Wales has more areas than England where ‘English-only’ is the largest identity group, census reveals
The only parts of England and Wales where ‘English only’ is the largest group are in Wales, according to the new census results.
There are four areas in Wales where those who told the 2021 census that they are ‘English only’ are the largest group, but none within England itself.
The Office for National Statistics breaks Wales and England down to over 7,000 Middle Super Output Areas, which all have a mean population of 7,200 people.
In Wales, four of these areas have more people identifying as English only than any other national identity – with one in the centre of Cardiff.
Another is in Conwy and two in Flintshire.
But there are no such areas in England, with British only dominating there.
Cardiff’s 32nd Middle Super Output Area, which surrounds Cardiff Castle, down to Bute Terrace and north-east towards student-heavy areas in Cathays is one area in Wales where the English only group are the largest.
2865 people there identify as English only, compared to 2425 who identity as Welsh only, and 2130 who identity as British only. 833 identify as English and British and 400 as Welsh and British.
Another area where English-only identifiers are the largest group is Conwy’s 5th area which takes up the west of Rhyl. 2,598 identify as English only there compared with the second largest group that identify as Welsh only at 2,370.
Flintshire has two areas near the border, the 9th and 15th area in the county. Part of the first is over the river Dee and includes the stadium of Chester Football Club, which was itself the subject of some wrangling over whether it was in Wales or England during last winter’s Covid lockdown.
The other takes up Saltney and Broughton which are on a main road into and just over the border to Chester.
There are other parts of Wales where English-only identifiers make up a larger portion of the population than Welsh-only identifiers, including Flintshire’s 11th area east of Hawarden, and the border area of Presteigne in Powys.
In England, almost every area is dominated by the British only identity, while the fracturing between Welsh and British identities in Wales mean that the English only identify comes out as the largest group in some areas.
Furthermore, the organisers of the census said that English identity had taken a big hit in England because it appeared lower in the multiple-choice list than it did in 2011.
As a result, the number identifying as English in England fell from 60.4% to 15.3%.
However, the census form sent to people living in Wales kept the option of ‘Welsh’ identity at the top of its form for both the 2011 and the 2021 census.
This in part might explain why ‘Welsh-only’ identity remained roughly the same at 57.2 per cent in 2011 compared with 55.2 per cent in 2021.
One Conservative MP did however voice his concern that fewer people were now identifying as English.
Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, said: “It’s a sad fact that describing yourself as English has declined at such a rate when identifying yourself specifically as a member of the other nations of our great Union remains popular.
“However I am not surprised, as in my view quite wrongly all the negative history of our isles is dropped on the English, and its glories shared under the banner ‘British’. We are now in the era of the shy Englishman and woman.”
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