Publics around the world divided on birthplace and religion as requirements for national belonging.
Results of a Pew Research Center survey highlight language and customs as key components of national identity, while views on the importance of birthplace and religion are more divided.
Across more than 20 countries surveyed, a median of 91% say being able to speak their country’s most common language is important for being considered a true national, and 81% say sharing their country’s customs and traditions is important for true belonging. Views on the importance of birthplace and religion to national identity are mixed.
Of the four dimensions of national identity included in the survey, language is by far the most valued. In all countries where we asked about it, about eight-in-ten or more point to language as important for true belonging in the country. And in 13 countries, at least six-in-ten consider it a very important factor.
Participation in a country’s customs and traditions is also valued: Around seven-in-ten or more consider sharing national customs and traditions important for true belonging in most countries. Emphasis on shared customs has declined somewhat since 2016, including by double digits in Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.