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 187.

    Can someone justify Labour's decision not to limit immigration when millions of people were already out of work. Many many people warned on the problems being stacked up for the future in terms of housing issues and strains on services. Of course they were just labeled bigots by Gordon Brown and his like. It is beyond belief that this same party is now ahead again in the poles!

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.


    I don't think we have ever had a socialist government in Britain.

    I think you mean a Labour government. Labour is more a middle class social party than a socialist party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    I have no problem with anyone coming to live in the UK providing they are able to support themselves and are not a drain on the welfare system.
    What does annoy me is those who do come and are not prepared to embrace the British way of life.
    Perhaps they should try the USA where they would find getting a visa to live there is more difficult than finding your way out a maze while blindfolded.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    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!//

    Ah that classic pc racist 'all immigrants are great, apart from English ones...

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    No such growth can carry on much longer, unless accompanied by a corresponding decrease in the indigenous born population.
    Pressure on housing, roads, water, sewage treatment and other infrastructure will see to that.
    Like at nightclub with a capacity limit for fire safety, immigration policy should be "one out-one in" .

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    137.Steve Richards - "......The predominately white Europeans can come and settle but predominately NON WHITE have to go through strict procedure....."

    You seriously need to check out the definition of "racist" - what you describe does not even remotely fit the bill.....nations are not races ergo there is no racism in that policy....

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Multiculturalism is Apartheid

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    The decline in home ownership bothers me - this makes me fear that in a subtle way as a nation the population is becoming poorer.

    It is not good just to provide cheap housing - we also need to make more able to afford to own their own houses.

    Taxes have to fall on essentials so we can keep the money we earn and there have to be greater taxes on landlords to reduce their demand for property

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    The problem is not the make-up of the population; the problem is the population itself. There are already far too many people for this country to feed, house and supply with amenities without immense environmental destruction and huge expense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    On a small overcrowded island if ever there was a policy stance of utter stupidity it was "open door" immigration.
    As many of these posts show it has stoked resentment and is undermining our welfare state.
    On the basis of this experience Labour cannot be trusted with control of our borders again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    Interesting isn't it when a Billionaire Monarch (paid by Civil List) and ruling under Feudal Systems announces a birth - people rejoice, even though the child will have great grandparents of foreign extraction. The bunting and the colourful Mugs are sold. If a mere coloured Pleb is born - oh no, not another addition to the UK's Welfare Benefits culture! Talk about hypocrisy!

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    #104 - Immigration 'saved' the USA from Romney?? What you actually mean is 93% of the non-white population of America voted for Obama. One of the the most racist elections of all time, besides the previous one, where 96% of the non-white population voted for him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    Government policies over the years have always been tuned for grabbing votes and the last Labour Government has admitted publically that it encouraged mass immigration to get votes, regardless of the cost to the people or the infrastructure problems. Politicians should hang their heads in shame for the destruction of UK. Muticulturalism is a joke, more like separate isolated communities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    As our life expectancy continues to rise and the birth rate remains low, it is a simple fact that we will need more young immigrant workers to sustain our economy. We simply cannot function when we have so many elderly people to support and so few youths to do the work.

    You can't just board up the country and expect old people to work till they die, and you cannot deny this is a serious issue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Some quite scary statistics here, but as others have said its no real surprise.

    Something has to change though as we can't continue down this same route forever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    London is a net contributor to the economy, whereas much of the rest of the UK doesn't seem to be doing very much. Is it a coincidence that where there are immigrants there is more productivity ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Dera old codger can you not accept that the vast majority of new migrants deliver nothing to society except to replace higher paid British workers thus giving the tax payer a bigger burden than before. As a long time labour voter I now consider the future of our realm would be better under the control of either UKIP or I hate to say it the Torys. Diversity PAH!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Multiculturalism 1 Britishness 0

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    So, that's it then. The UK finished and swamped. And no, it's not racist to be very very concerned about this. Our countryside is under threat next because "we have to build" - and we know who for.

    This cesspit is close to collapse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    Before this country turns into another Yugoslavia take note politicians. We don't want quotas, we don't want limits; we want the most damaging aspect of social policy to befall this country completely reversed.


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