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 1687.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1686.

    This issue is in fact all to do with race or ethnicity. Societies containing multiple different ethnicities are usually far more violent, corrupt, malfunctional. Is because we have such a strong tendency to favour our own that we separate into competing tribes (*always*). This has ensuing economic effects, economy functions less well & less altruism. On a small island = powderkeg (e.g. Sri Lanka)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1685.

    "Well isn't that just lovely... British people a minority in the Capital City."

    No they aren't. White British people are. You can be British and Black or Asian or Inuit or any other heritage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1684.

    Part 2..
    Please leave the diversity and so forth to the countries that were built on it and for it (such as the USA, Canada, and Australia).If Britain will continue on this same path, it will lose its identity and will become a hodgepodge of races and cultures. Respect and PROTECT the heritage before it’s lost!! Sad, sad statistics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1683.

    Stop further immigration immediately or rue the consequences. When the white indigenous population in Leicester and parts of Birmingham, London and Bradford is the minority, because these migrants refuse the integrate then major civil unrest is not far away. The PC brigade and Marxists have caused this and as a result our culture will be engulfed and decimated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1682.

    Sorry, I'm very stupid. Can someone tell me what a mono cultural society would look like and if there are any examples of them I could go look at?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1681.

    I can't believe people are utterly condemning multiculturalism here. It has both worked AND failed - an example of failure is when communities become Ghettoised. People complaining about minorities representing themselves in markets and shops are totally missing the point - they're in the community, and if they're serving you it's working.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1680.

    China would not have progressed nearly as much over past 20 years if it did not have its 1 child policy, which prevented an extra 400 MILLION being born & ALL the poverty etc that would have gone with it.

    The way to SUSTAINABLE prosperity can ONLY be via sustainable population

    After Gt Famine & plague, majority of people were much much better off, as more resources to share with less people

  • rate this

    Comment number 1679.


  • rate this

    Comment number 1678.

    It looks like the Great Empire lost its country without a fight. What happened to the country that once conquered the world? Sorry for being so politically incorrect and racist, but Britain should belong to British, France to French, Italy to Italians and so forth, and not to be overcrowded and overtaken by people that have nothing to do with the country’s history and culture.

  • Comment number 1677.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1676.

    Do you really need a census to tell us this information?
    Look on any High St, doctors surgery, supermarket etc, and you can see for yourself what a change in the Nationalities that are residing here.
    There is a major crisis in all our infrastructure, and we can not cope, but yet there seems to be no let up in foreign nationals arriving here, putting even more strain on the system.
    Rant over!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1675.

    @The Bloke And you are talking about Whites, what about Black-British who are 2nd-3rd generation, consider themselves British and follow our laws and customs?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1674.

    The point is that we just don't know enough about the effects of immigration on this scale in this country. It's not happened before.

    Maybe the effects will be good, maybe bad.

    But why take such a risk on the unknown?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1673.

    Roughly 1.4m people from the Indian Subcontinent came here. Why? I know we have lost control about Europeans coming but why is immigation to UK so high from non-EU countries?

    Also, 75% identify with a religion. If you asked if they believed in a religion, in God, or life-after-death that would be lower.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1672.

    Holala... I am French living in the UK and I am fed up hearing things like "how are we going to pay for the massive amount of extra infrastructure that will be needed?" Foreigners, in the vast majority, pay payroll taxes, national insurance and income taxes, they pay the VAT in products they buy and do not live out of wellfare. I am not inventing this, this is public data.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1671.

    I live in the City of Hereford wher believe me the ris eis more thn 7%. Local people used to work on farms now they are unemployed. We have 10 european food store and all the local supermarkets have Polish Isles, the local green grocers went under. If you go to Tesco's you hear no British Voices and most of the kids in my nephews school don't speak English.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1670.

    I think we are simply too welcoming for our own good...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1669.

    The government needs to learn that its not racist to not allow anymore immigrants in. Immigration should always benefit the state. If not you end up with stupid statistics like these. Especially in a recession only those who are required for a specific task where there is a deficit should be allowed in. I have no problem with ethnicity, race or religion as long as it benefits the state

  • rate this

    Comment number 1668.

    To those saying immigration will cause a strain on the public purse, in fact immigrants will relieve pressure on public finances. Immigrants tend to be healthy and of working age so pay taxes without using public services. An ageing population means in the future a lot of people won't be paying much tax while their demand for public services increases. Immigration is vital to offset this pressure.


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