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Detailed country of birth and nationality analysis from the 2011 Census of England and Wales This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 16 May 2013 Download PDF

Foreword

This short story analyses 2011 Census data for two key measures of the migrant population of England and Wales, specifically country of birth and passports held.  Additionally migrant groups are analysed by age, sex and year of arrival.

Key points

  • In 2011, 13 per cent (7.5 million) of the resident population of England and Wales were born outside the UK, while 7.4 per cent (4.2 million) held only a non-UK passport.

  • Almost half (46 per cent, 3.4 million) of the non-UK born usually resident population held a UK passport in 2011; of those born abroad who held a foreign passport, 11 per cent (383,000) were Indian-born, followed by 10 per cent (332,000) Pakistani-born. Those holding only a foreign passport accounted for 51 per cent (3.8 million) of non-UK born usual residents. There were also four per cent (269,000) who reported having no passport.

  • The most common non-UK nationality was Polish with 558,000 residents; this was followed by Irish (372,000) and Indian (315,000). These three countries together accounted for 30 per cent (1.2 million) of all foreign nationals and 22 per cent (1.7 million) of the non-UK born.

  • Detailed interactive maps show wide geographical variation between the distributions of different countries of birth and nationalities in the usually resident population. Polish-born and Polish nationals were widely dispersed across England and Wales, whereas Pakistani-born and Pakistani nationals were concentrated in urban areas.

  • Half (50 per cent or 3.7 million) of the non-UK born usually resident population of England and Wales had lived in the UK for ten years or more. Additionally, 26 per cent (1.9 million) had lived here for 5-10 years.

  • People born in Poland accounted for 14 per cent (531,000) of recent arrivals, that is usual residents born overseas in the UK on census day who had arrived since 2001. Half of those usual residents (49 per cent) who were born in Poland and arrived in the last decade arrived between 2004 and 2006; Poland’s accession to the EU was in May 2004. Nearly all (92 per cent) of Polish born usual residents had arrived since 2001.

  • The non-UK born population was younger than the UK born, with 36 per cent (2.7 million) aged 25 to 39, compared to 20 per cent (11.3 million) in the usually resident population as a whole. For non-UK passport holders (non-UK nationals) this was even higher, with 43 per cent (1.8 million) aged 25 to 39.

  • People from different countries of birth had very different age profiles, to some extent due to the length of time they had been resident in the UK.  The median ages for the top four countries of birth were: India (42.7 years), Poland (30.1 years), Pakistan (38.9 years) and Ireland (61.7 years). This compared with 39.4 years for the usually resident population of England and Wales as a whole.

  • The number of non-UK passports held by children aged under 10 was 409,000; this was greater than the number of children aged under 10 born abroad (290,000). The difference is a result of children born in the UK to parents holding foreign passports acquiring the nationality of their parents.

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Introduction

Earlier releases of 2011 Census data enabled analysis of international migration using univariate data tables. The third release (16 May 2013) of more complex multivariate data tables permits further analysis of long-term migrant groups; this story includes measurement of migrants in the usually resident population using data on country of birth and passports held. Additionally migrant groups are analysed by age, sex and year of arrival. Owing to the volume of multivariate migration data available from the 2011 Census, further analyses will be published at a later date.

International migration1 is an important driver of population change and can be measured in a variety of ways.  There are three ways in which international migration can be measured using the 2011 Census:

  • A person who was born outside the UK2,3, and therefore has migrated to the UK at some point in the past. However, while some non-UK born people will have migrated recently, others will have lived in the UK for many years. Moreover, many people born abroad will be UK citizens, either because their parents were UK citizens overseas at the time of their birth, or because they have been granted UK citizenship since arriving.

  • A person who holds a non-UK passport4,5 (taken to indicate a non-UK or foreign national)6. Again, while some non-UK nationals will have migrated to the UK recently, others will have lived in the UK for many years.

  • A person who was usually resident7 outside the UK one year prior to census day, indicating that they are recent arrivals who migrated to the UK in the year up to 27 March 2011. This definition would therefore exclude any international migrants who arrived in the UK prior to 27 March 2010 and will include some people who are UK born or UK nationals.

This analysis considers the first two of these definitions. Information on those who were resident outside the UK one year prior to census day will be published at a later date.

This story is a joint production by ONS and the Home Office.

Notes for Introduction

  1. In compiling estimates of long-term international migration (LTIM) flows, the Office for National Statistics uses the UN definition of a long-term international migrant, namely someone who changes his or her usual residence for a period of at least a year, so that the country of destination becomes the country of usual residence.

  2. The terms ‘born abroad’, ‘born outside the UK’, ‘foreign born’, ‘born overseas’ and ‘non-UK born’ are used interchangeably in this document.

  3. Country of birth is derived from census question 9, which asks “What is your country of birth?”  Country of birth (COB) cannot change over time (except as a result of international boundary changes), unlike nationality which can change. It is a measure of ‘foreign born’ people, but includes many usual residents of England and Wales born outside the UK who have subsequently become UK citizens. In addition, some people who were UK citizens at birth even though non-UK born (for example, to parents working overseas in the armed forces) will be included.

  4. Passports held is derived from census question 22 which asks “What passports do you hold?”. This is used to determine nationality in this analysis. People may change their nationality over time or acquire dual nationality and hold more than one passport. Priority is given to British passports held, then Irish passports; then if someone does not have a British or Irish passport they are coded according to the response written in the ‘other’ passport box.

    This question should not be confused with census question 15, which deals with national identity (“How would you describe your national identity?”). Whereas passport held (nationality) is an objective measure, national identity is a subjective self-defining measure and is intended primarily to record identification with the different countries within the United Kingdom.

  5. Figures in International Migrants in England and Wales 2011 showed the number of passports held by usual residents. This was greater than the number of residents owing to dual nationality. However, tables released in 3.1 do not include dual nationality.

  6. The terms ‘passports held’, ‘nationality’ and ‘citizenship’ are used interchangeably in this document unless otherwise stated. The terms ‘Non-UK’ and ‘foreign’ nationality are also used interchangeably.

  7. The usually resident population refers to people who live in the UK for 12 months or more, including those who have been resident for less than 12 months but intend to stay for a total period of 12 months or more. The population base for the 2011 Census was the usually resident population of England and Wales, defined as anyone who, on the night of 27 March 2011, was either (a) resident in England and Wales and who had been resident, or intended to be resident in the UK for a period of 12 months or more, or (b) resident outside the UK but had a permanent England and Wales address and intended to be outside the UK for less than a year.

How does country of birth compare with nationality?

In 2011, 13 per cent (7.5 million) of the resident population of England and Wales were born outside the UK1. A previous census publication analysed country of birth data for England and Wales, highlighting the top ten non-UK countries of birth. The ten most reported non-UK countries of birth in 2011 are shown in table 1 below; these ten accounted for 45 per cent2 (3.4 million) of all non-UK born residents and 6.0 per cent of all usual residents. The largest group were the Indian-born (694,000 or 1.2 per cent of the resident population in 2011), followed by Polish-born (579,000 or 1.0 per cent). The Polish increase (521,000) was the largest of these top ten countries of birth over the decade 2001-2011, a nine fold increase. Poland became a member of the European Union in May 2004, and this accession was accompanied by a significant migration to the UK.

Table 1: Top ten countries of birth for non-UK born residents in England and Wales; 2001 and 2011

2011 Rank Country of birth 2001 Census (Thousands) Per cent of non-UK born residents in 2001 2011 Census (Thousands) Per cent of non-UK born residents in 2011 Per cent of all residents in 2011
1 India 456 9.8 694 9.2 1.2
2 Poland 58 1.3 579 7.7 1.0
3 Pakistan 308 6.6 482 6.4 0.9
4 Republic of Ireland 473 10.2 407 5.4 0.7
5 Germany 244 5.2 274 3.6 0.5
6 Bangladesh 153 3.3 212 2.8 0.4
7 Nigeria 87 1.9 191 2.5 0.3
8 South Africa 132 2.8 191 2.5 0.3
9 United States 144 3.1 177 2.4 0.3
10 Jamaica 146 3.1 160 2.1 0.3
  All other non-UK born 2,442 52.6 4,138 55.1 7.4
  Total non-UK born 4,643 100 7,505 100 13.4

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Census tables KS05 2001 and QS213EW 2011 were used to produce table 1.
  2. Census 2001 Table KS05 non-UK born usual residents excludes ‘UK part not specified’.

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Passports held (nationality) 

Of the 56.1 million usually resident population of England and Wales in 2011, 76 per cent (42.5 million) held a UK passport3, 4, 7.4 per cent (4.2 million) held a foreign passport only (of which 372,000 were Irish passports). There were 17 per cent (9.5 million) who stated they did not hold a passport. 

Detailed passport held data were published in census release 2.4 (26th March 2013). Figure 1 presents the top ten non-UK nationalities5 in the resident population of England and Wales in 2011. These ten nationalities accounted for around half (52 per cent) of those holding a foreign passport and four per cent of the resident population as a whole.

The most common foreign nationality of residents in the UK on census day was Polish with 558,000 residents; this was followed by Irish (372,000) and Indian (315,000). These three nationalities together account for 30 per cent (1.2 million) of all non-UK nationals resident in England and Wales in 2011.

Figure 1: Top ten nationalities as a percentage of non-UK nationals 2011

Figure 1: Top ten nationalities as a percentage of non-UK nationals 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Census table QS212EW was used to produce figure 1.

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Table 2 compares the top ten non-UK nationalities with the country of birth data for these countries. India ranked first for non-UK country of birth (694,000), but third in terms of non-UK nationalities (315,000). This difference was similar for Pakistani-born with 482,000 compared to 149,000 Pakistani passport holders. This is due to the more established nature of migrants from India and Pakistan, many of whom came to the UK from the 1960s onwards, and have since gained British nationality. Polish was the highest ranking foreign nationality (558,000), and there are a similar number of UK residents who were born in Poland (579,000). This is likely to be due to the free movement rights of EU citizens, meaning that Polish nationals, unlike many non-EU nationals, do not need to acquire UK nationality in order to live and work in the UK.

Three nationalities (Italian, French and Portuguese) appear in the top ten in table 2, though they were not in the top ten countries of birth; each country had a greater number of passport holders than people born there. These differences are likely to be partly due to migrants from former Italian, French and Portuguese territories acquiring citizenship (including, for example, the children of Portuguese emigrants to Brazil acquiring Portuguese passports) and therefore Italian, French and Portuguese passports. Additionally, children born in the UK to parents of non-UK nationality may also qualify for that nationality.

Table 2: Top ten ranked non-UK nationalities compared with country of birth, 2011

2011 Rank Country  Passport holders (Thousands) Country of birth (Thousands)
1 Poland 558 579
2 Republic of Ireland 372 407
3 India 315 694
4 Italy 155 135
5 Pakistan 149 482
6 France 146 130
7 United States 126 177
8 Germany 125 274
9 Portugal 118 88
10 Nigeria 112 191

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Census tables QS212EW and QS213EW were used to produce table 2.

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Of those born in the UK, 80 per cent (39.0 million) held a UK passport3 and 19 per cent (9.2 million) did not hold any passport. Less than one percent (349,000) of those born in the UK held a foreign passport only, perhaps because they were children of foreign nationals who have adopted their parent’s nationality. Of those usual residents born outside the UK, only half (3.8 million) had a foreign passport, while 46 per cent (3.4 million) had a UK passport. Four per cent2 had no passport at the time of the 2011 Census.

Of those born outside the UK who held a UK passport, 11 per cent (383,000) were born in India and 10 per cent (332,000) in Pakistan.

Table 3: Country of birth and passports held, 2011

Country of Birth Passport held Total
  UK passport Other passport No passport held  
  Number (Thousands) Number (Thousands) Per cent  Number (Thousands) Per cent Number (Thousands) Per cent Per cent
UK born 48,571 39,033 80.4 349 0.7 9,189 18.9 100
Non-UK born 7,505 3,424 45.6 3,812 50.8 269 3.6 100
Total 56,076 42,457 75.7 4,161 7.4 9,458 16.9 100

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Census table DC2208EWr was used to produce table 3.

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Table 4 shows the ten non-UK countries of birth with the highest and lowest proportions holding a UK passport on census day, indicating how many people born in these countries have now acquired British citizenship. Eight of the ten countries of birth with the lowest proportion holding a UK passport are EU countries, whose citizens already have freedom of movement within the EU, reducing the potential benefits from acquiring UK nationality.

Table 4: Highest and lowest proportions holding a UK passport by country of birth, 2011

Rank Highest  Totals for country of birth (Thousands) Per cent holding UK passport Lowest Totals for country of birth (Thousands) Per cent holding UK passport
1 Kenya 137 86.9 Lithuania 97 1.9
2 Hong Kong 102 83.4 Poland 579 4.9
3 Jamaica 160 72.8 Portugal  88 6.0
4 Bangladesh 212 72.4 Romania 80 8.5
5 Iraq 73 71.8 Italy 135 13.8
6 Somalia 101 71.5 France 130 16.5
7 Singapore 39 71.0 Spain  79 18.2
8 Pakistan 482 68.8 Republic of Ireland 407 24.0
9 Turkey 91 66.8 China 152 29.6
10 Iran 82 63.6 United States 177 32.4

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Highest and lowest proportions are for countries individually specified in table DC2208EWr; therefore there may be some countries omitted.
  2. Census table DC2209EWr was used to produce table 4.

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Figure 2 shows the proportion of UK passports held for the top ten non-UK countries of birth.  The largest proportion holding a UK passport from the top ten countries of birth was Jamaican-born with 73 per cent (117,000), followed by Bangladeshi-born with 72 per cent (153,000), and Pakistani-born with 69 per cent (332,000). These three countries also feature in the top ten listing of proportions holding a UK passport in table 4.

By contrast, only five per cent (29,000) of Polish-born residents held a UK passport; this is likely to be due to a more recent migration pattern (92 per cent arrived after 2001) and EU passport holders having similar rights to UK passport holders. Nigeria was also lower with 42 per cent (80,000) holding a UK passport; this may be a result of recent migration from that country over the last decade (58 per cent), which has not yet led to a larger uptake of UK nationality (for further discussion see section on year of arrival).  A previous publication identified Poland and Nigeria as having the largest percentage increases in migration to England and Wales over the period 2001-2011.

Figure 2: Top ten non-UK countries of birth by passport held, 2011

Figure 2: Top ten non-UK countries of birth by passport held, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. ‘Does not hold a UK passport’ includes those who stated ‘no passport held’. This category will include some residents who are UK nationals not currently holding a valid passport.
  2. Census table QS2208EWr was used to produce figure 2.

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No passports held

There were 9.2 million usual residents born in the UK who did not hold a passport. There were also 269,000 foreign born resident who also did not hold a passport. Table 5 lists the top ten non-UK countries of birth1 for the residents born outside the UK stating that they had no passport3. The reasons for this will vary by country, but may include: asylum seekers without travel documentation awaiting a decision; those born in the Republic of Ireland who did not require a passport in order to enter the UK; those from other EU countries, including Poland, who may have arrived here using a national identity card; those who may have acquired UK nationality6 but do not currently hold a passport; those who moved here a long time ago and whose passport has expired or not been renewed; those who arrived as children on a parent’s passport; and respondent error in the census7.

Table 5: Top ten highest proportions holding no passport by non-UK country of birth; 2011

Highest Totals for country of birth (Thousands) Number holding no passport (Thousands) Per cent holding no passport
Somalia 101 10 10.1
Republic of Ireland 407 39 9.6
Iran 82 7 8.8
Poland 579 45 7.8
Portugal 88 7 7.8
Afghanistan 63 5 7.6
Germany 274 19 6.8
Iraq 73 5 6.6
Zimbabwe 118 7 5.6
Canada 69 3 4.5
 

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Census table DC2208EWr was used to produce table 5.

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Geographical distribution

Interactive maps showing the highest ranking non-UK countries of birth 1 and foreign nationalities 3,5  as a proportion of the usually resident population for 2011 are available, permitting comparison of the two and detailed spatial analyses across England and Wales. As previously noted, the numbers of Polish-born and Polish nationals were very similar as very few Polish-born acquire UK citizenship; spatially the Polish population, like other recent EU accession nationals resident in the UK, was dispersed across many local authorities (LAs), including concentrations in agricultural areas. This was more so than many earlier waves of migrants who tended to be located in the larger urban areas. The Irish-born and Irish nationals were similarly widely dispersed, perhaps in this case due to the much longer history of Irish migration to the UK.

Spatial patterns for German-born and German nationals were very different; this is likely to be a result of many of those born in Germany being the children of UK service personnel, and therefore automatically British citizens. The pattern of German-born was widely distributed across England and Wales, but with noted concentrations around military bases in Wiltshire, North Yorkshire and Essex, whereas German nationals were much more concentrated in London, other large cities and the South of England. American-born were dispersed across much of southern England, though American nationals were much more concentrated around military bases in East Anglia, North Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and the Thames Valley. Although South African-born were widely dispersed across much of southern England and Wales, South African nationals were strongly concentrated in London.

Indian-born were dispersed across much of England and Wales, with concentrations in the larger urban areas. By contrast, Indian nationals were much more concentrated in the larger university cities, and are likely to include a significant number of students. As previously noted, the uptake of UK nationality by Pakistani-born residents is high (69 per cent); however the spatial distribution of both Pakistani populations across England and Wales was remarkably similar, with concentrations in all of the major cities. This may be due to the predominance of family-linked migration amongst the Pakistani community. Home Office research8 showed that for the cohort of migrants arriving in 2004, Pakistani nationals were the second largest group who had obtained settlement by 2009; of those gaining settlement in that year, 60 per cent had arrived by a “family-related” migration route. For the largest nationality group granted settlement in the same year, Indian nationals, the proportion who came originally by a “family route” was less than a quarter (23 per cent).

The geographical distribution of residents from different countries will be partly due to historical patterns of settlement, and the length of residence in the UK9.  Migration within the UK is likely to increase with length of residence; therefore earlier arrivals are more likely to have moved. The census presents a snapshot and does not measure where people lived on arrival in the UK.  Regional analysis of decade of arrival8 for the top two non-UK countries of birth, India and Poland, is presented in figure 3. Inevitably, there is a bias towards more recent decades of arrival, since numbers for these will have been less affected by mortality and onward or return migration.

There is a relatively high percentage of Indian-born people living in the West Midlands who arrived in the decade 1961-1970 (26 per cent). A high proportion of Indian-born people living in the North East (57 per cent), South West (58 per cent) and Wales (65 per cent) arrived in the decade 2001-2011; however, the overall numbers in these two English regions and Wales are relatively low. This is likely to be related to the peak in New Commonwealth immigration to the UK to study, noted in the May 2012 Migration Statistics Quarterly Report and a Home Office report (June 2011).

The Polish-born nearly all arrived in the 2001-2011 decade; the slightly lower percentage (86 per cent) living in London who arrived in this decade is a result of a larger Polish-born population who arrived in the previous decade 1991-2000.

Figure 3: Top two non-UK countries of birth by decade of arrival, English regions and Wales, 2011

Figure 3: Top two non-UK countries of birth by decade of arrival, English regions and Wales, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Absolute numbers are given at the end of each bar.
  2. Census table DC2804EWr was used to produce figure 3.

Download chart

 

Notes for How does country of birth compare with nationality?

  1. Country of birth is derived from census question 9, which asks “What is your country of birth?”  Country of birth (COB) cannot change over time (except as a result of international boundary changes), unlike nationality which can change. It is a measure of ‘foreign born’ people, but includes many usual residents of England and Wales born outside the UK who have subsequently become UK citizens. In addition, some people who were UK citizens at birth even though non-UK born (for example, to parents working overseas in the armed forces) will be included.

  2. Some numbers and percentages throughout this report may not sum due to rounding.

  3. Passports held is derived from census question 22 which asks “What passports do you hold?”. This is used to determine nationality in this analysis. People may change their nationality over time or acquire dual nationality and hold more than one passport. Priority is given to British passports held, then Irish passports; then if someone does not have a British or Irish passport they are coded according to the response written in the ‘other’ passport box.

    This question should not be confused with census question 15, which deals with national identity (“How would you describe your national identity?”). Whereas passport held (nationality) is an objective measure, national identity is a subjective self-defining measure.

  4. Figures in International Migrants in England and Wales 2011 showed the number of passports held by usual residents. This was greater than the number of residents owing to dual nationality. However, tables released in 3.1 do not include dual nationality.

  5. The terms ‘passports held’, ‘nationality’ and ‘citizenship’ are used interchangeably in this document unless otherwise stated.

  6. Elsewhere in this story UK nationality refers to UK passport holders.

  7. As with other census questions, there may also be a measure of respondent misinterpretation.

  8. Achato, L, Eaton, M and Jones, C (2011) Migrant Journey second report, Home Office.

  9. The length of residence and year of arrival are derived from census question 10, “If you were not born in the UK, when did you most recently arrive to live here?”. This was a new question in the 2011 Census.

    Question 10 excludes short visits; this is open to interpretation and not all respondents may have applied the same definition of a ‘short visit’. Therefore year of last arrival may not necessarily reflect when respondents first arrived in the UK and became UK residents; this may affect comparison with surveys that use the UN definition of long-term migration as a basis for determining the inflow of long-term migrants

Year of arrival

Non-UK born

Whereas some people born overseas will have recently migrated to the UK, others will have been resident in the UK for many years1. This was evident in the 2011 Census where half of non-UK born residents (50 per cent, 3.7 million) reported having last come to live in the UK before 2001. Non-UK born usual residents who last arrived since 2001 accounted for 3.8 million people; this number can be further divided into 10 per cent  (786,000) who first arrived during the period 2001-2003, 15 per cent (1.2 million) during 2004-2006, 16 per cent (1.2 million) during the period 2007-2009 and 8 per cent2 (613 thousand) in 2010-2011.

There will be a bias in the census data towards more recent years of arrival, as these groups will have been less affected by mortality, or onward or return migration. Figures 4, 5 and 6 therefore summarise those who are still in England and Wales on census day rather than the historic trend of arrivals.

Figure 4 summarises the year of arrival data for Europe and the rest of the world, with the European Union divided into two groups representing new and older EU member states3.  The majority (84 per cent, 932,000) of residents born in recent EU Accession countries arrived in the UK during the decade 2001-2011. This compares with people born in the older EU member states for which 36 per cent (474,000) arrived in the last decade; however arrivals prior to 1981 for this group accounted for 39 per cent (514,000). For people born outside the EU (including other Europe and the rest of the world), almost half arrived in the UK during the decade 2001-2011.

Figure 4: Year of arrival for non-UK born usual residents in England and Wales, 2011

Figure 4: Year of arrival for non-UK born usual residents in England and Wales, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Census table DC2804EWr was used to produce figure 4.

Download chart

Figure 5 summarises most recent arrival in the UK for those born in the top ten non-UK countries of birth. There are clear differences in the timing of migration patterns from these countries. Polish-born residents are dominated by arrivals since 2001 (92 per cent); Poland is the largest accession country, and arrivals from Poland in the decade 2001-2011 represent 57 per cent of all arrivals from accession states. By contrast 65 per cent of Irish-born residents had arrived before 1981. Historically there has never been a need for Irish citizens to acquire UK citizenship in order to reside here, or indeed have a passport in order to travel to the UK. German-born residents arrived in a more historically consistent pattern, probably because many German-born are actually the children of UK service personnel stationed in Germany.

Countries from the rest of the world show different patterns for arrivals. Over half of all residents born in Nigeria, South Africa and the United States arrived since 2001. For residents born in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh the decade 2001-2011 also had the highest percentage of arrivals, although Indians and Pakistanis also experienced earlier peaks in migration before 1981. By contrast 60 per cent of Jamaican-born residents arrived before 1981.

Figure 5: Year of arrival for top ten non-UK countries of birth for usual residents in England and Wales, 2011

Figure 5: Year of arrival for top ten non-UK countries of birth for usual residents in England and Wales, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Census table DC2804EWr was used to produce figure 5.

Download chart

A further breakdown of just the most recent arrivals (those who arrived since 2001) is shown in figure 6; three of the periods are of three year categories, while the last one (2010-2011) covers only the period 1 January 2010 to census day (27 March 2011). The total non-UK born population summarised in a previous report highlighted that 50 per cent (3.7 million) last arrived between 2001 and 2011. This latest data shows that people born in Poland accounted for 14 per cent (531,000) of all non-UK born usual residents on census day who had arrived since 2001. Half (49 per cent) of these Polish-born residents arrived between 2004 and 2006; Poland’s accession to the EU was in May 2004.

Periods of study are generally one to three years, and the most recent arrivals will include some students. The increase in numbers in the 2010-2011 period for India and to a lesser extent Pakistan and others could be due to the inclusion of usually resident students in the census data. This increase in the very latest period does not occur for Poland, suggesting that Polish people are not coming here to study but for employment. Further analysis of the economic activity of non-UK born and foreign nationals from the 2011 Census will be published later in 2013.

Figure 6: Year of arrival from 2001 for top five non-UK born in England and Wales, 2011

Figure 6: Year of arrival from 2001 for top five non-UK born in England and Wales, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Census table DC2804EWr was used to produce figure 6.

Download chart

Table 6 summarises the top ten countries of birth for usual residents who arrived in 2001-2011 only. Although Poland, India and Pakistan head the table, the Republic of Ireland and Germany had relatively few arrivals in that decade. China, Lithuania and the Philippines featured prominently in this most recent decade compared to other countries.

Table 6: Top ten countries of birth for usual residents who arrived 2001-2011 in England and Wales; 2011

Rank Country of birth Arrived 2001-2011 (Thousands)
1 Poland 531
2 India 315
3 Pakistan 188
4 China 116
5 Nigeria 111
6 United States 105
7 South Africa 97
8 Lithuania 90
9 Philippines 87
10 Germany 78

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Census table DC2804EWr was used to produce table 6.

Download table

Non-UK nationals

The question on most recent year of arrival was only asked of usual residents who were not born in the UK; therefore non-UK nationals who are UK-born are excluded. Figure 7 shows year of arrival data for all non-UK born residents, and those who are also non-UK nationals.  Residents who were born abroad and were also foreign nationals (3.8 million) had generally arrived more recently; only 24 per cent (916,000) had arrived in the UK before 2001. More than three quarters (76 per cent or 2.9 million) of all foreign born non-UK national residents had most recently arrived since 2001. This compares with all non-UK born residents, where only half had most recently arrived since 2001.

Figure 7: Year of arrival for total non-UK born and non-UK nationals born outside the UK in England and Wales, 2011

Figure 7: Year of arrival for total non-UK born and non-UK nationals born outside the UK in England and Wales, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Non-UK nationals excludes the 349,000 non-UK nationals born in the UK.
  2. Census table DC2804EWr was used to produce figure 7.

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Figure 8 summarises most recent year of arrival in the UK for the top ten non-UK nationalities. These ten nationalities all reflect the overall pattern of more recent arrivals shown in figure 7 to varying degrees. Figure 5 shows that less than half of Indian- and Pakistani-born residents most recently arrived since 2001. This compares with figure 8 which shows that over 80 per cent of those holding Indian or Pakistani nationality in 2011 arrived since 2001; many of those who arrived before 2001 will have obtained British nationality.

Figure 8: Year of arrival for top ten non-UK nationalities in the non-UK born usually resident population of England and Wales, 2011

Figure 8: Year of arrival for top ten non-UK nationalities in the non-UK born usually resident population of England and Wales, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Census table DC2804EWr was used to produce figure 8.

Download chart

Notes for Year of arrival

  1. The length of residence and year of arrival are derived from census question 10, “If you were not born in the UK, when did you most recently arrive to live here?”. This was a new question in the 2011 Census.

    Question 10 excludes short visits; this is open to interpretation and not all respondents may have applied the same definition of a ‘short visit’. Therefore year of last arrival may not necessarily reflect when respondents first arrived in the UK and became UK residents; this may affect comparison with surveys that use the UN definition of long-term migration as a basis for determining the inflow of long-term migrants.

  2. Some numbers and percentages throughout this report may not sum due to rounding.

  3. Old EU refers to EU member countries in 2001. Excluding the UK, these were: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland,  France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain and Sweden.  EU Accession countries refers to those nations in Central and Eastern Europe that joined the European Union in May 2004 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and January 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania). Cyprus and Malta also joined the EU in May 2004. The rest of Europe are those European countries outside the EU as of January 2007. The rest of world refers to all countries outside Europe.

Age and sex by country of birth and passport held

The age distributions of the non-UK born1 and UK born populations and those for UK passport holders and foreign nationals are shown in figure 9. The age profile of those born abroad is younger than those born in the UK, and more concentrated in the younger working ages 20-44. For example, 36 per cent (2.7 million) were aged 25 to 39, compared to 20 per cent (11.3 million) in the usually resident population as a whole. Foreign nationals overall have arrived in the UK more recently and have an even younger age structure, with relatively few older adults; there was a concentration of 43 per cent (1.8 million) aged 25 to 39.

The interactions between country of birth, nationality and length of time in the country are complex and will all have an impact on these age structures. Many of those born outside the UK will be UK citizens and therefore not included in the foreign national population.

Many young children born in this country to parents of other nationalities have acquired the nationality of their parents, explaining why the number of non-UK passports held by children aged under 10 is greater than the number of children aged under 10 born abroad: there were 409,000 (10 per cent) aged 0-9 who were non-UK nationals, compared to 290,000 (4 per cent) aged 0-9 who were born abroad.

Figure 9: Age and sex distributions of the non-UK born and UK born, alongside those of UK and non-UK passport holders, England and Wales, 2011

Figure 9: Age and sex distributions of the non-UK born and UK born, alongside those of UK and non-UK passport holders, England and Wales, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Census tables DC2109EWr and DC2110EWr were used to produce figure 9.

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Figure 10 shows the age and sex distribution of the top six countries of birth for usual residents born abroad, compared in each case with the age and sex structures for foreign passport holders of these countries usually resident in England and Wales. The variation in age structures for countries of birth in 2011 reflects different migration patterns to the UK. Earlier arrivals who are still usually resident will have aged and many will have acquired British citizenship, whereas those arriving more recently, many of whom are still foreign nationals, will in general have younger profiles.

The Polish-born are concentrated in younger working ages, with over half aged 20-34 (57 per cent, 331,000); by contrast Indian-born aged 20-34 account for 30 per cent (205,000) and Pakistani-born 32 per cent (156,000). Children aged 0-14 born in Poland accounted for 11 per cent (62,000) but Polish nationals aged 0-14 accounted for 20 per cent (110,000). This may be explained by children born2 in England and Wales to parents of Polish citizenship acquiring a Polish passport even though born in and living in the UK.

The age structures of Indian and Pakistani nationals both peak in the young working ages (20-39). By comparison, at older ages, there are greater proportions of Indian- and Pakistani-born than Indian and Pakistani nationals. These differences are likely to be a result of those who have been UK residents for longer acquiring British citizenship. Many of those born in the Republic of Ireland have been resident in the UK for many years; this is reflected in the older age structure of the Irish born: 74 per cent are aged 45 and over. By contrast, Irish nationals aged 45 and over account for only 56 per cent.

For Germany the picture is complicated as many ‘German-born’ are the children of UK service personnel who were stationed in Germany who would automatically have UK citizenship; consequently the number of German nationals in England and Wales is less than half (125,000) of the number born in Germany (274,000). Those born in Bangladesh are younger on average, with 72 per cent (152,000) aged under 45 years. There are 212,000 Bangladeshi-born and 57,000  Bangladeshi nationals, indicating that many of those born in Bangladesh and now resident in the UK have acquired UK citizenship. The indentation at ages 60-69 on the male side of the Bangladeshi born age sex pyramid may be an indication of  male casualties during the war of independence and subsequent upheaval in the early 1970s.

Interactive population pyramids are available for the highest ranking non-UK countries of birth in 2011 compared to 2001, and compared to non-UK nationalities for 2011 3.

Figure 10a: The age distribution of top six countries of birth for non-UK born usual residents in England and Wales, and the respective distributions for nationals of these countries, 2011

Figure 10a: The age distribution of top six countries of birth for non-UK born usual residents in England and Wales, and the respective distributions for nationals of these countries, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

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Figure 10b: The age distribution of top six countries of birth for non-UK born usual residents in England and Wales, and the respective distributions for nationals of these countries, 2011

Figure 10b: The age distribution of top six countries of birth for non-UK born usual residents in England and Wales, and the respective distributions for nationals of these countries, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

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Figure 10c: The age distribution of top six countries of birth for non-UK born usual residents in England and Wales, and the respective distributions for nationals of these countries, 2011

Figure 10c: The age distribution of top six countries of birth for non-UK born usual residents in England and Wales, and the respective distributions for nationals of these countries, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Census tables DC2109EWr and DC2110EWr were used to produce figure 10.

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In the 2011 Census just over half of foreign nationals were female (2.1 million, 51 per cent), giving a sex ratio of 96 males per 100 females for the resident foreign national population, similar to UK nationals.

Table 7 provides sex ratios for the top ten non-UK countries of birth and top ten foreign passport holders; altogether 13 countries are included. For passport holders, India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Italy all had high male numbers in their sex ratios, reflecting the greater numbers of younger males coming to the UK from these countries.  Bangladesh had the highest ratio for both passport holder (131 males per 100 females) and by country of birth (111 males per 100 females), although the latter ratio was the same for those residents who were born in Italy. Germany had the lowest ratio: 77 males for every 100 females for German nationals, and 75 per 100 for those residents who were born in Germany. The higher number of females to males in the German born population for most adult age groups may be partly explained by British servicemen stationed in Germany marrying German women and returning together.

The median age for each of the ten top non-UK countries of birth varied from 30.1 years for Poland to 61.7 for the Republic of Ireland, reflecting the different historic patterns of migration from the two countries. These differences were also visible in the data for foreign nationals. The median age for all non-UK born residents was 37.3, compared to 39.9 for the UK born usually resident population. For the foreign nationals resident in the UK, median age was lower in all cases than for country of birth, a result of more recent migration by younger people. The median age of the total usually resident population in England and Wales on census day was 39.4 and there were 97 males per 100 females.

Table 7: Sex ratio and median age for thirteen non-UK countries of birth and nationality for usual residents of England and Wales; 2011

  Country of birth Passport holders
  Males per 100 females Median age of population Males per 100 females Median age of population
All non-UK 94 37.3 96 31.3
India 103 42.7 115 30.4
Poland 98 30.1 101 28.8
Pakistan 109 38.9 125 29.1
Republic of Ireland 82 61.7 93 49.1
Germany 75 37.8 77 34.2
Bangladesh 111 36.6 131 29.2
Nigeria 105 36.3 116 31.6
South Africa 95 35.5 98 32.2
United States 88 33.7 85 34.5
Jamaica 81 55.3 94 36.9
Italy 111 43.6 117 38.4
France 81 33.0 87 31.5
Portugal 99 33.9 106 32.8
UK 97 39.9 97 40.6

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. The thirteen countries include the top ten for country of birth and the top ten for nationality.
  2. Median age is calculated using quinary age groups.
  3. Census tables DC2109EWr and DC2110EWr were used to produce table 7.

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Notes for Age and sex by country of birth and passport held

  1. Country of birth is derived from census question 9, which asks “What is your country of birth?”  Country of birth (COB) cannot change over time (except as a result of international boundary changes), unlike nationality which can change. It is a measure of ‘foreign-born’ people, but includes many usual residents of England and Wales born outside the UK who have subsequently become UK citizens. In addition, some people who were UK citizens at birth even though non-UK born (for example, to parents working overseas in the armed forces) will be included.

  2. This is explained in a recent ONS publication on childbearing in the UK born and non-UK born for women living in the UK.

  3. The question on passports held (Question 22) was asked for the first time in Census 2011; thus no comparison with 2001 is possible.

Statistical Contacts

Name    Phone   Department Email
Chris W Smith   +44 (0)1329 444683    Census Analysis Unit Population & Statistics Division   chris.w.smith@ons.gov.uk

Background notes

  1. 2011 Census data are available via the Neighbourhood Statistics website. Relevant table numbers are provided in all download files within this publication.

  2. Further information on future releases is available online in the 2011 Census Prospectus.

  3. ONS has ensured that the data collected meet users' needs via an extensive 2011 Census outputs consultation process in order to ensure that the 2011 Census outputs will be of increased use in the planning of housing, education, health and transport services in future years.

  4. ONS is responsible for carrying out the census in England and Wales. Simultaneous but separate censuses took place in Scotland and Northern Ireland. These were run by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) respectively.

  5. A person's place of usual residence is in most cases the address at which they stay the majority of the time. For many people this will be their permanent or family home. If a member of the services did not have a permanent or family address at which they are usually resident, they were recorded as usually resident at their base address. 

  6. All key terms used in this publication are explained in the 2011 Census glossary. Information on the 2011 Census geography products for England and Wales is also available.

  7. All census population estimates were extensively quality assured, using other national and local sources of information for comparison and review by a series of quality assurance panels. An extensive range of quality assurance, evaluation and methodology papers were published alongside the first release in July 2012 and have been updated in this release, including a Quality and Methodology (QMI) document.

  8. The census developed the coverage assessment and adjustment methodology to address the problem of undercounting. It was used for both usual residents and short-term residents. The coverage assessment and adjustment methodology involved the use of standard statistical techniques, similar to those used by many other countries, for measuring the level of undercount in the census and providing an assessment of characteristics of individuals and households missed this way, ONS adjusted the 2011 Census counts to include estimates of people and households not counted.

  9. The 2011 Census achieved its overall target response rate of 94 per cent of the usually resident population of England and Wales, and over 80 per cent in all local and unitary authorities. The population estimate for England and Wales of 56.1 million is estimated with 95 per cent confidence to be accurate to within +/- 85,000 (0.15 per cent).

  10. 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

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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