Eurobarometer shows percentage of Europeans who identify with being European

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Tautalus posted an interesting graph showing what percentage of Europeans identified with their nationality and/or "Europeanness".

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This dates back to 2015, so for more up to date information I checked the latest Eurobarometer on Values and identities of EU citizens (published in November 2021). The report is 191 pages long and is a treasure of information to compare how Europeans see themselves in each country.

The questions relating to national identity include an analysis of answers by gender, age, education, social class, political values, religiousness, life satisfaction, and personal values.

Percentage of Europeans who identify with their nationality

Eurobarometer_nationality_2021.png

Countries where national identity is the strongest are Portugal (93%), Hungary (87%), Slovakia (85%), Spain (84%), and Cyprus and Bulgaria (both 83%). At the other end of the scale we find Luxembourg (47%), Belgium (52%) and Sweden (59%).

There is hardly any difference between gender or life satisfaction. However people who are over 55 years old, didn't complete secondary school, consider religion important, consider themselves working class and traditionalist are considerably more likely to strongly identify with their nationality. The upper-middle class and non-religious people were the least likely to hold such feelings.


Percentage of Europeans who identify with being European


Eurobarometer_European_2021.png


Feelings of European identity run higher in n Hungary (76%), Slovakia (75%), Malta (72%), Cyprus and Poland (both 67%), Romania and Czechia (both 66%), Spain and Slovenia (65%), Italy (64%), and Lithuania, Latvia, and Austria (all 63%). The lowest percentages were observed in Greece and Sweden (both 42%), Croatia (45%), Belgium and Estonia (both 46%), theNetherlands (48%) and Finland (49%). But to put this in perspective, Belgians and Swedes also do not feel particularly attached to their national identity. In Belgium 52% of the population identify as Belgian and 46% as European, so it's almost identical, and one does not preclude the other either. There are just a lot of people who don't care either way. Local/regional identity shows a similar pattern with just 50% of the population saying that they identify with it.

Those most likely to identify as being European are the upper class (42% of them do), while the least likely were the lower middle class (26%) and those not satisfied with their lives (24%). Otherwise there is little difference across gender, age groups, educational attainment, urbanisation or political spectrum.

The category of people who had the highest percentage of "Does not identify at all with being European" are those who have a negative image of the EU (20%), which seems rather obvious, but also those who have difficulties paying the bills most of the time (13%). It could be that the latter group includes more immigrants from developing countries who clearly don't see themselves as European.
 
I thought it would be interesting to also look into how Europeans identify with their religious beliefs.

Eurobarometer_religious_identity_2021.png


It's not surprising that religion goes hand in hand with identity in Cyprus, an island divided between Greek Christians and Turkish Muslims. Italy has the highest share of people who 'tend to identify' with their religion, although Italians are getting less religious over time and are no longer as unequivocal as they used to be in their support of Catholicism. Other surveys have shown that Poles are without a doubt the most religious EU citizens, but Slovaks managed to overtake them when it comes to linking their identity to their religion (which isn't the same thing as the religious devotion).

Swedes are clearly the least religious Europeans. The 2017 WIN/GIA poll on religiosity showed that 73% of Swedes were irreligious, just ahead of the Czechs (72%). So it makes sense to see that only 19% of Swedes see religion as part of their identity. What does not make so much sense is that 42% of Czechs see Christianity as part of their identity even though 72% of them don't believe in it! Both Czechs and Slovaks seem to assign a cultural value to religion that is detached to actual belief.

Looking at the demographics, women are slightly more likely to identify with their religion, but the most important factors seem to be:

- lack of education (43% of those who stopped school at 15 identify with religion as opposed to 26% of those who went into tertiary education)
- being working class (40%, against 25% of upper-middle class)
- being politically on the right (38% against 28% of the left and 30% for the centre)
- being over 55 years old (36% against 26% for the 15-26 years old)
 
This chart shows all the questions pertaining to identity in the Eurobarometer survey. It highlights the three most common categories in each country.

Eurobarometer_main_identities.png



Over 80% of Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese are very attached to their region or local community, while less than half of Belgians, Luxembourgers and Swedes tend to care about it.

In Cyprus, Bulgaria, Portugal and Poland, over 80% of respondents agree that one's ethnicity is a strongly defining feature of one's identity. It's not at all the case for the French, Belgians, Dutch, Nordics and Irish, where less than half of the population agrees.

Political orientation defines much more a person in Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Spain (all over 65%) than in politically blasée France (28%).

Sexual orientation is a quite important part of one's identity in Spain and Poland, but much less so in Sweden, Estonia or Belgium.

If we exclude the three broad universal categories that are family, gender and age, then one's education level seems to be the most important factor representing one's identity in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
 

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