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 1507.

    Hard economic times= blame the immigrants.

    People are so predictable. I've seen a comment saying that the MPs should be "hung, drawn and quartered".

    If anything proves that human beings are not above basic pond life then the subject of immigration or race is it. Actually that's offensive to pond life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1506.

    The loony left, pro mass immigration nutters can call me a racist as much as they like. It is a stone cold fact that no government has EVER asked us if we want mass immigration into the UK. It's been forced upon us by the super rich who don't mind ruining this country so long as they have cheap labour for their factories. They don't care about the crime ridden estates because they don't live there

  • rate this

    Comment number 1505.

    The white British population has fallen 400,000 since 2001, now 80% down from 87%
    400,000 isn't 7% of a population of 56,000,000 - it would be if it were 5.600,000 or did we lose 4,000,000 people.
    mind you statistics isn't my strong point but an someone explain this??

  • rate this

    Comment number 1504.

    the real ugly racism soon starts to emerge. Which makes it hard to discuss the issue calmly"

    Fist to call racism is usually a liberal/guardian reader who doesnt know what theyre talking about - i'm an ethnic minority and i know this first hand.
    The lack of calm is brought about by feckless politicians who wont listen to the population and lefties who shout racist at the drop of a fez

  • rate this

    Comment number 1503.

    Probably cos lots of people like me,who were born an brought up Christian (RC in my case) realised what a sham it all is and that all religions are about power and control (Moslem ,Jews,RC etc) and are based on humans desire to believe their must be something when they die (there isn't) .Being a good person is enough for me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1502.

    @1463...No the Scots want out because they are fed up with not voting Tory but getting Tory anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1501.

    Imagine that.....a pakistani version of Bob Geldof watching his TV , and some starving people in Colchester or Reading are sitting in the gutters on the streets of the UK because they have lost their jobs, lost their houses and immigrants have been given re-housing priority.

    He is in tears and decides to hold a rock concert to raise money for the plight of the British! ....Brit Aid!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1500.

    It's not only white british that are feeling like the minority, it's the English accent that is also the minority. It's just a shame that these views will have absoutley no impact.
    The justice system is weak, immigration is shot to pieces, and we are failing our public sevices, and last of all those who commit crime three times should be shot, job done. Regardless of age or sex.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1499.

    1464 I said where I live in the North of the county. I know they have issues in Boston perhaps the unemployed should be forced off this generous benefits system and then there would be no need for eastern europeans. Why no 18 to 24 year old English person is capable of picking fruit beggers belief reform of the welfare state me thinks.

  • Comment number 1498.

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

  • Comment number 1497.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1496.

    As per usual, the BBC Editor picks are laughable. Mainstream politician's are equally as bad. Nobody asked or debated the issue of mass immigration and it's been rammed onto us for decades. Presently, in regards to the EU, it is totally out of our democratic reach. Immigration should never be a debate about race, but what is best for this country and the public already here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1495.

    I live in zone 4 in the northwest of London and I am always a little surprised to see or hear white British people. We have really lost our culture in many parts of London, and the lack of shared culture means it's a very incohesive society where no-one cares much about anyone else, or indeed about our local area.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1494.

    I see Abu Qatada and his family have just moved into a lovely new house paid for by the tax payer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1493.

    Been closely watching this thread since it started and its pretty evident that there are extreme right wing spammers flooding it with their views trying to make it look like it is the popular opinion. Any comment that criticizes them or makes a positive remark about the stats gets am immediate flood of minus ratings. All you need to post a comment is an email id and anyone can make more than one

  • rate this

    Comment number 1492.

    1458. Steve, as nice as that is, for every one of people like you, there are about half a dozen that are content with sitting on their ass all day not doing a thing..

  • rate this

    Comment number 1491.

    No disrespect intended to genuine legally valid immigrants, but this country is already over populated. The strain on services and housing and healthcare is already showing. Governments have totally lost control of the situation. Get us out of the EU. Dump the EU Statutory Instruments (That's effectively laws that nobody in this country voted for which are just imposed on us). Cry Freedom NOW!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1490.

    There ia absolutely nothing wrong with Britain being a diverse multicultural nation...nothing at all !!

    The problem is we do not have the infrastructure to cope with increasing numbers adding to what is already a crowded room ! In times of austerity when cuts are and have been introduced the gates to Britain should be firmly closed until further notice. Like it or not we don't have the money !

  • rate this

    Comment number 1489.

    Speaking as a British man with a wonderful Polish wife and son, something has to change.

    The vast majority of Poles I speak to think the immigration system here is ridiculous and would oppose it loudly in their home country.

    The govt needs to COUNT people in and OUT. If they can't do that - step aside for people who can, or more to the point, will.

  • Comment number 1488.

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


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