More people in Sunderland "are English"

More people in Sunderland see themselves as ‘English’ than before the 2016 EU referendum, according to a national survey – with fewer are identifying as ‘British’.

By Will Grimond
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 3:05 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 6:02 pm

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Sunderland is 'English' for St George's Day.
Sunderland is 'English' for St George's Day.

The latest results – which come on St George’s Day – show that, in the lead-up to the Brexit referendum, 62% of people surveyed in Sunderland said that they identify as being ‘English’ - but this rose to 70% in the year to December.

Over the same period, the proportion of people identifying as ‘British’ decreased from 52% to 46%.

It was a different story across England as a whole, where ‘English’ identity has been on the decline.

Some 44% of people identified as ‘English’ last year – down from 52% in 2016 – while the proportion identifying as ‘British’ has increased from 49% to 59%.

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The findings come from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Population Survey which invites a sample of local people to declare their perceived identity.

Sunder Katwala, director of the think tank British Future, said: "Most people in England have two flags and two identities, English and British. The strength of feeling for them ebbs and flows according to events – we will see a lot of Union Jacks during the Jubilee celebrations, but it will be the England flag flying for the World Cup in November.”

John Denham, director of the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Southampton, said: “Young people are more likely to more likely to identify as British than older generations.”