Detailed reporting from the 2008-09 Citizenship Survey may not yet be complete (in particular, the topic report on race, religion and equalities is still outstanding), but initial results from all four quarters of the 2009-10 survey were released by the Department for Communities and Local Government on 22 July in respect of the questions relating to empowered and active communities, community cohesion, and prejudice and discrimination.
The 58-page report (Cohesion Research, Statistical Release 12) will be found at the following URL (with the 16 tables also separately available as Excel files):
The 2009-10 Citizenship Survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI and TNS-BMRB in England and Wales between April 2009 and March 2010. Face-to-face interviews took place with a representative core sample of 9,305 adults aged 16 and over. In addition, there were ethnic minority and Muslim booster samples (n = 5,280 and 1,555 respectively). However, the tables in this release mostly relate to England alone, and this is true of all those referred to below. We shall focus solely on those which contain breaks by religious affiliation (Christian denominations again being undifferentiated).
TABLE 2: Whereas 37% overall feel they can influence decisions affecting their local area, the figure rises to 40% among Sikhs, 46% among Muslims and 47% among Hindus. Similarly, while 20% overall consider they can influence decisions affecting Britain, the number stands at 35% for Hindus and Muslims, with 28% for Sikhs. It is not therefore the case that adherents of the major non-Christian faiths feel less empowered than Christians.
TABLE 3: 59% of all adults have participated in some form of civic engagement or formal volunteering at least once in the last year, a 3% decrease on 2008-09. The proportions are well below the norm for Muslims (45%) and Hindus (48%), and this is broadly true for each of the four constituent activity areas considered separately. Muslims’ engagement is 3 points lower than in 2008-09 and 6 points lower than in 2007-08, suggesting that there may be cause for concern about their level of integration.
TABLE 7: 85% of the whole sample consider their local area to be a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together, the range being from 80% for Buddhists and those with no religion to 90% for Muslims. The Muslim figure has steadily improved from 81% in 2005, as have the statistics for Christians (80% to 86%) and Sikhs (77% to 88%).
TABLE 9: 87% of all adults claim to identify strongly with Britain. This is also the figure for Muslims (as it was in 2008-09). This is 6% more than for Muslims who identify strongly with their neighbourhood, which is 5 points above the national average. Identification with Britain is weakest among Buddhists (75%, but a very small sub-sample) and those with no religion (84%).
TABLE 11: 80% of all respondents mix regularly (at least monthly) with people from different ethnic or religious backgrounds. This is least for Christians (77%) and greatest for Hindus (96%) and Muslims and Sikhs (94% each). Ethnicity is a major driver of these differences, 78% of whites mixing compared with 96% of ethnic minority groups. The statistics show little change from previous years. Breakdowns by sphere of mixing by religious affiliation are detailed in Table 12.
TABLE 13: 7% of the whole sample feel that racial or religious harassment is a very or fairly big problem in their local area. However, the figure rises to 13% for Hindus, 14% for Sikhs and 17% for Muslims, although in each instance the percentage is a little lower than in 2008-09. For Muslims it is 3% less than in 2007-08. Islamophobia, therefore, would appear to remain a sad fact of British life. Unfortunately, too few Jews were interviewed for them to be separately categorized (they are subsumed within ‘other religion’), so we cannot say from this survey whether Judeophobia is also an issue.