A post on Facebook claims that Croydon is currently “37% British”, citing the 2021 census as the source for this statistic.
However, according to the 2021 census, around 69% of Croydon’s 390,720 residents identify as British, with an additional 10% identifying as a specific UK nationality such as Welsh or Scottish.
Nearly 14,000 people (3.5%) say they identity as British as well as another nationality; meaning that overall, more than 82% of those living in Croydon consider themselves to have at least one UK national identity.
The national identity category refers to where people feel they belong or think of as home. It is not a description of someone’s citizenship or ethnicity.
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What about ethnicity?
The 37% statistic in the Facebook post likely refers to the number of Croydon residents who say they fall into the ethnic category of White British, which according to the census is 37.4%.
This makes it the ethnic category with the highest population in the borough, followed by Other White (9.3%) and Black, Black British, Black Welsh, Caribbean or African: Caribbean (9.2%).
However, the non-white categories also include some other kinds of British ethnicity, such as Asian British and Anglo Indian.
Taking together all those whose ethnicity includes a UK ethnicity, at least 40.3% of Croydon’s residents say they are ethnically British. Some further categories combine British and non-British ethnicities, so we don’t know precisely how many in total might identify as part of a British ethnic group. However, if everyone in these categories were included, it would mean that a maximum of about 53% of people in Croydon were ethnically British.
Other kinds of Britishness
The census also provides information on people’s birthplace and the passports they hold. In Croydon, 65.1% of people were born in the UK and 74.5% had a UK passport.
The Facebook post appears above a screenshot and link to a news article from 14 September, which reports on the alleged rape of a woman in Croydon on 12 September.
The post appeared on 14 September, the first day the case was reported in the media. At that time, there had been no arrests.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed to Full Fact on 15 September that “two men, one aged in his late teens and the other in his 20s were arrested on suspicion of rape. They have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.” The police have not made any comment on the nationality or ethnicity of the suspects.
False or misleading claims online have the potential to harm individuals, groups and democratic processes and institutions. Online claims can spread fast and far, and are difficult to contain and correct. Internet companies must take responsibility to ensure that they have clear and transparent policies on the treatment of misinformation on their platforms, and then apply them consistently.
Image courtesy of Peter Trimming