Sunday, May 26, 2013

British Identity in Radnorshire, 2011 Census

The 2011 Census allowed respondents to choose between any number of multiple ethnic identities although in reality very few opted to do so. In the Radnorshire communities the great majority chose a single identity and that meant choosing between a Welsh-only, an English-only, or a British-only ethnicity.

The British-only identity trailed in third. Only in New Radnor (31.8) and Whitton (31.9) did Britishness emerge as the most popular choice.  In a number of communities (see map below) the British-only option dropped below 20%, although mostly the score was a respectable figure in the twenties - 22% in Knighton, 26% in Presteigne, 24% in Llandrindod for example.  So who were these Radnorshire Britons?

Turning from ethnic identity to place of birth we find that only in 11* of Radnorshire's 27 communities did the Welsh-born outnumber those born in England.  This is partly explained by the use of Herefordshire maternity hospitals although it's clear that this has had only a negligible effect.  The real reason is, of course, in-migration.

When we compare the ethnicity chosen by the Welsh-born and English-born we find an interesting contrast.  Below is a table showing how the Welsh-born are far more likely to opt for a Welsh-only identity. 

Welsh-only/English-only identity shown as a % of the Welsh-born/English-born for the 27 Radnorshire Communities:

The English-only identity choice is lower than the figure you would expect from the number born in England because substantial numbers of in-comers opted to describe themselves as British-only.  The locally born were far less likely to do so.  Conclusion:  In the 2011 Census for Radnorshire at least Britishness is essentially Englishness dressed up in a more polite garb.

* Rhayader, Abbeycwmhir, Aberedw, Glascwm, Llanbadarnfynydd, Llanbister, Llanelwedd, Llanyre, Penybont, St Harmon and Glasbury.


Welsh not British said...

If your theory is correct then British should be omitted from the next census (assuming of course we aren't free by then).

Only then will the true extent of the in migration be exposed.

radnorian said...

I think the English-born figure already gives a pretty good indication of the extent of in-migration. It's massive.

Anonymous said...

"Conclusion: In the 2011 Census for Radnorshire at least Britishness is essentially Englishness dressed up in a more polite garb."

That's a bit of a leap, don't you think? Maybe it's Englishness that no longer regards itself as such and yet doesn't think it has earned the right to call itself Welsh.

Take me, for example. I was born and raised in England, yet I and my children speak Welsh (extraordinary though that may be in Maesyfed), and regard Wales as 'our' country. Indeed, later this week we will all be spending a few days at the Urdd Eisteddfod as we do every year.

Did I list myself as Welsh on the census form? No: I felt the obligation to tick the British box, simply because it was the closest approximation to what I am. I wasn't satisfied that this was an accurate representation of how I feel, but what other choice did I have?

radnorian said...

OK identity is a personal matter but given that you regard Wales as 'your' country then I would think the obvious choice would have been to tick the Welsh box.

I don't think anyone has to earn the right to call themselves Welsh, if they think Wales is their country then that should be enough.

I can understand that folk may be committed to Wales and still be proud of being English etc and the census allows those multiple identities. What I do find depressing is that in 16 of the 27 Radnorshire communities the majority opted for no Welsh identity of any kind. To me that is the result of the economic and political failure of the British state to safeguard the interests of the Welsh people.

I'm sympathetic to your dilemma and your commitment to Wales but I doubt if many of the 6000 Radnorians - most of them born in England and who did opt for a British-only identity - are quite so committed.

I'm sure that for most there was no great contradiction between Britishness and Englishness.

Unknown said...

Shwmae Radnorian,

Mae dy flog o werth mawr i'r fro.
Your blog is of great value to our area - keep up the good work. I wish I had time to read more of it.

Anonymous said...

There's something of Election '79 to your graphics, Radnorian. Keep it up though, the BBC may need you in a few years if they lose any more money on white elephants (they didn't use Capgemini did they?).

It occurred to me that this was a question that has only appeared on census returns in recent times. If it had been included in the census of 1901 for example, how would the respondents of industrial south Wales have responded? You alluded to the answer yourself in a previous post; around 50% of them were born outside of Wales. Yet 110 years on, the gloriously ragged army of Murphys, McCarthys, Sidolis, Wyatts or Ackermans are more than happy to declare themselves 'Welsh only'.

Parents (English ones) fall over themselves to get their kids into the Welsh stream at Trefonnen. That's more than can be said for my day back in the early 80s.

As for people who 'come here to die' so-to-speak. That's fine. They die. They leave no cultural legacy.

radnorian said...

Diolch Wogan, hopefully you can dip into it now and then. There's only about 700 posts.


Can't deny the graphics are rubbish. I don't know if you read the Dicmortimer blog post about Bob McKenzie. Put me off swingometers for life.

You're right about the migration into South Wales and I'd guess that in, say, the 1920s or the 1950's etc. there'd be far more locals who'd have signed up as British or as well.

So there are reasons to be cheerful. As you say the old-fogy brigade aren't going to have much of a cultural impact and even the battalions of county council and third-sector types often tend to be here today, gone tomorrow.

Hopefully those who stick around will go native and the dastardly plan to English the Welsh out of Wales will fail.

Fferllys said...

I wonder how many of those who have moved to live in Radnorshire from England are from families that moved from Radnorshire and other nearby counties to Shropshire and Herefordshire generations earlier, and so are to all intents and purposes Welsh in origin and probably a fair few having Welsh surnames too?

Is there research on that?

radnorian said...

Another source might be relatives of those who found work in the West Midlands during the 20C

This report has some detail on incomers and their motivations:

It takes an age to download mind.

Basically says that 16% are returning to an area where they grew up, that 75% have family connections in the area and that the perception that incomers are mainly retirees is largely correct.

radnorian said...

I should have said have NO family connections with the area