Skip to main content
Every year the BSA survey asks over 3,000 people what it’s like to live in Britain and how they think Britain is run.  The survey tracks social, political and moral attitudes and is a barometer of public attitudes used by opinion leaders and social commentators.  ‘Being British Today’, the 2014 survey, is a snapshot of how Britain feels about itself, its boundaries, its identity and its inhabitants.


According to research carried out by NatCen Social Research for British Social Attitudes (BSA), the British view on current immigration levels is hardening, with 55% of those with the most negative view of the impact immigration has had on Britain believing that the main reason migrants come to the country is to claim benefits.  Amongst those who have the most positive view of immigration, only 7% see this as the most common reason for immigration.


The most ‘economically advantaged’ are more positive than average about immigration with 60% thinking that immigration has benefited Britain economically, compared with 17% of those with no qualifications.


The survey also examined what the British public see as most important in determining whether or not someone is ‘truly British’, finding that they expect someone who is British to speak English, to have lived here for most of their life, and to have been born in Britain.  The survey showed little change between 1995 and 2003 when the questions were last asked, but since then, according to the survey, the British public have become more likely to expect someone who is British to speak English and live here.  Read the full survey.