Census shows rise in foreign-born


The BBC's Mark Easton says London is "a truly international city"

The number of foreign-born residents in England and Wales has risen by nearly three million since 2001 to 7.5 million people, the 2011 census shows.

That means about one in eight - 13% - of residents were born outside the UK.

The most common birthplaces outside the UK for residents are India, Poland and Pakistan. The number of ethnic white British people is down to 80%.

London has become the first region where white British people have become a minority.

Some 45% (3.7 million) of people in the capital described themselves as white British, down from 58% (4.3 million) in 2001.

The Office for National Statistics said the findings showed a "diverse" and "changing" picture.

More than half the rise in the population of England and Wales was due to migration.

Alp Mehmet, from Migration Watch, said the figures showed "how absolutely essential it is that we bring immigration under control".

He told BBC Radio 4's World at One that society must consider "the housing that's going to be needed, the schools that are going to be needed, the roads".

If people wanted "new arrivals" to be integrated, "then for goodness sake we can't have them arriving at this sort of scale", he added.

Graph showing the population of England and Wales born outside the UK since 1971

But Sunder Katwala, director of British Future - an independent think tank on migration - said people had "an absolute moral responsibility to make our society work as a shared society".

Guy Goodwin, ONS: "Census shows diverse population."

"The question of do you want this to happen or don't you want this to happen implies that you've got a choice and you could say 'let's not have any diversity'," he told the BBC News website.

"This is who we are - it's inevitable."

Guy Goodwin, from the Office of National Statistics, told BBC News: "It's a really changing picture so the 2011 census population will go down as a diverse population compared with 2001."

In other findings:

Voluntary question

The census also shows that, while fewer people own their own home, more people own it outright.

Just under 15 million households owned their own home in 2011, either with a mortgage or loan, or outright - down 4%.

The 2011 census shows beyond any doubt that the UK is now in the midst of an astonishing era of demographic change due to globalisation.

Parts of the country are witnessing such rapid flows and movements of people that they are becoming super-diverse - home to many different people from many different backgrounds.

If you want just a snapshot of that rapid change - look at Boston in Lincolnshire.

In 2001, it was home to fewer than 1,500 people born abroad - and because of a statistical quirk many of those are thought to have been people born to parents once stationed with the British Army in Germany.

Today, almost 10,000 people born abroad call Boston home - and it has more Polish residents than any other local authority outside of the South East. The 2011 census confirms what people see around them.

However, those who owned their home outright increased two percentage points from 29% (6.4 million) to 31% (7.2 million).

The group that rented from a private landlord or letting agency increased by six percentage points from 9% (1.9 million) in 2001 to 15% (3.6 million) in 2011.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said the figures "confirm that home ownership is slipping further and further out of reach, no matter how hard people work or save".

Last year there was an average of 12 cars for every 10 households - up on 11 cars per 10 households in 2001. London was the only region where the number of vehicles was lower than the number of households.

The 2011 Census results for Scotland are drawn up separately by the Scottish government and are being released on Monday.

This year's questionnaire was sent to about 26 million households in England and Wales on 27 March last year and was compulsory to fill in.

The only voluntary question in the census related to religion and allowed people to declare themselves to be Christian (all denominations), Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, of no religion or to list themselves as belonging to any other faith.

The census - which is used to plan public services - is carried out every 10 years, during which the public are asked questions about their jobs, health, education and ethnic background

Last year was the first time people could fill in the form online.

non-UK born residing in the UK

More on This Story

Census 2011 results

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  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    The result of this HYS should give a good indication of the tolerant nature of contributors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    The BBC love an article like this.

    It drags a very small minority of right wing extremists out of their caves so that anyone that is remotely conservative caring about family values & hard work gets tarnished with the same brush.

    Let's all get along with each other, pull together & work as a team. Anyone that is a legal resident is part of the team.

    We proved we could do it during the Olympics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    No real surprise, just look at the types of people in our Towns & cities. Immigration/migration is a mess, we have mass unemployment and have down for more than 30 years, our prisons are full, we have a housing crisis, our welfare system is stretched beyond its limit. this begs the question "why are still flooding in?"

  • Comment number 44.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    These numbers represent no surprise whatsoever. And with this country's immigration policy remaining as it is this trend will continue unabated. Still, this is what you can expect living in a "multicultural" society

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Well it's that thing that people said would happen, that they were labelled racist for talking about.

    How about that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    We true brits are in thr decline and I foresee us being taken over by these foraigners, also religeon will change and god help us then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    At the present rate of decline, the UK will be Christian-free in about 80 years time! Might even be lucky enough to see Christianity marginalised in to irrelevance in my lifetime - all according to the 2001-2011 Census trend . . .

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    //eith Burtons
    because big business demand cheap labour. And why would that be ? Because we as consumers demand cheaper prices for our goods and services. So in a way, we are ALL to blame for Britain's population increase. ./

    Don't teflon this. Mass immigration was only ever wanted by big biz and their useful idiots on the left. Blame big biz, the BBC, Labour, not the general public.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Said they would take over and they are fast approaching the time when they will. God help our decendents!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    OK, so we live in Scotland now instead of England, but I spent 3+ years in England with my born-and-raised-in-England husband before we moved up here, so I'm gonna comment. I'm foreign-born. I'm also naturalised British (for several years). Reading some of these comments, I feel more unwelcome in the UK than I ever have over the past decade+ that I've lived here. Thanks, folks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    19. Keith Burtons
    If the population is growing due to immigration, that would be because big business demand cheap labour. And why would that be ? Because we as consumers demand cheaper prices for our goods and services. So in a way, we are ALL to blame for Britain's population increase. I expect to receive down arrows for pointing out this fact.
    How many big businesses do we Brits still own?

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    So for the first time EVER, White British are now the minority in London. It had to happen. It was only a matter of time. Well done Labour. I hope you're happy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    We urgently need a proper written constitution, and only those who make a pledge to uphold its values should be eligible for nationality.

    This should have been addressed 60 years ago, but it is not too late.

    It's a pity however, that this country was instrumental in scuppering the EU one, which could have served in this role.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I fear it won't be long until the loonies at both ends of the political spectrum find something to whine about in these figures. London is no longer a white British majority population [shock, horror], Brighton and Norwich increasingly Godless [scandalous] ... these stats just foment ill-feeling and give ammunition to those crazies who would use it to prove their own Fascist manifesto.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Yup, there all polish and latvians and live in peterborough :/

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    When does immigration become colonisation? Will England (and it is, for the moment, England) still be the same country when its people are in a minority. Looking at other countries who have experienced this the answer is 'no'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    I used to work with some Polish lads, really nice blokes,who I do not have a single bad word to say about.But even they found our system crazy, they could apply for working family tax credit here and not back home in Poland.You cannot blame them as it is the system that makes the UK so appealing to immigrants, that is why they go through Europe to get here.The headline encourages Xenophobia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Some quite startling statistics in this, with massive implications for the economy, housing, and health and social care sectors. Don't get me wrong, there are positives in this as well as the obvious negatives that will surely follow from the anti-foreigner brigade. On the whole, I welcome migration, as long as it is within the rules. It brings diversity, culture and a vibrancy to the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    But how many Jedi or Sith for the religion question ?


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