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 289.

    Shocking to see some of the comments on here completely willing to sacrifice our culture and throw it down the drain, but then again it is the BBC.
    As someone said, it is a ticking timebomb and the Olympic security proves just that, it is a matter of time before a 7/7 happens again all because of the intolerance and stpudity of individuals that seem to think mass immigration is a good idea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    Whilst immigration plays a part in population it is not the soul cause and until we as a nation start dealing with some of these other problems we will continue to grow beyond our means. As a small island nation we are so vulnerable as we are at the end of all pipelines, any slight disruption in our energy or food imports the country would descend into chaos within days....

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    Soon things are going to get out of hand and people will turn on one another as money gets tight all a recipe for war on the streets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    Cannot wait for Rio,s comment on this subject,should give us a laugh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    England has been ruined by large scale immigration - I'm getting out of here! Good luck everyone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    To stop the drain on welfare system from people from abroad why don't the government just make it Law that in order to live in this country ,,You either
    A) have to take out private insurance to cover health problems and being out of work ..Or
    B) just charge people a sum of money say £5000 on entry to uk to qualify for any benefits or health treatment they get in this country whilst living here

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.


    You didn't go far enough

    More people >more demand > more supply > similar number of jobs through automation> more on dole> greater % of tax spent on welfare> crippling public services. Not to mention destruction of national identity, organized crime, insufficient housing, need to build houses on flood plains, terrorism the list is endless

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    198 "If you have more than 2 children, you are irresponsible and selfish, it's as simple as that."

    Green Party policy turning Chinese Communist, you WILL only have x number of children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    200. RayTay Due to the low birthrates of whites and high immigration levels and birthrates of non-whites, we would not all become mixed race you fool. The only race of people who tend to outer-breed on largescale are whites, so therefore only whites would get wiped out and every other race would continue to grow and survive. We would not all become mixed race you deluded and sick left wing maniac.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    Most immigrants come over to Britain because they now its easy to get a job. Why's it easy for them to get a job? Because most British people aren't interested in picking sprouts for twelve hours a day, on minimum wage.
    Before condemning immigration we need to look at the wider problems. Lets get the British working again, then with the jobs taken, immigration will slow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    Have to be careful - Big Brother and all that - more girls than guys? Simple certain 'minorities' keep chipping them out until they get a boy or boys.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    Evidence.........are you blind as well as biased. Look around you at hospitals, schools, housing. Just because you married an immigrant, it doesn't change the facts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    @178 It's not enough that you wanted the Scottish water when England had droughts, now you want to offload anything or anyone you dont want in your own country to ours...... Get a grip!
    It's always too cold and wet for them up here, that is why they never stay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    The net migration figures are an everage across England and Wales. What this fails to show is that mostly middle-class and country towns (where white multiculuralists live) have very low levels of immigration. Parts of inner city London, West Yorkshire and Lancashire however, can now only be recognisable as being in this country by looking at car registration plates.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    If they understimated the ppulation by half a million, that means that many government spending projections will be way out.

    It's nice to see that immigration continues to swell the population of the UK at record rates. Let's all celebrate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    @Bauer & @PulpGrape I suggest you don't believe Google - maybe that figure included non-metropolitan France? European France is about twice the size of the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Immegration, Immegration, Immegration - Yes it is a hot topic and there needs to be a check over immegration numbers BUT hey the it is not the single factor influencing the population explosion.
    There is more obvious one. Thats right, Birth !
    Immegration is a tiny fraction. Please keep an open eye for other factors as well. Composition and aging population is also important to look at.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    For all those trotting out 'we need more immigration to pay for our old age' argument - will these be immigrants who never grow old themselves, or will they be 'guest workers', sent home when old ? The first is unlikely, the second is beyond the pale. So, the argument holds no water.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    People with jobs and working to buy their own houses delay having kids until they can afford it and then have maybe one or two kids, if any. There are plenty of others not burdened by this consideration and spit out as many kids as they like, knowing someone else will pick up the bill. I worked for the DWP, I've seen the papers, the smart ones left the UK ages ago, those that are left: worry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Everyone is quick to point the finger at immigration. It may be a valid point, but has anyone considered that social networking might be a catalyst in the recent boom? As the old saying goes "monkey see monkey do"


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