Patriotism in Britain reduces with each generation

Patriotism in Britain reduces with each generation

Young British people are very unlikely to be strongly patriotic – but patriotism in Germany is significantly lower

Britain may briefly have felt patriotic in 2012, when Jubilee parties and the London Olympics stirred a dormant pride, but even in the past decade there’s been a significant drop in patriotism, and when YouGov tested the nation on the ‘Life in the UK’ exam that all aspiring immigrants must pass to gain citizenship, 51% of young people failed.

A recent YouGov survey reveals the scale that patriotism is waning in Britain. British people may become more patriotic as they grow older, but 18-24 year-olds are so much less as likely than over-60s to be ‘very’ patriotic (15% compared to 49%) that even if a significant proportion of the younger generation turn proud in their old age, this cohort will still be considerably less patriotic than today’s older generation.


The survey was also conducted in 9 other countries across four continents. Compared to the two main superpower nations – America and China – where 49% and 48% respectively say they are ‘very’ patriotic, Britain is trailing. Here the figure is 32%.

But in comparison to Germany, where history has weakened the appeal of national pride and patriotism has become associated with the far-right (the Pegida movement stands for “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West”), Britain seems positively patriotic. In Germany, only 9% say they are very patriotic.

The most patriotic nation surveyed is Thailand (58% say they are very patriotic), where thepopular king is seen as a stabilising force in a politically fractured society. Thailand’s current government, instated in a 2014 military coup, has offered citizens free haircuts and cinema tickets to a nationalist film. It is illegal to criticise the king in Thailand.

Most of the countries surveyed have similar levels of mild patriotism – the proportions choosing ‘slightly’ patriotic fall within an 11 point range of the average (35%) – and most countries are unlikely to say they are not at all patriotic. Actual non-patriotism (choosing ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ patriotic), however, is relatively high in other Asia-Pacific nations.

The surveys were carried out by YouGov UK, YouGov GermanyYouGov America and YouGov Asia PacificAsia-Pac surveys representative of online populations.

See the full British results

See the full global results

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