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 127.

    Bloody Britons. Going over there and taking thier jobs

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    5 Minutes ago

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

    Be OK if it was a level playing field

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    We should be proud how we've been able to absorb so many people and that people still want to come to the UK. The last decade saw a sharp increase in immigration, probably because communication and travel became cheaper and accessible.

    Don't expect this to continue as technology and money is reaching growing economies, and in 10 years' time we might even see a migration the other way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    This is over-population as a world problem.
    Any laws preventing migration will disastrously effect the capitalistic labour chain, leading to economic depression. Scrap capitalism, which is what drives the move towards over-population and assures the continuing supply of cheap labour. Then reward birth-control policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    This is an invasion.. makes me sick, between the Labour Party and the EU this country has been utterly destroyed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    So, why is it so easy to immigrate to the UK, and so difficult for a British Citizen, bred and born, to emigrate? For that is what this statistics show.
    If anyone from the US would like to swap places with me, feel free.

  • Comment number 121.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    Could someone describe what an "indigenous" population is for the UK please? Is it the neo-lithic population (thought to have come from Asia?), is it the Celts (central/eastern Europe), Romans? Saxons? French? Dutch? Spanish (plenty of armada survivors in Scotland).
    Do we need to prove ancestry back - how do we do this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    Re 34, Whats Labour got to do with this, immigration was in long before labour came into power back in the forty,s when Torys. ruled, course I bet you wernt born then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    whhooo hoooo here we go :-)....out come the right wing>>>>

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    If these figures are anywhere near correct, isn't it time to stop the Church of England's involvement in Parliament and law making?

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    The Secret of Immigration is that without it our economy would collapse.

    Our economic pyramid where the 1% suck out the nation's blood only works if you add more people at the bottom ... that is why immigration happens.

    It is not an "accident".

    The borders didn't get sloppy by "accident".

    It is all intended to be like this so the 1% can get stinking rich.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    Well isn't that just lovely... British people a minority in the Capital City.

  • Comment number 114.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Time to celebrate our diversity, I agree. But also to put the race-related figures into socio-economic context by showing how they correlate with income levels, joblessness, home-ownership, etc. And as for we atheists: don't these figures show that the slanting of the census question in favour of answers affirming a religious affiliation (that Humanists campaigned against) was outrageous?

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    While the census may show us the changing demographic in the UK this forum is certainly highlighting that xenophobic idiots have access to the internet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Interesting figures, especially for members and followers of UKIP and others. There is a massive potential for internal strife in these figures unless something is done to address dangerous discontents. In the current economic climate the clarion call for all is the benefits system. Overhaul that and go a long way to preventing many of the ills and problems we face.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    @ 61

    What % of people didn't fill in the census?

    Those that don't speak English."

    Nonsense. The census form was available in 57 languages precisely to address that issue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    12.Bauer "The simple fact is that the last thing this tiny island needs is a massive increase in population"

    That's cool because I thought our taxation rate was driving people away, if the rightwing rags are to be believed. If foreigners are born here it doesn't mean they are British or that they stay here. It smells of electioneering to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    It is a bad thing. Living in London and seeing the general decline in certain areas. Areas that have now been turned into shanty towns. Especially East London. What exactly could the positives be? Please enlighten me. People like you, Little_Old_Me, are the exact reason why this has happened. I'd be interested to hear where you live. Nowhere near London I'm guessing...


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