Census 2011: Leicester 'most ethnically diverse' in region

Leicester city centre There are 24,000 more people living in Leicester than Nottingham, the 2011 Census has shown

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Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in the UK and the largest in the East Midlands, the latest census shows.

Information from the 2011 survey shows there are 329,000 people living in the city, 24,000 more than in Nottingham, while 250,000 live in Derby.

Half of Leicester's population describe themselves as white British, compared with 80% nationally and 63.9% in 2001.

Deputy Mayor of Leicester Rory Palmer said they viewed its diversity as a major strength.

The details emerged in the latest round of information released from the 2011 census taken in March.

Start Quote

Whilst some healthy rivalry is good...it is in all our interests to be successful and thriving”

End Quote Rory Palmer Deputy Mayor of Leicester

Leicester was widely tipped to be the first city with a minority white population but just missed out on the landmark with 50.6% describing themselves as white.

But it does have one of the lowest rates of residents who identify themselves as white British, at 45%, and the highest proportion of British Indians, at 28.3%.

Mr Palmer, deputy city mayor, said: "What it means is that we have a very diverse population and we view this as a great strength and something the city can be very proud of.

"We saw the Queen and the royal family kick off their Diamond Jubilee in March this year here in Leicester, probably because Leicester is a very real reflection of modern, vibrant, multi-cultural Britain."

While Nottingham's population remains smaller than Leicester's at 305,680 - 38,692 more than in 2001 - it does have a higher than average mixed race community.

About 6% are mixed ethnicity, with 4% white and black Caribbean.

Christianity 'in decline'

Derby has the lowest number of ethnic minorities, with 80% of its 248,752 residents describing themselves as white.

Judith Rowbotham, a social historian at Nottingham Trent University, felt national identity was still strong: "We still see ourselves as British.

"I think we are happy with British accents - whether that is a British version of the Afro-Caribbean accent or the Brummie accent, it doesn't matter, it is all seen as British.

"It's rather like food, which has made a huge difference to how we see ourselves. We are so enthusiastic about curries or Thai food and how can you dislike a culture when you enjoy their food?"

Nottingham is the youngest city in the region, and the second youngest nationally, with an average age of 30.

Leicester follows closely with its median at 31 and Derby's is 36. Across the East Midlands, it is 40 compared with 39 throughout England and Wales.

Worship in the region has also changed, with Christianity remaining the dominant, despite declining numbers.

Immigration figures

Leicester has the lowest percentage of Christians of any area outside London, at just one third of the population.

But it has the highest rate of Hindus outside London, with 15% of the city describing themselves as Hindu.

In Nottingham, over a third said they had no religion and 7.6% of people did not answer the question, both the highest rate in the region.

The rate of immigration over the last decade is also shown in the census data.

In Leicester, about 53,000 people born outside the UK moved to the city, roughly the same as the number of people it grew by.

In Nottingham about 38,000 people born outside the UK moved to the city, while in Derby, the number grew by 17,849.

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