One in six people living in England and Wales were born outside the UK, census data shows | UK News


One in six people living in England and Wales were born outside of the UK, the latest census data shows.

This is an increase of 2.5 million since 2011, the Office for National Statistics said, from 7.5 million to 10 million (16.8% of the population).

Of these, 4.2 million had arrived since 2011, 2.7 million between 2001 and 2010, and 3.1 million before 2001.

The vast majority – 4.3 million – were aged 18 to 29 years, around three million were under 18 and 2.1 million were aged between 30 and 44.

The resident population in England and Wales grew by more than 3.5 million (6.3%) from 56,075,912 in 2011 to 59,597,542 in 2021.

India remained the most common country of birth outside of the UK in 2021 (920,000 people – 1.5% of all residents), followed by Poland (743,000 people – 1.2%) and Pakistan (624,000 – 1.0%).

The number of people who listed Romania as their country of birth grew by 576% since the previous census, from 80,000 in 2011 to 539,000 in 2021.

This increase was the highest out of any country, driven by working restrictions for Romanian citizens being lifted in 2014, the ONS said.

The United States and Jamaica fell out of the top 10 non-UK countries of birth in 2021. Italy entered the table in sixth place behind Romania (fourth) and Ireland (fifth), and ahead of Bangladesh (seventh), Nigeria (eighth), Germany (ninth) and South Africa (10th).

Those born in the European Union made up 3.6 million (36.4% of all non-UK-born residents) of the population, an increase from 2.5 million in 2011. The remaining 6.4 million were born outside of the EU.

Figures also showed 5.9 million residents (9.9%) held a non-UK passport – the most common of which was Polish (760,000 – 1.3% of all residents), then Romanian (550,000 – 0.9%) and Indian (369,000, 0.6%).

Impact of Brexit and pandemic

Around 545,000 residents had an address outside of the UK – down from 612,000 in 2011.

This was expected, said the ONS, due to the COVID pandemic and travel restrictions.

London was the English region with the highest proportion of the population with an address outside of the UK (1.7%) and the North East had the lowest (0.6%).

Figures showed the proportion in Wales was even lower – 0.5%.

Census deputy director Jon Wroth-Smith said: “The census paints a picture of how the make-up of the population has changed in the past decade. That decade, of course, saw us leave the EU as well as live with the pandemic.

“While these events may have had an impact on people’s decisions or ability to migrate or travel at a given time, the census tells us about the change over the whole decade – who was living here in March 2021, compared with March 2011. We can see Romanians have been a big driver in this change, while there have also been increases due to migration from India, Pakistan and Poland, as well as southern European countries such as Italy.

“We can also see that migration in the year prior to the census was lower in 2021 than it was in 2011. This is likely, in large part, due to the various travel restrictions in place during the coronavirus pandemic.”


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