It is commonly accepted that introduced species have recruitment advantages over native species. However, this idea has not been widely tested, and those studies that have compared survival of introduced and native species have produced mixed results. We compiled data from the literature on survival through germination (seed to seedling survival), early seedling survival (survival through one week from seedling emergence) and survival to adulthood (survival from germination to first reproduction) under natural conditions for 285 native and 63 introduced species. Contrary to expectations, we found that introduced and native species do not significantly differ in survival through germination, early seedling survival, or survival from germination to first reproduction. These comparisons remained non-significant after accounting for seed mass, longevity and when including a random effect for site. Results remained consistent after excluding naturalized species from the introduced species data set, after performing phylogenetic independent contrasts, and after accounting for the effect of life form (woody/non-woody). Although introduced species sometimes do have advantages over native species (for example, through enemy release, or greater phenotypic plasticity), our findings suggest that the overall advantage conferred by these factors is either counterbalanced by advantages of native species (such as superior adaptation to local conditions) or is simply too small to be detected at a broad scale.