Shropshire Star

St George's Day: Proportion of Shropshire people who feel English down by 20 per cent

The proportion of people in Shropshire who identify as English has dropped 20 per cent since 2016.

The number of people in Shropshire who identify as English has dropped 20 per cent since 2016

Today is England's patron saint's day, St George's Day - but it appears that people in Shropshire aren't feeling quite as English as they used to.

The latest population survey from the Office for National Statistics, covering all of 2023, shows just 43 per cent of people in England said they identified as English.

Respondents can select as many options as they like from British, English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish or ‘other’.

But in Shropshire, the number of people identifying as English is nine per cent below the national average. 34 per cent of respondents in Shropshire said they identified as English last year – down from 54 per cent in the year to June 2016, before the Brexit referendum.

A decade earlier in 2006, 58 per cent of people identified as English, while it was 60 per cent in 2004.

Nationally, the number of people identifying as English has broadly fallen over the last decade.

But the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Southampton said the findings should be approached with caution.

Its director, Professor John Denham, said many people only select one response, despite having "multiple identities".

He added the British social attitudes survey suggests there has been an increase in the numbers saying they are equally English and British, but a smaller rise in the numbers saying they are British rather than English.

In Shropshire, 65 per cent of respondents said they identified as British – above the national average of 57 per cent.

Sunder Katwala, director of the British Future think tank, which works to promote diversity and social inclusion, said that people's sense of Englishness "ebbs and flows".

He said: "You'll see a lot of England flags in June when the Three Lions are competing in the Euros, and then they'll disappear again. We could do a lot more to celebrate English identity outside of major sporting moments, in an inclusive way – flying the flag with pride and making sure everyone feels invited to the party on St George’s Day.

"Getting behind a shared English identity could help bring people together."