Dinner time or tea time? It depends on where you live

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
May 22, 2018, 9:37 AM GMT+0

A new map by YouGov reveals the boundaries between “dinner England” and “tea England”

New YouGov analysis among more than 42,000 English people reveals the real North/South divide: what people call their main evening meal.

Across England as a whole, the majority (57%) call it “dinner”, while just over a third (36%) opt for “tea”. The remainder either call it something else (including 5% who say “supper”) or answered “don’t know”.

However, despite dinner’s overall victory, the data shows there are clear geographical differences. Breaking down the results by county reveals a stark North/South divide, with “dinner” the winner in the South and “tea” being top in the North.

“Dinner” is most entrenched in the Home Counties, with the residents of East Sussex, Essex and Kent being the most likely to favour it. By contrast, those in Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear and Merseyside are most likely to say “tea”.

The contest is tightest in the Midlands, with people in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Herefordshire and Shropshire being marginally more likely (0-10 percentage points) to favour tea, while dinner is the marginally more popular term in Worcestershire (as well as Bristol further to the south).

Whether you say “dinner” or “tea” is no longer really a class distinction

While some have suggested that the dinner/tea debate is driven by class, YouGov data reveals this isn’t the case.

While middle class Northerners are nine percentage points more likely to say “dinner” rather than “tea” when compared with their working class counterparts (37% vs 28%), “tea” is still chosen by the majority of people in both classes (58% among middle class and 67% among working class Northerners).

Among Southerners there is barely a class difference at all. Only three to four percentage points separate the two groups, with 74% of middle class and 70% of working class Southerners opting for “dinner”.

Photo: Getty

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