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 469.

    430 @BritishMigrantsParty "People must not be forced to work in jobs which they do not want to do."

    Fair enough - as long as they're not expecting any benefits, free housing, or any other state handouts funded by those of us who DO choose to work, that's fine.

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    No doubt this rise is fuelled by the desire to drive every working wage down to the lowest common denominator by flooding the labour market. Right now in my industry I see there is a drive on to bring IT specialists in from India because IT workers here are paid too much (there is no skill shortage, 20% of Computer Science graduates are unemployed).

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    Re more immigration. What happens when the new immigrants get old and in turn need more people topay for them in their dotage? Govs need to learn to think long term not in short term fixes

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    I wonder at the accuracy of the Census.My partner and I took an extended break in South America for four months and returned just five days after the Census.On reading the form and calling to check it became apparent that because I didn't own a property here (I have rented all my adult life in London) we did not fall into any category. So we cease to exist until 2021! Ten year tax break? Dream on!

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    We need hundreds of thousands of more migrants to enter Britain and do the vacant jobs that Britains are either too lazy or too unwilling to take.

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    I wonder how many people saying we have too many people are volunteering to leave themselves...? I suppose we could blame immigration because although that has much less of an impact than population growth at least it provides us with an easily identifiable scapegoat...Comments on articles like this are always depressing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    2 Minutes ago
    "You don't want to contribute, fine, we won't let you die."

    Why not? When a component in a computer becomes useless you don't let it sit there being broken while depreciating the ability of the rest of the machine.

    People who are too lazy or too stupid to fend for themselves we can do without and should have to support. I resent having to pay NI as it is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    Britain's dictators have been committing crime against Humanity across the world and against British people.Poor British families have been broken up, children separated from their parents, husbands separated from their wives, vice versa, in order to buy more diamonds for Monarch Dictator's jewellery collection.
    Cruelty against Humanity can not go on like this, perpetrators must be prosecuted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    I will be starting my own pro-immigration party ready for the next election. Vote for us if you want higher house prices and unemployment, reduced standard of living and dramatic increase in violent crime. On the plus side, wage costs at your local Costa Coffee will see substantial reductions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    Recipe for disaster. Too many people with not enough to do.

  • Comment number 459.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.

    @ 113
    You say we need more immigration to pay for health and welfare. The part your not realising however is that, yes it will bring in more taxes, but it will also mean there are more people for those taxes to be shared between, so you are no better off than when you started.

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    England's green & pleasant Land? Change that to England's grey & ugly concrete conurbation within 50 years.

    I have nothing against immigrants who wish to come here - it's only natural that they would want to improve their lives but it is a simple matter of numbers. The total influx, combined with the current birthrate of non-EU migrants is far too high. There is no use in denying it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    I suspect that a high number of Eastern European migrants staying in this country have not registered on the census as witnessed by the declining population of the eastern Bloc countries in comparison and that an incomplete picture exists about the asian population. An increase in population of 3.7 percent does not equal increase in housing need of 15 million units allowing for changes in habits

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    Thank god for the British Empire! I sold my 3 bed house (just myself living there) and left the UK. The coulple that bought it were imagrants that now have 8 children plus two sets of parents that arrived two years after they moved in. So I'm NOT at all surprised by these numbers. It's just part of how the world shifts. Some looking for a better/easier way of life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    In your previous article on the subject you state "Racial mixing is, of course, a controversial subject" really?, I'm sure it's only controversial to a narrow minded minority! you infer that racial mixing is about colour mix rather than cultural differences. As an average working class Briton I'm concerned the media consider skin tone to be wildly more controversial than it actually is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    the statistics give you rough idea of the population and also
    an idea why British workers cant get jobs because
    they where stolen by undercutting immigrants

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    #386 therealist and others
    Am I the only one on HYS who is fed up of racist slurs such as this? Many people on HYS promulgate racist gibberish against Britain's indigenous population and get away with it. The English/British are not all workshy spongers and good-for-nothings. Your attitude is racist and offensive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    The increasing population of this country is madness. We are a net importer of food, a net importer of energy, we have had water shortages, we have housing shortages, the roads are clogged up completely and we have millions unemployed. This country is heading for long term disaster.

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    You can't ignore the fact that everyone (immigrants and non-immigrants alike) who has more than two children with one partner is contributing to the problem. In its most simplistic form, zero population growth means two children for every couple. This should be rewarded, rather than rewarding people financially for having > 2 children. Child benefit should be stopped at 2 children.


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