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 107.

    The objective of the census is to measure the population presumably for the development of public services and the economy.

    We can see all our problems writ large in these statistics: too many people. Add into that the absence of not enough even badly paid work and no money: you have a recipe for trouble.

    To say we have lost the plot is a reasonable statement. How we go forward is the question?

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Greater diversity can only be a good thing, it will help to foster tolerance and give people a wider perspective on the world. It seems odd that people say that the British are dying or losing through this. What are they afraid of? That we won't be the right colour? The ethnic base of Britain has always been changing. Are we Roman, Norse, French, Viking?

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    My country has changed. For the better, I'm not really that sure. I do know that we were seen as the Land of Milk and Honey and Boy Oh Boy have I seen the system milked. To those who have milked it Good Luck! To those who have allowed it to be milked, you are still in denial. Am I a realist or a bigot? Answer: Just an ordinary Joe aware of his surroundings!

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Immigration can be a benefit, it saved the USA from Mr Romney, who knows what it will do to Mr Cameron.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    We are fast becoming the minority in our own country. If we are to avoid race war and mass deportations 20 years down the line something must be done now. Perhaps implement a"one child" policy for immigrant families?

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Immigration is fine if managed,and integration is obligatory.But this wave of incomers are forming their own communities and removing themselves from the indigenous population for a reason. Rabble Rousers are blaming foreigners for stealing jobs etc. Government policy is the reason for lack of employment. We have indigenous people who sit on benefits all their life as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Until we have no more than a handful of unemployed, we should not accept any further immigrants. We are allowing some unemployed Brits to choose not to work and at the same time immigrants (who to be fair do work very hard) are sending their wages home, and we then pay THEM benefits when the work dries up. No wonder there is no money left in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    I also live in a rural area with a great sense of community, plenty of space, no traffic jams and a very low crime rate. If this country was a democracy, which it isn't, immigration would have been controlled and there would be far less of a divide between the rich and the poor, with more of the finite resources (such as land, housing, existing infrastructure, natural resources...) to go round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Post 73. I'm no fan of Mr Cameron but it is ludicrous to blame this problem on him. This went out of control under NuLab-everyone except you knows that.

  • Comment number 98.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    I still want to know how the colour of my hide influences in any way my need for public services.

    I need roads, healthcare, education, law enforcement and defending... and so does every citizen irrespective of ethnicity. So why ask?

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    54. Carse
    What is this obssesive repitition of the word, "Daily Mail,"

    I'll tell you what it is, it's a subtle attempt to stifle debate and tar people with opposing views as extremists. You will notice that posters have also started trying to connect 'UKIP' with 'racist' too. They can't debate their way out of an issue so they just throw mud at people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    As a NON London / South East British Person (Born in the UK and lived here most of my life)

    This is nothing new, I knew this long ago, standing in the Supermarket with a queue of Eastern Europeans in front of me it was blatantly obvious, the same at the Doctors, the Dentists, the Hospital, the Local Council when trying to get my Housing Benefit sorted.

    Queue's full of Lat's Pol's and and Lith's

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    4.8 million people hold a foreign passport: 2.3 million from the EU and 2.4 million from outside the EU
    0.1 million hold passports for either The Moon, The 12th century or an alternate reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    Surely this is to be expected? We have never been more global as a people. I can be in Poland in a couple of hours for £30 or Australia in 24 for £700. The boundaries of movement are far less and people move in and out all the time.

    As an aside, I don't really understand the issue. If you like the same things as me and have similar views I couldn't give a fig where you were born.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Between 1861 and 1911 the number of Italian-born people in Britain increased by 600%. The country survived and now you can't tell the difference between us descendants and Middle England, except that we probably eat more pasta.
    I'm interested in Mr. Casciani's origins. Rome? Lucca? There's no angle to my question. Just interested.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    These statistics bear witness to my daily reality living in London. It is right for the government to try and cap migration. More focus needs to be placed upon getting people moving to this country to assimilate, to respect its' culture, its' values and observe them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    Note, they speak of residents born outside the UK. What about showing the number of children born to immigrants in the UK in the past 10 years. I bet this figure would be high.

    I worry that we all live on top of each other now and the infrastructure can't cope. There must be a breaking point?

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Just now
    I'm emigrating soon. Enjoy your fake wealth via house price ramping!

    I'd like my kids to have a future - and the UK is not going to deliver that.


    If everybody whose ever posted that on a comments section actually went through with it, there would be no problem with oevr population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    I used to work with some Polish lads..even they found our system crazy, they could apply for working family tax credit here and not back home in Poland

    , they were paying tax here - were in the UK tax system & entitled to tax credits whereas they weren't paying tax in Poland so wouldn't be entitled to their equivalent


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