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 569.

    The main problem with infrastructure is the fact that everyone is attracted to the one growth area in the country - London. Making the South East of England over populated and swamping resources. If UK Governments were not so centralistic they would have encouraged growth throughout the UK and hence the population would be more dispersed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 568.

    Apologies for giving the impression that I think you're racist: I don't. I mean the widely promulgated view that "the English and British are all workshy scroungers" is racist. This is a myth peddled by some parts of the media and is rarely countered. I've even heard the same views expressed on Radio 4's news programmes without being questioned. There is no evidence to support this view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 567.

    I am white British, but accept immigration as a fact of life. Vikings, romans, normans, it has gone on for centuries. Even when the Battle of Trafalgar took place, the sailors of the British fleet was a mixture of races. If you look at the heroic sailors pictured at the base of Nelson's column you will even seen a black face.It's time people learned to get on together.

  • rate this

    Comment number 566.

    Well its obviously because of all the rain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    I am not sure why this debate always centers around religion, culture and race.

    Is no one else concerned that our population has gone up 400% in 100 years? I dont' really care what race, religion, cultural background or nationality that number is comprised of, I am just concerned that this is an awful lot of peopl for our infrastructure to support.

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    I seem to recall Ghandi saying of the British in India that they should just go."

    He meant that the British should no longer be ruling India by force without the consent of its people. I am unaware of anyone foreign ruling Britain by force since 1066 apart from the foreign backed coup d'etats of 1399, 1461, 1470, 1471, 1485 and 1688.

  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    Resolve immigration NOW. Upper/middle classes encouraged multi-culturalism for a mix of liberal and cheap labour reasons and were happy with that whilst affecting poorer residential areas only...they didn't have to live with the consequences. Now affecting all areas inc. rural....are you so happy now ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    Too much population growth ; not enough investment in basic services and infrastructure .
    This will lead to social unrest regardless of the quick fix of cheap labour

  • rate this

    Comment number 561.

    So many right-wing colonialist members on one forum.
    When they want cheap goods or cheap holidays or cheap meals they want to use cheap labour sourced from over-populated nations.
    When they want professional labour they want poor nations to train staff for them and then want to cream them.
    When they want control of resources such as oil they bomb them.
    They just can't compete on level terms

  • rate this

    Comment number 560.

    I think you make the anti-immigration case very well. Why stop at 75m? Why not 320m or more? Your line of argument appears to be its not for the people to decide just let them keep coming just as long as the rich and powerful can maintain their position in the world.

    I bet our ancestors must be wondering why they bothered struggling for a better future for their decendants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 559.

    eastern EU population going down???

  • rate this

    Comment number 558.

    If you look at the birthrate trends of native UK citizens, it is that more educated ppl with professional jobs have fewer children than ill-educated ppl who do not work at all.

    The high birthrate amongst the latter does not mean that future taxpayers are being bred; rather, it is that there will be even more feckless ppl to support when they become the next generation of long term unemployed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 557.

    Don't worry, censorship is alive and well in the UK.

    We all need to wake up to a fact. There is a great population shift happening in the world. The big danger is when cultures come into a country and trample all over the idiginous one. In Wales those not welcome are those who want to change Welsh culture into a poor imitation of their own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 556.

    The people who did the census think this figure is accurate, I don't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 555.

    @48. Thewebbers

    Thank you for bring racism into the thread. But I think you'll find it's all the youth of all groups. The government had bred a benefit dependant generation, with no jobs the only way for them to "make" money is to have kids and received child support, council housing and other benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 554.

    Can the people who are saying immigration is not to blame, please go and take a quick look at the top 10 places in the UK which have seen the largest population increase. It undermines your argument somewhat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 553.

    515.Lindy Louise
    I still take offence at being called racist. It is fact that some foriegn workers can get a wage here higher than their own country, but lower than we Brits are prepared to work for. That is not racist, it is a global economic fact. Oh, btw, I now earn half that I did 4 yrs ago due to 2 redundancies, but I found work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 552.

    why did people vote tory,the ecconomy?worse now,crime?worse now?immigration?higher now.my wife is a nurse and after no payrise for 3 yrs,pension cuts and having to work longer.she has now been told she may get a paycut as she lives in the north west.the rich get richer under this lot.plenty of money for war in afghan,i dont hear nobody calling cameron a war criminal,troops still coming home dead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    for ever hard working immigrant we should trade 2 lazy uk citizens in exchange . what better way to fix country. if someone does not contribute why should society support them. either or job less should be set to farms to learn work. ethic

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    I've voted in a lot of elections but as far as I know,I have never been invited to vote for
    a. An overstretched NHS
    b. Gridlocked roads
    c. Trains you can hardly squeeze onto
    d. The need for a £billions school building programme
    e. Outbreaks of disease previously eradicated in the UK
    f. New types of organised crime.
    g. Lots of translation services for councils and courts

    Thanks a lot


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