As Brexit Divides U.K., BBC Poll Shows Split Over English Pride

(Bloomberg) -- England’s Brexit-voting pensioners are proud to call themselves English. The nation’s young people aren’t so sure.

Just as the country navigates its way out of the European Union, a poll conducted by YouGov for BBC News revealed less than half of those age 18-24 are proud to call themselves English. By contrast, 72 percent of people over 65 said they have pride in their nationality.

The online survey of 20,000 people sought to explore the notion of English identity for citizens of the largest country within the U.K., further highlighting the divides revealed by the 2016 Brexit vote. Three-quarters of voters who backed Britain’s withdrawal proudly identify as English compared with 44 percent of those who voted to remain.

Overall 80 percent of all those surveyed said they identify strongly as English, but as many as one in 10 graduates and young people said they would be embarrassed to identify themselves as English, according to the BBC News survey, conducted by online questionnaire.

Party political allegiances also offered stark contrasts with 77 percent of Conservative voters proud to identify as English but just 45 percent of Labour voters feeling the same.

“England has long been the conundrum at the heart of the Union,” BBC News Home Editor Mark Easton said. Until it is understood what England means to its people “predicting its future would be very difficult.”

The survey will be included in the “English Question,” which will be part of BBC TV, radio and online programming on Monday, according to a statement.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.