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 129.

    Some Lingering Fog

    "We will need more immigration, not less, if we are to pay for all the nice "free" health and welfare that everyone has come to expect in their old age"

    And what happens when the immigrants get older " Ah of course, have more immigration .

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    @100 Steve - the answer is of course to raise the retirement age and stop paying benefits out to wealthy pensioners and parents who earn far more than your average hard working person.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    I phoned a farm the other day to get a picking job but was told it was cheaper to hire immigrants because of the subsidies the employer gets from hiring them. Time to stop it, I feel. We'd have more social housing too

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    Lets get one thing straight,the present spineless politicians do not live or see the what is happening to every town and city, with ghettos being created through Labours mass immigration policy,nor the resentment when we see immigrants who not paying a penny into the system getting priority over,housing,,jobs,benefits,schooling etc,it will not change under Labour or tory,so i now will vote bnp.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    There are too many people on this small island. Cut the benefits to large families, full benefits for 1 child, half for the 2nd, then nothing else. Stop all but essential immigration. When this is done, get rid of the morons that keep making life so difficult for the ordinary people of this country just to keep themselves in a job and find them something useful to do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    What a great idea, give even more ammo to the racists . the number of older people now makes the case for more imigration to get more younger workers paying tax to pay for all the extra old people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    I was brought up in the 50's and was taught about people from other countries and why they came here, I live in a diverse area and on the whole the immigrants we have living near us are working and respectful. Alot better than the few that never work just stay at home and bring more children into the world never understanding a work ethic. There is good and bad in any culture.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    Aaargh! Everyone panic, the Daily Mail was right all along! Quick, let's blame the PC brigade before anyone realises this argument is utter nonsense! Population goes up and it's a bad thing. Population goes down and that too is a bad thing. Get a grip.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    Oh really what a surprise and most of these new comers are from eastern Europe working for peanuts and paying no taxes.

    Close the border to eastern Europeans and you will see crime go down, more jobs for British workers and more taxes being paid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    Just love some of the comments on here. It's easy to demand that we starve children to death as a punishment for having stupid or poor parents.

    None of you would have the balls to do that so I don't know why you're pretending to be big tough decision makers.

    If you can't say something sensible, best keep your opinions rattling around that cavern called a head.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    The simple fact is that England is overpopulated and the liberal idiots who post on here seem to want this to happen, infact they actively want Britain to become a 3rd world country, that is what they want. They want to dillute British identity and put us under control of the EU

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    @ 82.Pete M

    There's been immigration here since we became an island, about 8,000 years ago

    - Yes, but not in the massive and unsustainable numbers we've suffered over the past few decades

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    101. Anthony Rat
    And these figures don't count the illegal immigrants that no-one knows about!
    So how are you going to calculate a figure based on an unknown?

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    1. Legalise gay marriage
    2. Control borders on Eastern Europeans
    3. World war
    4. Problem solved

    I could have added better health care system but it's a good thing people are living longer

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    Confirmation of what we already know - there are too many people in this country, especially the south of England.

    This is why homes are unaffordable, roads congested, public services overwhelmed etc etc.

    If the UK is to live sustainably the population should be going down not up. But will our politicians ever listen?

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    KnowYourRights - if you were phoned it was probably part of the checking exercise, not double counting. And here's a tip to improve your English (are you an immigrant by any chance?); "must of'" doesn't make sense - perhaps you meant "must have"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    We will need more immigration, not less, if we are to pay for all the nice "free" health and welfare that everyone has come to expect in their old age.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    The problem with this issue is it gets hijacked by the anti EU, racist or general benefit hating brigade a quick glance at some of the comments on here proves that. Immigration needs to be controlled if it isnt it destroys the social fabric of a society, we have finite resources. Im happy for Monsieur Frenchie to come here just not ten million of them all at once.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Multi-racial Britain has turned us into a gastronomes paradise, with the food of every conceivable culture represented. It has also turned us from an inward-lloking nation to one that knows and respects much more than it used to.

    We should celebrate that but impose immigration ethics and linmits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Its probably very easy to bash immigration for all the problems in this country. Very few realize that everybody here is some sought of a migrant. I see no report about how much migrants contributes by working hard day and night to make ends meet in a foreign country.
    People here have a habit for continuous mourning and throwing blame for their own problems.


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