Compared to 15 years ago, more people today are claiming to be citizens of the world than their country, says a new survey. This is the first time since the tracking started that the majority of respondents identify as global citizens.

GlobeScan was commissioned by BBC World Service to monitor how various citizens associate themselves with the world and their country. The consultancy firm has been conducting such survey since 2001.

In the 2016 survey, more than 20,000 adult men and women living in 21 countries across six continents were surveyed, either through phone or in person from December 2015 to April 2016. Not all of the questions were asked, and certain samples had only been considered for analysis. For example, in China, Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia, only those obtained from urban areas were considered.

What The Data Say

Eighteen countries received the question pertaining to global and national citizenship, and based on the data, 51 percent prefer to call themselves as global citizens, while 43 percent believe they are national citizens.

The leaning toward global citizenship may be fueled by the huge jump of preference from 2015 by emerging economies, or countries whose per capita income may be either low or middle, and whose population makes up 80 percent of the world.

The countries are further categorized as either part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) of which 34 countries are members, or as non-OECD countries.

China and India, two of the non-OECD countries with the world's biggest populations, have jumped by 14 and 13 points, respectively, although the biggest so far is that of Peru at 27 points.

The preference for global citizenship may be reinforced by the strong support of respondents for interracial marriages, immigration and positive stance on acceptance of refugees from countries in conflict. Questions pertaining to these points were asked in 19 countries.

Meanwhile, when GlobeScan analyzed global versus national citizenship in 14 countries that it has been tracking since 2001, they also noticed a similar pattern. However, it turns out, both emerging and industrialized economies weren't so different in perception at the beginning.

"At the height of the financial crisis in 2009, views were fairly similar across the two country groupings, with 48 percent in seven OECD countries seeing themselves more as global citizens than national, and 45 percent in seven non-OECD countries," the report (PDF) said.

The crisis, however, may have driven both groups to take different paths: bigger preference for global citizenship for emerging economies and lower trajectory for OECD members surveyed.

Nevertheless, other data show that the respondent's association with global or national citizenship is more complex than we think.

"The poll's finding that growing majorities of people in emerging economies identify as global citizens will challenge many people's (and organizations') ideas of what the future might look like," said Doug Miller, chairman of GlobeScan.

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