Conclusions of an unprecedented opinion poll on the Greek expatriate identity were presented in the SAE Europe regional convention held here last week, with the participation of 220 delegates from 20 European countries.
The poll was conducted by the Athens-based Kapa-Research firm between 2006 and 2008 on a sample of 15,000 ethnic Greeks living around the world.
According to the poll, held under the auspices of the foreign ministry, Greeks who immigrated to America left in search of a better future, whereas Greeks who left the country and moved to Europe did so because of poverty. Most of the Greek immigrants came from the provinces of Macedonia, the Peloponnese, and Epirus, in the northwest.
Most marriages between expatriate Greeks are still held in a traditional manner, thus forming a link with the homeland, while one in three families speaks mostly Greek at home. Family ties are also very strong, with 7 in 10 Greeks having relatives abroad.
As regards language, the majority of expatriates believe that good Greek schools are impossible to exist abroad.
A majority of expatriate Greeks believe that they are more hardworking compared to residents in Greece. Entrepreneurship is also apparently higher among expatriates, whereas in Greece a large portion of respondents expressed a desire to work in the public sector.
Overall, Greeks abroad are in a better financial state, considering that only one in 10 say that they are on the verge of poverty, compared to 20 percent in Greece. Three in four have property in Greece but only one in three maintain that they are exploiting the property.
According to results, a large majority of Greek expatriates have high self-esteem, are hardworking and consider themselves responsible taxpayers. A vast majority said they were extremely proud to be Greek-Americans or Greek-Australians and nine in 10 said they wanted their children and themselves to preserve their Greek identity.
Conversely, most of the Greeks abroad expressed bitterness vis-à-vis the stance of the Greek state through the years.
In their overwhelming majority, respondents believe that they are integrated in their country of residence and that in the future they will be fully assimilated. Nationality, a good profession and a high-level education are regarded as the fundamental elements for their integration in the societies of their adopted countries, the opinion poll showed.
The work of the Orthodox Church is evaluated in positive light, generally speaking, and one in three ethnic Greeks sees the Church as the foundation for developing social relations.
A high percentage of the Greeks of the Diaspora watch Greek satellite TV; one in three reads Greek newspapers, while also one in three wants subtitled TV shows. The majority has a positive view of ERT, the Greek national broadcaster, while Greeks abroad are more familiar with the Internet than Greeks in Greece.
A detailed presentation of the opinion poll conclusions will be held in Athens on Nov. 28-29.