What makes us feel British?
Survey Results
Date Published: 
Tue, 26/04/2011 - 13:07
Have you ever wondered what makes us British? Is it working hard? Supporting the Royal Family? Getting drunk abroad? All these make up some of the attributes of what people think it means to be British according to a survey from Opinium Research.
  • One third (33 per cent) of UK adults don’t feel an association with being British
  • Drinking tea, queuing and getting drunk abroad are all top British traits
  • People living in England know date of St Patrick’s Day (57 per cent) over St George’s (48 per cent)

When asked what being ‘British’ meant, the top 10 characteristics that people associate with the term include:

  1. Drinking tea (60%)
  2. Talking about the weather (59%)
  3. Good at queuing (47%)
  4. Speaking English when abroad (42%)
  5. Keeping a stiff upper lip (40%)
  6. Supportive of the Royal Family (34%)
  7. Being loyal to friends and family (32%)
  8. Liking to moan (30%)
  9. Hard working (29%)
  10. Getting drunk abroad (28%)

Also making the list were; watching TV / soaps (27%), getting rowdy at a football match (23%), not being able to complain (15%), loving karaoke (6%) and being unattractive (4%).

Despite two thirds (67 per cent) of adults in the UK describing themselves as British, national identity still prevails as 61% of English people would describe themselves as English rather than British, 83% of Scots identify themselves as more Scottish than British, and 70% of Welsh feel more Welsh than British.

James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research said: “Our research revealed that it’s hard to pin down what it means to be British. With several stereotypical attributes making the list as well as wider personality traits, it goes to show that Britishness is a complex mix of characteristics. It is also interesting that the majority of people feel more patriotic for their country than of being British, calling into question what it means to be part of Britain.”

A day to celebrate

With 64 per cent of the nation saying they are proud to be British, it is surprising to find that only 48 per cent of people living in England were able to correctly identify St George’s Day as falling on the 23rd April, yet 57 per cent know when St Patrick’s Day falls.

However, people in Northern Ireland proved in tune with their country’s ties as 100 per cent of people able to identify when St Patrick’s Day falls, as well as over eight in 10 (86 per cent) people from Wales with St David’s Day, and nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of Scotland picking out St Andrew’s Day.

Further to this, the research showed that one in five (17 per cent) adults called for an extra bank holiday to celebrate being British. Other suggested days included Armistice Day (12 per cent), and The Queen’s birthday (seven per cent).

James Endersby continued: “With St Patrick’s Day celebrations all over England, it’s no surprise to find out that more people living there can identify this date over St George’s. There seems to be a lack of pride associated with our patron saints as nobody seems to celebrate anymore. What was surprising what that only one in five people would like an extra day off to celebrate their Britishness.”

Notes to Journalists: 

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,012 UK adults aged 18+ from 13th to 15th April 2011. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

UK predicted 2011 population figure 49,529,000 (ONS).

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