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 169.

    my father came here from spain in 1937 he thought this country was a beacon of light in a grim world. I don't know what he would think now its turned into a nasty anti immigrant racist country

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    What about the millions who are here illegally and are not included in the Census?

    Nevertheless, we can thank the multi-millionaires, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for this record.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    its all the fault of them under educamated innigrants innit.........send them back east to East Angular where them come from

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    I don't see why child benefit should be paid to anyone. If you want to breed, pay for the spawn you produce. Why should I contribute to it? No housing queue jumping just because you've got said spawn in tow. That might stop some of the unwanted immigration too,

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    It's unskilled immigration that is the cause. To use the arguement that it is because our own are lazy and wont take jobs then immigration is a short term solution. The long term would be to take away benefits and leave no option other than have to work. Stop child benefit, it shouldnt be a right, to have a family should be earned and if you cant afford it then stop having more children!

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    Don't worry Heir Cameron is arranging for £9bn to be spent on the railways. How much for the camps though? Good plan it will get rid of a lot and cut out most of the benefits system and make more wealth available for the impoverished rich, the bankers and the neglected tax dodgers (a topic which has gone really quiet again - it's not just a few you know, these people are the majority).

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    The UK is the most densely populated country in Europe.
    According to the statisticians the white UK population is falling so that must mean this increase is made up from increased immigration and births from foreign born mothers.
    If anyone thinks that is a good thing then good luck to them personally I think it is a worrying trend.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    The hell? You can thumbs down my comment about the entire British population being descendants of or are immigrants but it doesn't change the fact that it's true. 'Ohhh if i thumbs down enough it will eventually change history so that the British race is completely separate and originated from Britain'. There is nothing special about being British. By the way i am British as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.


    "To those racists..."

    Ah the good old 'race card' rears it's ugly head again; a classic immigration discussion stopper used by the cardigans. Only took 141 comments this time too. Starting to wear a bit thin though wouldn't you say??

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    This is very depressing for me personally:

    "there were a million more women than men in England and Wales"

    and yet I still can't find myself a girlfriend...!

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    Can somebody please explain to me how the heck 41% of people (according to opinion polls) are STILL prepared to vote for Labour

    It's really easy - it's called David Cameron!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    Virtually all because of unrestricted immigration and the birth rates of immigration ....

    Not once have we ever been asked by our elected rulers if this 'invasion' by another name. is wanted. The issues it has caused in the collpase in social cohesion is there for all to see with every 'gang' by shooting and terror alert.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    “If you build a sweet shop- they will come.”

    Too right. Especially if it’s a free sweet shop and some idiot left the door open. We get a warm feeling giving away 'free' sweets … and never a thought for the ‘sweat shop’ at the back where UK workers are being forced to make the produce.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    Same old boring arguments from dribbling, demented liberals. Like 'HERRR DEERRR INNIGRANTS WORK HARDER', 'BRITAIN ALWAYS BEEN INNIGRANT POPULATION'. Depressing that people convince themselves to believe these government sactioned lies

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    More people = more consumers = rich get richer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Put it this way - sooner or later the world's human population will fall to match the available resources.

    We can either do it the hard way - or the catasrophic way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    Brave choice for comments. Moderators justifying their wages in light of the news that BBC slashes spending on star talent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    Census is not a right method to find out the true population of Britain. Counting the people who are on Council tax bills will give the Britain's real population. The result will barely will reach over 20 million then. Britain's population has been declining since WW2. Dozens of people used to live in 2-3 bedroom houses, now most houses occupied either by a single person or couple of people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    Sorry that excuse never has washed. Do the best for your family, by all means, but not wherever you fancy! People should keep to their own lands. There is no place for the greedy to take from wherever they like just because they want more. We have enough of our own greedy thank you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    @122 Monkeyharris

    There is nothing ultimately good about rising populations. Some here talk about short term financial benefits, but in the long term, though I have no fear we can support more humans, what about the rest of the natural world we share this planet with?


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