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 1407.

    The statistics are frightening.....in London only 45% are now classed as white British.The same is happening in all our big cities. We have become a minority in our own country. Many immigrants have no intention of integrating. We can't say happy Christmas any more in case we upset those of other faiths. If we dare to raise concerns we are classed as racist. Labour's open door was utter folly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1406.

    All this talk about racism,anti-muslim brigade are nothing to do with the issue in hand, so stop using it as an excuse.
    The country has been flooded and the only way is down unless we take some weight off.
    One more point to cameron,
    United states of soviet russia did not work,
    nor will the united states of soviet europe.

  • Comment number 1405.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1404.

    The argue is absolutely absurd. When anyone gives a different view to the mass immigration policy politicians adhere to why do terms like racist and little Englander get thrown about in an attempt to silence people?
    Most people do not want to eradicate immigration, and see the benefits, it's just we want a SENSIBLE system. Unfortunately the majority seem to have lost their voice on this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1403.

    These stats are Not the Future but the past ...

    Asian economies are Rising !!

    The Asians will LEAVE !!! and you will regret whinging and moaning so much. at 1.8% of the uk, indians make up 30% of NHS doctors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1402.

    Most people who cite Enoch Powell don't know anything about him beyond what they've heard about "that" speech. There is much more to the man, but he was of such an intellect that he definitely wouldn't want your common inarticulate racist to hi-jack what they perceive as his views for their own vulgar purposes

  • rate this

    Comment number 1401.

    Gross immigration is the figure that should be discussed. Net immigration simply masks the population replacement that the UK is undergoing.
    And the census statistics lay this out clear for all to see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1400.

    i am mixed race. My father came over in the 50's and my Mother was born here. I have now become a racist, from no fault of my own. it is rare to hear an English language spoken. If there was ever national service, i would find it hard to know exactly what i'm fighting for. It would be for my family but there is no way i would fight for this country as the identity has been smashed to pieces.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1399.


    Actually probably not. If you read between the lines what you'll find is that a considerable amount of people here are complaining about the "indigenous White British" people becoming a minority. Several have also said they don't mind European immigrants but don't want anybody from the third world here. What does that tell you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1398.

    @1383 Fozzie

    Don't worry: comments are removed for being offensive, not for being just plain stupid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1397.

    1384. Corinthian
    "All we have to do is send the English back home to germany and friesland and there'll be plenty of room for the british !"

    And given we were an uninhabitable island during the last ice age, where should we send the britons back to?

  • Comment number 1396.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1395.

    A big thank you to the following immigrants. Mr Apshankar who treated my cancer, the Spanish Male nurse who dressed the wound. The two Polish guys who fixed my roof late on Saturday afternoon after the recent storm and didn't rip me off our Latvian electrician, my German accountant and everyone at our favourite Bangladeshi restaurant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1394.

    We have a friend who lives in one of the many British ghettoes in Spain. Not only does he not speak Spanish, all his friends are British & all the tradespeople & business contacts he uses are British living out there.
    In winter, he gets Spanish unemployment benefit because his work is seasonal yet he is self-employed. Immigration & unfairness are problems in more countries than just this one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1393.

    This goes a long way to explain why the Social Security budget is out of control. UK-born residents pay into National Insurance as soon as they start work. Some like me pay in for over 40 years and expect to receive the benefits they have paid for. Adults born elsewhere can come to the UK and, depending on circumstances, draw benefits at once - for themselves and their dependants. This has to stop

  • rate this

    Comment number 1392.

    The current range of Editors' Picks do not reflect the popular opinion here. If you read those you would think everyone is very positive in response to this news, however a quick view of the Highest Rated paints an extremely different picture.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1391.

    As usual headlines only tell you half the story. My two grandsons were born in Europe because their parents were working abroad but now live here, so would count in the census. How many UK born people now live in Spain, France, Australia etc. No-one knows because the Government neither counts people in or out if the are EU subjects, unlike Sweden where everyone has to register.

  • Comment number 1390.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1389.

    I actually find that definition offensive, I'm white British, however my grand children would not be. British is British for goodness sake!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1388.

    @1371 Steve

    All those that thought multi-culturalism was good wanted this. They are to blame for encouraging such policies.


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