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 109.

    These figures only show those who we know are here.

    They don't know how many extra are here illegally.

    In addition ... presumably "Ethnicity" breakdowns and increases/decreases will be provided in the near future ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    The rate of world population growth has been steadily declining since the baby-boomber years of the early 60's, but the population is still growing and in all likelihood it will continue to do so.

    A lot of money and effort effort is spent on Global Warming so why not this issue? Surely population growth can't be allowed to continue unchecked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    More schools, more roads, more hospitals, more supermarkets, more cars, more trucks. Less space, less wildlife,less peace .Depressing

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Population growth is the fundamental cause of most of the planet's issues - global warming, food and water shortage, lack of viable future energy solutions, millions of butt ugly new houses etc etc. Can't fix it all from the UK but we can at least stop encouraging over-size families. Benefits for the first two but three or more and benefits go to zero. If you can't afford 'em, don't have 'em.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Will 'Fifty Shades of Grey' have an effect?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Far too many 'Nimby'-type comments on here. Immigration is a huge issue - but it is a massive, global issue.

    From many of these comments you would think the world stopped at the white cliffs of Dover.

    Immigration is not about 'New Labour'. It is driven by the increasing demand of the GLOBAL corporate world to lower wages, dilute the power of labour, and accrue ever greater profits and power.

  • Comment number 103.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Population growth is the single most important issue our planet is facing. When will our politicians and media have the guts to start the debate. Something needs to be done, now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    And these figures don't count the illegal immigrants that no-one knows about!

    We're full up and don't need anymore innigrants!

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    All the more reason to remove incentives to have large families and to tighten up on immigration.

    -And in 30 years time when we have more people over 80 than under 20 and more over retirement age than of working age which is the inevitable consequence of such a policy we will be all right will we?

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    I think it's flawed in some way because i had to do this twice!
    1. Online 2. They phoned me and had to do it over the phone.
    I explained i did this Online but they said we still had to do this in the phone call.
    So they must of count me and my family twice in the 2011 Census.
    How many more had the same problem?

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    Pete M

    "& anyone mentioning immigration needs to have a word with themselves."

    Why? Why cant immigration me mentioned" Why should anyone have the right to suppress talking about immigration? Anything else on your holier than thou list of topics not to be dicussed?

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    So close the borders because we are full then? Works two ways doesn't it. If everyone else does the same then we'd all be stuck with a bunch of bitter little Englanders and who would want that? And only certain parts of the country are full anyway. Here in the NE we've suffered from population decline for decades with a relative economic decline to go with it. Frankly we need more people up here

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Remember - 2.4 children used to be the national average birthrate per couple just two decades ago. It is now 1.7 per couple, or even less. people who live here can't afford children (even incomers) and the rich are relying on immigrant to do the work. THAT is the immorality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Interesting population wise, given that the 2001 census figures were around one million less than expected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    @ chislehurst There are too many people in the world, never mind Britain and this idea that the more people there are the better the performance of the economy is absurd! More people equals less jobs, more pollution and a greater drain on already scarce resources! The source of all man's problems is OVERPOPULATION! Governments need to start putting measures in place to control the population now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    A couple of simple solutions would be:

    1. Shrink the state and benefits, no one should be better off on welfare than someone working minimum wage.
    2. Remove child benefit for second and any further children.

    The population will soon start shrinking.

    Unfortunately this will never happen as we have become a whiny leftie nation galvonised by a recession and welfare promoting Labour Party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    The solution to this must be.... More immigration!

    And to all those saying the country is full, just look at the countryside, theres loads of green spaces to bulldoze and build on.
    I wont be satisfied until every last blade of grass is covered with concrete for the hard working immigrants to live in!

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    Britain is going down the pan all the hard working true British people are leaving only to be replaced by minimum wage low skilled immigrants!

    I think we will witness the complete collapse of our once great nation in the next 50 years!

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    "There were a million more women than men..."

    Bet all the single, pretty ones are taken too :(
    Naw, by definition the single pretty ones are single. They must have been lying too you m8 ;)


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