Racism 'on the rise' in UK with 1 in 3 people admitting prejudice

The British Social Attitudes Survey found a link to the immigration debate

The 9/11 terror attacks and fears about increased immigration could be to blame for an increase in the number of Britons who admit to being racially prejudiced, according to a new study.

According to the 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey, nearly a third of people in Britain admitted being racist on some level. In 2001, that figure was just 25 per cent and researchers believe little headway is being made to tackle bigotry.

It is still an improvement on the 1980s, when 36 per cent of people classed themselves as racist, and there was another small spike in 2011.

About 30 per cent of those answering the survey described themselves “very” or “a little” prejudiced against people of other races.

Researchers believe the apparent rise in racism could be fuelling the current row over immigration that sent voters in their droves away from the main parties to Ukip in last week’s elections.

They called on political leaders to react to the apparent increase in racism.

More than nine in 10 of people who admitted to some level of prejudice also wanted a reduction in immigration levels, in comparison to around seven in 10 who denied being racist.

A graph showing the percentage of people classing themselves as racist in the NatCen British Social Attitudes Survey. A graph showing the percentage of people classing themselves as racist in the NatCen British Social Attitudes Survey. Penny Young, chief executive of NatCen Social Research, which conducted the survey, called the findings “troubling”. 

She said: “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.”

People living in inner London were least likely to describe themselves at racist (16 per cent), compared to the West Midlands, where 35 per cent of respondents said they were.

Levels of prejudice rose with age, with the highest among over-55s, and those with no qualifications.

There was also a trend among occupations, with more manual workers admitting bias than managers and “professionals”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ms Young said self-reported prejudice was very difficult to study in detail.

She suggested the 9/11 attacks in New York and heightened concerns about immigration were possible reasons for the increase since 2001, when racism had seemed to be in “inexorable decline”.

"In about 2001, it seemed to change, and we think there are probably two possible things that are driving this. One, it was a very marked turning round in 2001, so it may well be an impact of 9/11, that people started to feel more fearful, or to do with people feeling concerned about the impact of immigration in their own area or being fearful of the impact of immigration in their own area."

The British Social Attitudes Survey has been conducted annually since 1983 and the most recent data used 3,244 interviews with a random sample of British adults.

It also covered political issues, social and moral attitudes and opinions on gender roles and the family.

Read more:
Anti-immigrant feeling on the rise
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Chelsea are interested in loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Everton again next season
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?