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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  • Comment number 1487.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1486.

    I love the diversity, as long as it is fair. 80% white British yet how many news readers for instance are non white. More than 2 out of 10 that's for sure and this applies in most work areas. Be fair and people will accept.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1485.

    Past statistics do not count for Future Forecasts ...

    Asian economies are rising... they'll all leave soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1484.

    My children were born in Europe.

    I was working in France at the time.

    Guess the xenophobes would want me to go back?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1483.

    I'm appalled by the BBC's perjorative headline, "Norwich is the most godless city in the UK".

    Should it not read, "Norwich is the least religiously deluded city in the UK"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1482.

    1456.David Gardner
    One of the biggest problems is how easy it is to be noble with other peoples lives.

    From the perspective of a native born 20 something looking to to find a job, or a 50 something facing redundancy, or a pensioner who fought a war for this country fearing for their pension in the rising tide of benefits payments, it may not look as rosy. Is their view any less valid?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1481.

    12. Re the shortage in housing.

    Did we not have a Labour government for 13 years who had they done the right thing and put this top of thier agenda we would have such a bad housing shortage today.

    But 'Christian' Tony HAD to do Murdoch's thing and go to War. Add to that tax havens and you can see why we have so few houses.

    Population crisis?

    Or just a failure to PLAN for it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1480.

    How can so many Indian/Pakistanis come here when they are not in the EU?

  • Comment number 1479.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1478.

    When I was a student 25 years ago - my local college had a Jewish society - a latin American student group, gay and lesbian group and a Afro-carribean society. When I jokingly suggested forming a British society for balance - I was goosestepped by the head of the SU. Putting aside the immaturity of youth - I never imagined that one day - this type of divisive people would be running the BBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1477.

    i like this notion that if the foreign borns left we'd starve and wouldnt know how to to live. This liberal hyperbole is ridiculous and bordering on the offensive.
    Let them leave, we'd get on fine - our economy needs to find an organic balance anyway ie paying a proper wage for the work would be a good start. And if there are jobs that we dont do, we'll learn them

  • rate this

    Comment number 1476.

    I'm uneasy about the implications of mass immigration, but it's an integral part of globalisation, which is the regime we live under - and which has enriched an awful lot of people. My personal dilemma is the many people who state,' I'm not racist, but...'. However, when they think they're among friends, the real ugly racism soon starts to emerge. Which makes it hard to discuss the issue calmly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1475.

    I would lay a bet that this one topic attracts the greatest number of postings in BBC web site history (Editor please note) and that those in power will ignore. Politicians are becoming increasingly irrelevant and strength of feeling is mounting about the way our culture is being decimated on the altar of political correctness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1474.

    1440.essex man
    Interestingly white British in London are now an ethnic minority.
    Survival of the fittest? I am a white British Londoner, I don't feel like an ethnic minority at all, I feel I am part of a deliciously spicy multiflavoured multicultural melting pot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1473.

    A vote for Labour means full handover of sovereignty to the EU as well as full immersion into the Euro, and millions more immigrants allowed to flood into Britain with absolutely no thought given to the effect on housing or the strain on the NHS or welfare system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1472.

    A vote on this is long overdue but will we get one or are we no longer a democracy? It would be best without the silly, biased rhetoric from both sides. The real culprits are greedy firms and The City that require unrealistic levels of profit. I saw it in the 60s in Gloucester and that left the city with problems that still have not been fully accomodated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1471.


    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?//

    that you've nothing to say.

  • Comment number 1470.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1469.

    Don't balme the immigrants! Blame the traitors in parliment for letting them in. They should be hung drawn and quartered for treason. GB is dead... we are just waiting for it to keel over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1468.

    If this keeps up, we will be a third world country and India/Pakistan/Africa will have to send aid here.


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