on feeling local

in the article about italy that i quoted in one of yesterday’s posts, the author said:

“When you ask citizens of, for example, Pisa how they identify themselves, they are likely to answer first as Pisans, then as Tuscans, and only after as Italians or Europeans.”

from the world values survey, 1999 — in response to the question: To which of these geographical groups would you say you belong first of all? And the next? And which do you belong to least of all? (click on images for LARGER view):

more than half (53.4%) of italians said they identified most (first) with their local community compared to 38.4% of greeks and 31.9% of americans. only 23.3% of italians identified first with the nation, whereas 35.3% of greeks and 34.9% of americans did. i’m surprised that so many greeks identified first with their nation, but then they are less inbred than italians. why so few americans should identify first with their country, i don’t know. many recent immigrants? too outbred? a combination of both? dunno.

a full 19.5% of americans said they identified first with “The World.” somehow i don’t think that those sentiments are generally reciprocated. maybe from some northern europeans? dunno — will have to check that out.

1999 starts to be a bit old for sentiment data; unfortunately, this (exact) question was not asked on the most recent world values survey (2005), and the respondents from 1999 are practically a whole generation ago now (how time flies!).

here’s the same data from 1999 for each of the three countries by age of respondent. first, greece:

then, italy:

finally, the u.s.:

older greeks (over 50) identified more strongly with their locality than younger greeks, and there was a general downward trend from the eldest to youngest greeks. there’s a u-shaped pattern amongst the italians: like the greeks, italians over 50 were most likely to identify with their locality, but unlike the greeks they were waaay more likely to do so. the subsequent italian generations, like the greeks, were less likely to identify first with their locality, although they did so more than the greeks. but there was an upswing in local identity amongst italians aged 15-29. americans showed an inverse u-shaped pattern in local identity, with 30- and 40-somethings most likely to identify locally than other americans. altogether, americans were much less likely to identify first locally.

again, older greeks had the strongest national sentiments compared to younger greeks, and there was a downward trend over the generations. on the whole, greeks were much more likely to identify first as greeks than italians as italians. and their nationalistic sentiments were pretty comparable to those of americans — a surprise to me! italian feelings of being italian first have increased over the generations, but only slightly, and their percentages are quite a bit below those of greece and the u.s. like the greeks, older americans were more likely to feel american first, and there’s been a downward trend.

younger people (ages 15-29) in both greece and the u.s. were more likely to identify first as citizens of the world — something like 19% in greece and 25% in the u.s. younger italians, too, felt more like global citizens than their elders, but only at a rate of about 10%. in all three cases, as the feelings of being global citizens increased, the feeling of being connected to a locality or nation decreased — or vice versa.

(note: comments do not require an email. 1999!)