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 509.

    We all came from somewhere and display a wide set of genetic characteristics. Immigration is sold as a fear by governments as "you will lose everything as a result of immigration". After reading some xenophobic comments on this forum, I ask myself how easily some of you are scared through your views & apportioning blame to those who want to better their own lives and those of their family.

  • rate this

    Comment number 508.

    Israel Barnett
    ": people working now are paying for the benefits you have or will have in the future. if there is no population growth...who`s gonna pay the bill then?"

    So every rise in population requires and even bigger rise in population to sustain it. Just when does it end/? The only asnwer is a more prosperous population .

  • rate this

    Comment number 507.

    Well lets hope the recession gets real, and bad enough for the immigrants to leave for greener pastures. Seems the Governments wont get rid of them. Give me poverty and my nation back. Let us at least die content. Not victims of invasion we were prevented from laying down our lives repelling, by our own so called governments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 506.

    Is anyone surprised by this? The Labour Party was determined to make the indigenous Britons a minority within a generation. Blair even boasted that he was going to 'smash the forces of Conservatism', coded words for our traditional, British way of life. Record non-EU immigration means they have probably achieved this objective. Thank you Mr Blair for ruining my country. You are beneath contempt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 505.

    I think most people on the whole appreciate we need a certain level of controlled professional immigration. The fact is we've been failed by a succession of Politicians who are increasingly isolated from the real world. How difficult can it be to protect an island where you pretty much know where people are going to try and enter?

    We as a country have to start watching our 'leaders' like hawks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 504.

    Some posts suggest the UK population endures worse living conditions than in the past.

    Even in the 70's many, if not most, families didn't have colour tv's, central heating, carpets or even cars. Many homes were damp.

    I get the feeling the source of resentment in many is more to do with WHO ie COLOUR and ORIGIN rather than numbers.

    Relative living conditions are linked to competitiveness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.

    The population density of England inparticular is reaching it's limit you cannot just build on all land because large parts are needed for farming and food security with this size of population aswell as industry inaddtion much land is national park and nature reserve for wildlife and other important habitats. Germany does have 80million but it's 3 times the size of England.

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    Globally,the population challenge will replace notions abt "Quantity of people present" with "Quality of Life" principles ("Live How?"). For in Health, the key to being well & having well-being is Moderation.What appears at 1st to be a regulation issue ("how many to allow?") is in fact an Education issue: We have to re-teach&re-learn how to live Well for longer, retiring later in Good condition.

  • Comment number 501.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 500.


    Your leftist rhetoric will not find an apologist in me.

    I made precisely the same comment re the Industrial Revolution see 476 and I'm a Lefty so the above comment means what exactly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    Calculation not taken into account re modern immigration, they have paid nothing in ! also how many brits live in Eastern Europe etc. the imballance should be made up financially by the EU but the idiots yes idiots running this Country let them off with it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    PC example
    1. Area with biggest population growth - Tower Hamlets.
    2. Ethnic make up of TH - 56% non-white, 30% Bangla Desh.
    3. Tuberculosis incidence is on the increase and one of the biggest places for this is ...Tower Hamlets.
    My PC example is this. The BBC and the political class NEVER link items 1,2,3 above but only ever mention them in isolation.
    Meanwhile, the NHS is overstretched..

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    it is interesting how the comments are mostly based on emotion rather than reasoning here. they talk of the UK being far too small for so many people, but here on the BBC website there are articles saying otherwise. bear in mind: people working now are paying for the benefits you have or will have in the future. if there is no population growth...who`s gonna pay the bill then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    482.fishy pete
    Immigrants largely support the NHS too as, nurses, cleaner, doctors etc. A very bad example of the effects of immigration.
    The wealth was still off the backs of the women and children down the pits, at the cotton mill etc etc. The empire provided the markets and the raw materials. Your rightist rhetoric only proves you've a one-eyed skew.

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.

    I take it that as you don't like paying NI you don't use the NHS or other public services funded by that tax. We pay tax so that those who can't can still access services. We are not America yet thank god.

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    When will a government come out and simply state our system is a ponzi scheme in clear words people can understand.
    Immigration rises to fund retirement benefits - the other choice is low immigration and start reducing old age benefits and increasing retirement age. Which is it people want? because reading these HYS few seem to understand the phrase mutually exclusive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    If you examine the "Census animation: 100 years of growth" graphic above on the right hand side, you can see that a demographic collapse right ahead of Britain. People at the age of 40 to 50 peaks, from now on population will be on free fall, if you look at the bottom you can clearly see there aren’t enough people to sustain current level. Demographic catastrophe right ahead of us. WARNING.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    Immigration should be no more than 50K a year tops. It has to be 0 for the next 10 years to sort out the current mess. If we have 60 million plus in the UK, with a decent education system, we should be able to find people with the correct skills, for all vocations. Allowing immigration to create Labour voters or for big business to exploit cheap Labour is unacceptable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    5 Minutes ago

    You're right, nationality doesn't set work ethic. largely it should be a personal thing.

    However I, like many employers I know, have repeatedly had bad experiences with young "British" "workers".

    Young Brits deserve a chance, but so many throw it away you can't help but play it safe with someone you know will not need replacing in three weeks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.

    I'm puzzled why half the increase in population is in Northern Ireland, is it due to immigration from the Republic?


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