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Brits just as racially prejudiced as a decade ago

30% of Brits admit to harbouring some level of racial prejudice, leaving the lows of the early noughties behind

27 May 2014

New data from NatCen Social Research’s British Social Attitudes survey shows that 30% of Brits describe themselves as either “very” or “a little” prejudiced against people of other races. This figure marks a return to previous levels seen before an all-time low in 2001 of 25%, suggesting little headway in tackling racial prejudice over the last 10 years.

NatCen’s survey finds variation by region, age and education level:

  • The area least likely to self-describe as racially prejudiced are Inner London (16%) and the area most likely, the West Midlands (35%);
  • Levels of racial prejudice also rise with age: 25% of 17-34 year olds, in comparison to 36% of over-55s;
  • Education had an impact, too: 19% of those with a degree and 38% of those with no qualifications reported racial prejudice.

Is racism fuelling the immigration row?

Just over 9 in 10 of those who admit to some level of racial prejudice would also like to see a reduction in the current level of immigration, in comparison to around 7 in 10 who say that they’re not prejudiced at all.

Penny Young, Chief Executive of NatCen Social Research commented:

“The findings are troubling.  Levels of racial prejudice declined steadily throughout the nineties, but have been on the rise again during the first decade of this century. This bucks the trend of a more socially liberal and tolerant Britain.  Our local and national leaders need to understand and respond to increased levels of racial prejudice if we are to build strong local communities”

For more information contact Naomi.Joyner@natcen.ac.uk on 020 7549 9550 or 07734 960 069

Notes to Editors

NatCen Social Research is an independent, not for profit organisation. We believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone.

The British Social Attitudes survey has been conducted annually since 1983. Since then around 90,000 people have taken part in the survey. The 2013 survey consisted of 3,244 interviews with a representative, random sample of adults in Britain, carried out between June and October 2013. 2,149 people were asked: “Would you describe yourself as …very prejudiced against people of other races, a little prejudiced, or not prejudiced at all?””