Ethnic minorities living in the UK feel more British than white Britons

Ethnic minorities living in the UK feel more British than their white counterparts, research has revealed.

Muslims are the most likely of all groups to identify with the concept of “Britishness”, the Institute for Social and Economic Research found.

The report’s authors say the results rubbish suggestions that ethnic groups are unwilling or unable to integrate into British society and show that fears over the negative impacts of immigration on cultural identity are overstated.

The study, named Understanding Society, looked at the socioeconomic circumstances of people living in 40,000 UK households.

Occupants were asked a series of questions, including how important, on a scale of one to 10, being British was to them.

People of Pakistani origin scored the highest with an average of 7.76. Bangladeshi and Indian groups came second and third respectively, while the white population scored the lowest with an average of 6.58.

The study also found that identification with Britishness was higher among the children and grandchildren of migrants.

The research will be presented next week at the Economic and Social Research Council research methods festival by Dr Alita Nandi.

She said: “There is a huge emphasis in public and policy discourse on immigration and its potential challenge to cultural homogeneity and national identity.

“Our research shows that people we might assume would feel very British in fact do not – while others who we might assume would not associate themselves with feelings of Britishness in fact do.”

She added: “Many people seem to manage dual identities, and it’s interesting to note that in all the ethnic groups we looked at British identity increases from generation to generation, while within the majority white population many maintain strong non-British identities, such as Scots or Welsh.”

Press Association, 30 June 2012

See also ISER press release, 30 June 2012