Six in ten prefer to be British than of any country on earth

Six in ten British citizens agree they would rather be a citizen of Britain than of any other on earth, according to new research among 1,052 British Citizens.

Six in ten British citizens agree they would rather be a citizen of Britain than of any other on earth, according to new research by Ipsos. The online survey, among 1,052 British Citizens, finds 29% tend to agree and 31% strongly agree they’d rather be a citizen of Britain. Of the rest, a quarter (23%), neither agree nor disagree and only 13% disagree, though disagreement rises to 20% among people living in Scotland. Older people tend to feel most strongly, with 71% of 55 to 75 year olds saying they would rather be a citizen of Britain. When asked whether they identify with being British, European, or English/Scottish/Welsh, on average respondents tend to align mostly with their home nation or Britain, and are very unlikely to identify as European. The survey asked people to distribute ten points according to how much they associate with each identity and found on average 4.6 points were allocated for the home country, 4.5 for British and just 0.9 points were given to identify with being European.

Best and worst of Britons

Despite preferring to be British rather than any other nationality, stereotypical “British” characteristics are still alive and well, the research shows, with the common image of drinking too much coming out as the worst (42% say this) from a given list. On the positive national characteristics, having a good sense of humour is in the lead (47%), followed by good manners and politeness (40%). In the context of the recent vote to leave the EU, it’s significant to note that ignorance of other cultures came out as the second worst characteristic (37%) of British people, but also tolerance towards all sections of society is in the top three positive traits (27%). The top five best and worst characteristics of British people as a whole are voted as:

Best Worst
1) Good sense of humour (47%) 1) Drinking too much (42%)        
2) Polite / good manners (40%) 2) Ignorant of other cultures (37%)
3) Tolerant to all sections of society (27%) 3) Complain too much (27%)    
4) Patriotism (26%) 4) Intolerant to other sections of society (22%)
5) Friendly (25%) 5) Lazy (19%)

NHS makes us most proud

The study also finds the NHS tops the list of things that make us most proud to be British. Half of British citizens (50%) say the NHS makes them proud, putting it ahead of Our history (43%) and the Royal Family (31%). Twice as many say the NHS gives them pride than say the same about our system of democracy (26%), our culture and arts (25%), and the British army / armed forces (24%)

 The top ten things that makes us most proud to be British
1) The NHS (50%)  6) British army/armed forces (24%)
2) Our history (43%)  7) The free press/media (14%)
3) The Royal Family (31%)  8) The BBC (11%)
4) Our system of democracy (26%)  9) Our position in the world (11%)
5) Our culture and arts (25%) 10) British business (4%)


Technical note

Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,099 adults aged 16-75 across Great Britain. Data are weighted to match the profile of this population. Of those, 1,052 were British Citizens who were asked the follow-up questions. Interviews were conducted online, from 26th-29th July 2016.  Sample size of people living in Scotland is 92. Sample size of 55-75s is 313. Question two (“Which two or three of the following, if any, would you say makes you most proud to be British?”) was asked of half the sample (524 British citizens).

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