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Video Summary: Language in England and Wales, 2011

Released: 04 March 2013

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Transcript – Language in England and Wales

This is a short video looking Language in England and Wales.

On Census Day, 27 March 2011, there were around 54 million usual residents aged three and over.

These 100 people represent this population.

49.8 million people, or 92%, had English as their main language.

4.2 million people, or 8%, had a language other than English as their main language.

Focusing on these people, whose main language was not English (or English or Welsh if they lived in Wales), 3.2% of the total population, or 1.7 million, could speak English very well,

2.9%, or 1.6 million, could speak English well,

1.3%, or 726,000, could speak English, but not well, and just 0.3%, or 138,000 out of the 54 million aged 3 and over in England and Wales, could not speak English in 2011. That’s roughly 1 in every 400 people.


Focusing on those that did not have English (or English or Welsh if they lived in Wales) as their main language in 2011,

the most common other main language was Polish, with 546,000 usual residents.

273,000 indicated that Panjabi was their main language.

269,000 had Urdu.

Also in the top 10 were, Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya)//, Gujarati//, Arabic//, French//, All other Chinese (excluding Mandarin and Cantonese)//, Portuguese and Spanish.

These other main languages complete the top 20.

Now we will look at the percentages of the total usual resident population, in each of the English regions and Wales, whose main language was not English (or English or Welsh if they lived in Wales), we can see that

London had the highest percentage of its population with another main language, with just over a fifth of its usual residents not having English as a main language.

The North East had the lowest, with just 2.8% not having English as a main language.

And in Wales, 2.9% of the population had a language other than English or Welsh as their main language.

Now lets look at main language across England and Wales by local authority.

The shaded areas indicate the percentage of the population with English (or English or Welsh in Wales) as a main language across local authorities; the darker the shade the higher the percentage. Notice how London is coloured in light purple, this corresponds to the high percentage of its population with a language other than English as their main language.

However, focusing on London, we can see that there are some variations between local authorities within the Region. 

Finally, we will highlight seven local authorities that had the highest percentages of usual residents with a particular language.

Leicester had the highest percentage of Gujarati as a main language, with 11.5% of the local authority’s usual residents reporting this as their main language.

Rushmoor had the highest percentage of Nepalese as a main language, with 6.2% of usual residents reporting this as their main language.

Boston had the highest percentages of Lithuanian, Latvian and Russian, with respectively 2.8, 1.8 and 1.2 per cent of usual residents reporting these as their main languages.

Slough had 6.2% Panjabi and 5% Urdu as a main language. In London,

Westminster had high percentages of Arabic and Kurdish as a main language.

Kensington and Chelsea had high percentages of French, Spanish and Italian.

And Tower Hamlets had 18% of its usual residents who indicated Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya) as their main language in 2011.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.