England and Wales population up

A British crowd The population has grown by 7% in a decade, the Census showed

The population of England and Wales has reached 56.1 million, up by 3.7 million in a decade, the 2011 Census shows.

It is the largest growth shown by any census since they began in 1801.

The population in England was 53 million on 27 March 2011 when the census was taken, about 400,000 more than official estimates.

In Wales the population was 3.1 million. Around 55% of the 3.7m increase was attributed to net migration.

The census showed that the population for England and Wales was greater than official estimates rolled forward from 2001 - by just over 500,000.


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Data shows that from March 2001 to March 2011, there were 6.6 million births and five million deaths in England and Wales, leading to an increase in the population of 1.6 million.

The Office for National Statistics said this accounted for around 44% of the total increase in population size, with the remainder being due to migration.

Population by age and sex, England and Wales, 2011

Population by age and sex, England and Wales, 2011

BBC home editor Mark Easton says the most likely reason for the discrepancy between the official estimate and the actual population is inaccurate migration data.

It is notable that the number of people in their 20s has risen from 6.6m to 7.6m - that additional one million people are most likely to be migrant workers, he adds.

The latest rise compares with a rise in population of 1.6 million between 1991 and 2001.

The population projections published by the ONS will be revised upwards in the autumn.

On the night of the census there were 23.4 million households in England and Wales, with the average household size being 2.4 people per household in 2011, just over half of the 4.3 residents per household 100 years earlier.

The 2011 Census also showed the average population density was 371 people per square kilometre; however, in London this figure was 5,200.

If the London figures were excluded, the average population density for the rest of England and Wales was 321 people per square kilometre, the ONS said.

All regions saw population growth between 2001 and 2011, with the highest growth in London, the East of England and the East Midlands.

Other population data showed:

There are almost half a million more people living in England and Wales than official estimates suggested. The most likely reason for that under-counting is inaccurate migration data.

It is notable that the number of people in their 20s has risen from 6.6m to 7.6m - the additional one million people are most likely to be migrant workers.

The increase in the number of under-fives by 400,000 is also a consequence of immigration, but increasing fertility among British-born women is the key driver in pushing up the fertility rate.

Half of the total increase in population was in London, the South-East and East regions of England.

The Office for National Statistics says that about 55% of the population increase was the result of net migration.

The population projections published by the ONS will be revised upwards in the autumn.

  • there were almost a million more women than men in England and Wales - 27.6 million men v 28.5 million women
  • the median age of the population - where half the population is younger and half is older - in England and Wales was 39, with the median age for men being 38 and for women 40
  • there were 406,000 more under-five-year-olds than in 2001
  • one in six people in England and Wales in 2011 was aged 65 and over
  • the percentage of the population aged 65 and over was the highest seen in any census - at 16.4%
  • there were 430,000 residents aged 90 and over in 2011 compared with 340,000 in 2001 and 13,000 in 1911
  • Cardiff saw the greatest population rise of anywhere in Wales, growing by 12%

The public were asked questions about their jobs, health, education and ethnic background. It was the first time people could fill in the form online.

The form was compulsory, but a question about religion was optional. The answers are used to plan public services.

Three different censuses happened on the one day. Northern Ireland and Scotland each managed their own, and these were run separately from the one which was sent to 25.4 million households in England and Wales.

Northern Ireland's population rose to 1.81 million - the highest figure ever - according to its census.

The number of people increased by 7% over the last decade, broadly in line with the figure for England and Wales.

The just-published figures showed an increase in the proportion of elderly people and a decrease in the percentage of children under 16.

Figures for Scotland will be released later this year.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    #When was the last time the population wasn't growing?#

    During the Black Death, that was also the last time the people were better off, due to a shortage of them. Immigration is designed to keep us poor and the wealthy cheaply served.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    But on a serious note you shouldn't be labelling all immigrants as stupid. I mean forgetting about all this nationalist hype what does it really boil down to? Just humans like everyone else trying to do the best for their families.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Well all very well to know, but remember these are only figures of people who actually declared themselves. I wonder what a more true figure would be if we knew how many illegals were here at the time we all filled in the census returns? What I would like to know is whether the country now has more people paying PAYE since 2001.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    The growth in population in England and Wales should be celebrated. It means:

    1. We now have more people than ever before of a working age, able to contribute to the wealth of the country

    2. England and Wales is seen as a safe, decent place to come and live.

    It does not mean we're "full"!

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    This is news?

    When was the last time the population wasn't growing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    #30.John Howard Norfolk
    Bad news for schools: if the additional 400k under-fives are evenly distributed in their age range then we need to find an additional EIGHTY THOUSAND primary school places!

    That's about the number of places closed in the previous five years when everyone was complaining about keeping schools open with too few pupils in them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Just now
    Politicians with more than one property ought to be barred from voting on housing issues due to conflict of interest.

    As long as people who are not net contributors to the state are barred from voting on how someone else's money is spent, fine.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Good that we have immigration - with our population ageing we need the younger, risk taking immigrants to start new businesses and breath new life into our ailing economy. The immigrants aren't the problem they are genrally working hard and paying taxes, it's the natives too lazy and proud to do certain jobs that are expensive to maintain on the social welfare system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    If you build a sweet shop- they will come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    How long before 'British Migrant Party' starts to doctor the ratings like he did with the EU discussions a few weeks ago to make it look like we were in favour of the EU and believed everyone who was against it was an "insular racist"? That's not even a theory - it was quite blatant to anyone who spent more than a couple of minutes on there that the pro-EU/anti-Britain comments were being boosted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    This could be a good thing in the long run, hopefully it'll we won't have as many problems with supporting an ageing population as countries like Japan and Italy

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    These figures do not include the illegal immigrants, as they are not registered for completion of the survey. As various media articles have confirmed the number could easily be greater than half a million. The recent drought situation, problems for the NHS and other services, lack of housing all result from the total lack of control of who and how people are allowed to stay in Britain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    I've been labelled 'selfish' for choosing not to have children.

    Looks like I'm actually doing the country a favour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Depressing. When will politicians and religious people start getting a grip... only when the this country/the world descends into choas no doubt as people fight like rats over fast diminishing resources. Then would you trust them to sort it? Thought not. Bunch of wasters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Sorry - I hate using this word but ...

    Is this sustainable ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Immigration should ONLY be allowed when employment is as close to 0% as possible. Foreign doctors and other highly skilled people, you are welcome. Foreign toilet cleaners, supermarket people, call centre staff etc, NO, you are not needed, there are plenty of English people who can do it. Force the lazy into employment, don't take the lazy option by just bringing in someone else to do it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    So, that's an extra city the size of Sheffield all wanting feeding, watering, clothing, housing, schooling, jobs, health care and keeping snug and warm.... no problem then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    What a surprise that the population of Romania has declined - they are all over here claiming benefits and flogging the big issue!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Unbelievable. Labour are responsible for this. It's time we went down the Austrailian model of immigration. NOBODY in unless you have a permit and go after those that fail to comply and remain in the UK beyond their official date. It's brilliant and the Aussies love it. We now have really serious crime by organised Eastern European criminals that make the Krays look like playground bullies

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    More schools please!


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