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 449.

    That's turning the truth on its head. The politics of immigration is neither right or left wing, particularly, as practiced. But capitalism demands immigration because it constantly needs to provide a cheaper labour force, and these days a more skilful one too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    414 Dont believe everything you read in the Daily Mail you just end up post inaccurate claptrap on forums such as this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    There's no room for political correctness here. This problem is too important not to be addressed for fear of upsetting individuals or sections of the populatuiion. For example, both Messrs. Cameron and Clegg have 3 living children. I don't begrudge them that, but would it really be setting a good example, if they are then to recommend having smaller families as a way to stem population growth?

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    It might be nice if we could ignore history but our colonial adventures are precisely the reason for the large number of immigrants to this country from former colonies. And while I agree that the poor in this country were horribly exploited, it was on the back of the Empire that Britain's wealth was made. Read some history rather than just ignoring it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    430. BritishMigrantsParty
    Sarcasm doesn't come across well over the internet.

    However, we must plan for people refusing to work. My view - keep them out of absolute povery. But that's it. You don't want to contribute, fine, we won't let you die. But no more cigarettes or beer or lottery tickets or sky, or toys for your children. Those who contribute (migrant or not) will get more from the system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    For those earlier comparing with France, this census relates to England and Wales only not the whole of the UK. France is over 4 times larger in area than England and Wales combined.

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    Numbers alone do not tell the whole story & so it is specious to juggle magic numbers at any end of the scale. Lifestyle levels,consumption choices,academic drive, health status & the ability to discern how to live Well without being a burden to others,self-reliance, character & entrepreneurship: all these are factors that decide how big a Pop can be accommodated.Quit smoking & drugs, get healthy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    Immigration should be allowed only to the economic benefit of the country. Only when unemployment falls below 1.5m should we begin to allow a quota of highly skilled immigrants into the country. When we reduce unemployment by this means, perhaps we can then begin to stop the benefits of British-born scroungers who have no intention of working. You can't force people to work whilst there is none!

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    Just now

    I've employed some of those young poeple who just want a start. The problem is, they want it delivered to them.

    People are debating that mixing cultures is not the issue here, I tend to disagree. The work ethic of many other cultures is on a fundamental level about honor and respect. Something that a large portion of the anglo-saxon youth appear to have missed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    Systemic failure of our immigration policy.

    Isn't it wonderful to be a multi-cultural society ?

    But the genie is out of the bottle.

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    1 Minute Ago

    369. Pete

    "Immigrants have babies (i.e. a younger demographic overall) and they work hard, instead of scrounging of the state like so many of our UK born scroungers are"

    Thats a very racialist statement. I was actually aware that immigrants have babies by the way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    Presumably all the people living below the radar in "garage ghettos" filled in their census forms?

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    Here's how to create a sustainable economy. Add more people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    Hope these extra folk come to Milton Keynes. We've a young city that needs young families - thousands of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    We live in the 21st century, but government still relies on an incredibly expensive and invasive method of gathering information about UK nationals. Why isn't the information available without this anacronistic, innaccurate and expensive pantomime? You have my NI number. You keep records of my tax. I pay Countil Tax, etc. Now I'm told businesses use the info - which businesses and for what?

  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    We need immigrants to work to support our pensioners? How about giving jobs to the million + 16-24 yr olds who can't find work. Many who would do the jobs people seem to think the lazy brits don't want to do. Many of those young just want and need a start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    One of the Editors' Picks has a view on the merits of different cultures. That is a different debate. This article is about population increase and resources.

    There are too many people on this island for the resources available. You can't graze 10 sheep on 1 acre. You can't fit a quart into a pint glass. It's a simple case of mathematics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 432.

    At my comprehensive secondary school in London, those groups who did disproportionatley well academically were the children of first generation immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Indian sub-continent, who in turn have gone on to be the high earning high tax payers of today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    A lot of people seem to think that every birth is a future taxpayer and we should welcome the large numbers. These people are wrong - the poorer, less educated reproduce at a far higher rate - all we are going to get is more poorly educated jobseekers and benefits claimants. And if we cant even find jobs for university leavers, why should we welcome population increases?

  • rate this

    Comment number 430.

    If people do not want to work, they shouldn't force the work like in dark coal ages. Cameron and his cronies want us to take it back to the slavery ages.
    Born to retire concept must be established. We can not force people to work. We can not do that in 21st century. Politicians must work to make people happy. People must not be forced to work in jobs which they do not want to do. Time is changed.


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