and confident about the EU. They are more likely than most to think immigration has brought positive effects. The average Contented European feels well informed about how the EU works, and thinks the EU is democratic. They are more likely than any other group to think the balance of powers between the EU and member states is about right. Yet, at the same time, they are not especially positive about the idea of living in a ‘United States of Europe’.

Class size

23%
2nd largest

Tend to live

Cities

Gender

Female 54%
Male 46%

Income

Above average

Typical age

Younger

Politics

Left of centre

Life satisfaction

High

Death penalty

Oppose Support

Country distribution

Lower Higher

EU Rejecters

EU Rejecters are angry about politics and the EU. They are the least likely to think they have personally benefitted from the EU or to feel a sense of solidarity with their EU neighbours. They feel anger, disgust, fear or pessimism toward the EU. Rejecters overwhelmingly feel the EU is undemocratic. Almost everyone in this group thinks the EU has too much power. They feel that immigration has been bad for their country and many would like it stopped altogether. They are the most likely to support the death penalty and oppose same-sex marriage, although they are split on this issue. Rejecters are more likely to be middle-aged; relatively few are young. They are more likely than average to be manual workers or self-employed and to be friends with people in working class jobs. Many are on low incomes but there are also a significant number of wealthier, affluent Rejecters.

Class size

14%
3rd largest

Tend to live

Towns & rural areas

Gender

Female 46%
Male 54%

Income

Mixed

Typical age

Middle aged

Politics

Right

Life satisfaction

Low

Death penalty

Oppose Support

Country distribution

Lower Higher

Frustrated Pro‑Europeans

Frustrated Pro-Europeans want an EU that is driven by progressive values, but they do not feel as though they have it at present. They tend to think that more powers should be transferred to the EU but many are not feeling the benefits of EU membership. Frustrated Pro-Europeans tend to be left-wing. Generally, they support a common approach to the refugee crisis and the idea of richer member states helping poorer ones. But they also have more mixed attitudes to immigration than other pro-European groups. Most think the EU is only moderately democratic. They are split relatively evenly across the different age groups, tend to work in non-manual jobs, and are most likely to have friends in working class or lower middle class jobs.

Class size

9%
4th largest

Tend to live

Towns

Gender

Female 49%
Male 51%

Income

Moderate

Typical age

Mixed

Politics

Left of centre

Life satisfaction

Low

Death penalty

Oppose Support

Country distribution

Lower Higher

Austerity Rebels

Austerity Rebels are dissatisfied with politics and the EU. They have little belief in EU democracy and few feel they have benefited from the EU. Austerity Rebels are more likely than members of the other groups to be unemployed and are more likely than average to have experienced social hardship. They tend to be located in countries that felt some of the worst effects of the economic crisis. Most do not feel proud to be European and want to see powers returned from the EU to member states. But people in this tribe are also among the most likely of any to think that richer member states should support poorer member states, and to believe that states should accept a fair share of refugees. People in this group are likely to feel angry, disgusted, afraid and pessimistic about the EU.

Class size

9%
5th largest

Tend to live

Cities & towns

Gender

Female 53%
Male 47%

Income

Low to moderate

Typical age

Older

Politics

Left of centre

Life satisfaction

Low

Death penalty

Oppose Support

Country distribution

Lower Higher

Federalists

Federalists want a more deeply integrated EU and support an eventual ‘United States of Europe’. They are the wealthiest, the most male and the least gender balanced tribe. They are also on average the oldest tribe and the most likely to include people who are retired. People in this group are the most likely to feel they have benefited from the EU and feel very satisfied with their lives. This group is also the most positive about immigration. This group is split across the political spectrum. They feel happy and confident about the EU. Members tend to have a university education and have lots of friends from other countries – their social networks are wide and deep.

Class size

8%
Smallest

Tend to live

Cities

Gender

Female 34%
Male 66%

Income

Moderate to high

Typical age

Older

Politics

Mixed

Life satisfaction

High

Death penalty

Oppose Support

Country distribution

Lower Higher
Explore the Data