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 147.

    The Daily Mail may concentrate on the small % of immigrants who end up claiming benefits. A much higher percentage pay taxes to support our lazy 'native' Brits and their sense of entitlement and reliance on the welfare state. Immigrants tend to come from countries where you work hard or you suffer. It's the British attitude towards work and our benefits culture which is corrupting some of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Come one. Come all. Welcome to the land of milk and honey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    Atleast the white government can pay benefits and get away with it now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Thats an awful lot of school places,doctors patients and so on. The point is not one of racial origin but of pressure on our system. We can tolerate and welcome immigrants as people but our system is not designed to cope with that kind of influx. My 'problem' is not with the immigrants but the buffoons who allow them to settle here and then worry about our infrastructure and its ability to cope.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    Until we leave the EU we have no control over our borders. I have no problem with immigration when it's necessary to help our country, but the open door policy we have had for the last 20 years needs to be stopped. The population of England has grown by almost 4 million people in 10 years, where have we housed all these people and where do we house everybody if we carry on at the same rate?

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Immigration has occurred in the past ie Hugenots but in relatively small numbers to the indigenous population. Furthermore immigrants shared a common European culture to a degree. This is not the case anymore with mass uncontrolled immigration from around the globe. And it is deleterious to the country with pressure on the environment and infrastructure not a great benefit at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    These figures are very worrying, and purely from the point of view that we cannot, as a nation, sustain the current levels of immigration and nothing is being done about it.

    Our health service, our transport infrastructure, our housing, our energy supplies are all at breaking point.

    Something needs to be done and it needs to be done NOW

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Why are people flooding into this Country?

    Because we are tolerant of other Races.
    Because we are tolerant of other Religions.
    Because we are tolerant of Gay people.
    Because many of us want to see same sex marriages.
    But sadly many people come from, and believe in Religions that have exactly the opposite view on the above.
    I guess its called a Christian outlook.. and i'm an atheist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    When does it stop?

    When white people are only 50%? USA are there already. 30%?
    20%? 2%?

    Genocide - the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    This (and the previous) Government goes on and on and on about the need to build more houses. Destroying green belt land, threatening our resources and destroying our beautiful land. Why? Because we don't have enough housing apparently - of course we don't when we keep allowing immigration on such ridiculous levels. This isn't racist - it's simple facts. We are full up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    UKIP is the only NONE RACIST PARTY.

    The Cons, LibDems and LAbour all subscribe to the EU view that all, predominately white Europeans can come and settle but predominately NON WHITE have to go through strict procedure.

    UKIP say, "Treat every one equally with a points system, just like USA and Australia.

    If we need certain professions (not likely) give them extra points.

    Works well Canada.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    What bothers me is the pressure it has put on housing. Any remaining inner city open spaces are in great danger of being 'rubber stamped' for unwanted housing projects.
    I just don't believe that the resulting housing boom will solve our economic problems, though one or two individuals might do nicely out of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Glad to see a reduction in Christianity. Maybe there is a god after all.

    Oh. hang on a minute...... :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    I don't understand why people are so upset.

    London is a horrible place, I doubt anybody would actually live there if they had a choice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    @114. ChubbyPandas
    people like you are the reason the white british population is declining

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    // Spindoctor

    Opening this subject for discussion and debate, is making a rod for your own back BBC.
    Expect to get all the closet racists out in droves, the Daily Mail Crowd and the EDL, BNP etc.//

    The real racists are the ones who argue that we are too lazy to work and our culture is so crap that any culture we import enriches it. In short, the pro-immigration brigade.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    No wonder the country is bursting at the seems, our NHS is struggling to cope, we have over 2 million out of work and over the past 10 years we invested in very little.

    Its about time we put these extra people to work in building things we need - housing, transport etc etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    so should all english people who live/work abroad have to speak the local language too? that would mean thousands being evicted from spain etc as most english use "shout and point" as a second language!

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    That's it, we're all going to hell in a handcart. Where's my copy of the Daily Mail?

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    Whether you like it or not matters little. Diversity of population be it race, religion, lifestyle or culture is is a reality and ever more so. No going back. So broaden your horizons, educate yourself on other cultures, be tolerant. Expect the same of others. This is the best way to deal with it, or be prepared to live a frustrated, angry and belligerent life.


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