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 1167.

    @1147 I agree entirely. It seems that for some people if you're not a frothing-at-the-mouth uneducated xenophobe that automatically makes you 'left-wing'. The amount of whinging about 'foreigners' in these comments is amazing! Maybe these people should stop moaning about things and do something constructive instead (like get an education).

  • rate this

    Comment number 1166.

    Several people saying we need immigrants. No! What we need is to develop and encourage the unemployable underclass created by Labour as they firmly rejected the indigenous work force thru a 3 prong attack. 1. Encourage jobs to be exported. 2. Actively encourage wage deflation so that those commitments & working cannot compete with imported labour. 3. Replace vocational training with noddy degrees

  • Comment number 1165.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1164.

    Time to get a grip, fandans! One world, one love! Be angry and hateful all you want, but be prepared to get nowhere and enamour no-one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1163.

    1148. trueblue550

    I believe americans have been calling it Londonistan for years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1162.

    I am not surprised at all, free NHS for everyone to come here and have children, let's not forget the child benefit. It is a paradise for parents to be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1161.

    Q: This Census poses can and should several different cultures (rather than one national culture) coexist peacefully and equitably in a single country like England?
    The answer for many is a "Yes, but"...i.e. as long as you are not actually English. The Irish, Scots and Welsh want out of the artificial construct called the UK. Is the legacy of self-determinism, payback time for English colonials?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1160.

    Funny how it's all the foreigners that are stealing from us in benefits. People are not really talking about the massive ammounts of cash being stolen from us by the likes of Starbucks, Facebook, Amazon....etc. Open your eyes, the government wants you to hate foreigners so that you're not focussing on the real injustices in our society!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1159.

    Many commentators suggest that more immigration is desirable - may I respectfully ask why?Due to uncontrolled immigration we have created ghetto areas in our cities-due to there being an inability,or unwillingness,to integrate between cultures. Multicultualism exists as a word, and sadly, not really in practice.Racism can go both ways-white/immigrant-and immigrant/white. But that is seldom noted

  • Comment number 1158.

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

  • Comment number 1157.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1156.

    Multiculturalism don't work it just a word politicians use to stay elected.
    Education for woman is what`s needed to keep population grown down.
    Its a proven fact educated woman don't have as many children this is why some religious fanatical groups don't want girls going to school.
    Its time to close our doors and put out the trash.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1155.

    And Boston!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1154.

    @83 - drivel.

    Foreigners may not speak perfect English but they do speak it and often speak other languages too - something we English, as a majority, lack.
    The job issue is economic not immigratory, but hey whatever you can use to push a political bent hey.
    The not talking, not caring less about anyone else and digging heels in about own culture is completely baseless and stereotypical.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1153.

    I doubt most normal people really care about the mix so long as there is integration. People of similar ilk usually drift towards each other though and language barriers do this more than culture. So long as the country can use the extra workforce and it adds value, why get in its way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1152.

    It is fascinating watching the crumbling of the British Empire. You have the castles of Rugby School and Eton continuing as if nothing is happening, I mean what else can they do, the Romans, Greeks, Ghengis Khan could not stop the flow of barbarians after the fall of an Empire. They are welcome here and it is thier country now but you can not steal history.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1151.

    1129.The Ship that died of shame

    You are clearly a left wing neo labour apologist because of you stance on anyone who speaks out against mass immigration/multiculturalism is some how a bigot.

    And I am not Raj I just pointed out that your comment to him exposes some hypocrisy in your political ideology.

    So labour central office have you spreading their propaganda on here today, eh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1150.

    Immigration is not a problem per se. We are all mongrels in some form. However the speed and size of the change makes true integration difficult. Once an immigrant group feel that they have a strong enough community outside of the native society and that they do not need to conform to that society's mores then you have a problem. If you try to Anglicise them you are now an intolerant of some type.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1149.

    Thanks a lot Labour!! and Cons!!

    Labour is a bit of a misnomer and should be reported to trading standards,
    the Cons are aptly named.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1148.

    So now what has been obvious for a while is finally official. London is no longer a British city . I seem to remember Morrisey getting into trouble for saying that - however I handle overseas visitors from US , Canada , and Australia who are glad to get out into the real England so they can go into a proper pub and hear English being spoken! Time for a change of capital.


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