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Census gives insights into characteristics of London’s population

Released: 11 December 2012 Download PDF

Statistics published today from the 2011 Census reveal the changing characteristics of the population in every region of England and Wales and the 348 local authorities that form them. These statistics cover topics such as ethnicity, religion, country of birth, health, accommodation, tenure, and availability of cars and vans. Further details are given in the Statistical Bulletin and accompanying tables.

This release supplements the figures published in July 2012, which put the total population of England and Wales on census day (27 March 2011) at 56.1 million – an increase of 3.7 million (7 per cent) since 2001.

There were 8.2 million residents in London. This was an increase of some 851,000 (12 per cent) since 2001, and represents 15 per cent of the population of England and Wales. This is the highest growth since 2001, when compared with regions of England and Wales. Of all regions only the South East has a larger total population.

The median age of the region was 33, which was 6 years lower than the England and Wales average. Within the region this ranged from 29 in Newham and Tower Hamlets to 40 in Havering and Bromley.

Guy Goodwin, ONS’s Director of Census, said:

“These statistics paint a picture of society and help us all plan for the future using accurate information at a local level.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg of census statistics. Further rich layers of vital information will be revealed as we publish more detailed data for very local levels over the coming months.”

Some headline facts of life in London are that:

Passports and country of birth

Top 15 countries of birth

London, 2011, All usual residents

Rank Country of birth Thousands Per cent
1 England 4,997 61.1
2 India 262 3.2
3 Poland 158 1.9
4 Ireland 130 1.6
5 Nigeria 115 1.4
6 Pakistan 112 1.4
7 Bangladesh 110 1.3
8 South America 90 1.1
9 Scotland 90 1.1
10 Jamaica 87 1.1
11 Sri Lanka 85 1.0
12 France 67 0.8
13 Somalia 65 0.8
14 Kenya 64 0.8
15 United States 64 0.8
  Total population 8,174  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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In 2001 more than 1 in 4 of London’s population were born outside the UK (27 per cent); by 2011 this had grown to more than 1 in 3 (3 million, 37 per cent).

More than half the residents in Brent, Newham, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea were born outside the UK. The largest proportions of foreign-born residents in London were born in India (3 per cent) and Poland (2 per cent). Of the foreign-born residents in London, half arrived between 2001 and 2011.

Over 60 per cent of the resident population of England who were born in South America lived in London.

Since 2001 Southwark had overtaken Brent to have the highest proportion of African-born residents (13 per cent of the resident population).

Enfield had the largest decrease of people born in Asia (3 per cent), with Newham and Redbridge having the largest increase at 9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.  Since 2001 Newham has overtaken Tower Hamlets to have the highest proportion of residents born in Asia (27 per cent).

London was the region with the lowest proportion of people with no passports, at 8 per cent. The five local authorities with the lowest proportion of people with no passports in London were: Kensington and Chelsea, City of London, Westminster, Camden, and Brent. The lowest proportion was 3 per cent in Kensington and Chelsea.

Three of the five local authorities with the lowest proportion of UK passports held were in London: Newham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster.

Ethnicity

Top 10 ethnic groups

London, 2011, All usual residents

Rank Ethnic group Thousands Per cent
1 White: English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British 3,669 44.9
2 White: Other White 1,034 12.6
3 Black/African/Caribbean/Black British: African 574 7.0
4 Asian/Asian British: Indian 543 6.6
5 Asian/Asian British: Other Asian 399 4.9
6 Black/African/Caribbean/Black British: Caribbean 345 4.2
7 Asian/Asian British: Pakistani 224 2.7
8 Asian/Asian British: Bangladeshi 222 2.7
9 White: Irish 176 2.2
10 Other ethnic group: Any other ethnic group 175 2.1
  Total population 8,174  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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London had 3.7 million residents (45 per cent) who declared their ethnicity as ‘White: English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British’.

For every single ethnic group other than ‘White: British’, London had the highest proportion.

In England and Wales the 5 local authorities with the lowest proportions of ‘White: English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British’ were all in London: Tower Hamlets, Harrow, Ealing, Brent and Newham. All have less than 31 per cent in this category.

In Barking and Dagenham, 40,500 fewer people described themselves as ‘White: English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British’ than in 2001 – equivalent to the largest proportional decrease of any local authority (31 per cent). Some 37,000 people described themselves as ‘Black/African/Caribbean/Black British ’(over 13 per cent) - the greatest increase of any local authority. These were principally ‘Black Africans’, with an increase of 11 per cent in this group.

Religion

Top 5 Religions

London, 2011, All usual residents

Rank Religion Thousands Per cent
1 Christian 3,958 48.4
2 Muslim (Islam) 1,013 12.4
3 Hindu 411 5.0
4 Jewish 149 1.8
5 Sikh 126 1.5
  Total population 8,174  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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There was a decline in the number of London residents who stated their religious affiliation as ‘Christian’, as in all regions of England and Wales between 2001 and 2011. However, London experienced the smallest decrease (below 10 per cent) and remained the region with the lowest proportion of Christians (48 per cent).

London had the smallest increase in those having ‘No religion’, and the highest increase of Muslims (4 per cent).

London had the highest proportion of Muslims (12 per cent), Hindus (5 per cent), Jewish (2 per cent), and Buddhist (1 per cent), and people of ‘Other religions’ (1 per cent). 

Five of the top 10 local authorities with the largest proportion of Muslims were found in London: Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, and Brent. Tower Hamlets had the largest proportion with 35 per cent.

Four of the top 5 local authorities with the largest proportion of Hindus were found in London:  Harrow, Brent, Redbridge, and Hounslow. Harrow had the largest proportion with 25 per cent, and showed the greatest increase (6 per cent).

Three of the top 5 local authorities with the largest proportion of Jewish people were in London: Barnet, Hackney and Camden. Barnet had the largest proportion in England and Wales with 15 per cent.

Four of the top five local authorities with the largest proportion of Buddhists were in London: Greenwich, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, and Hounslow. Greenwich had the largest proportion with 2 per cent.

Three of the top 5 local authorities with the largest proportion of people stating ‘Other religion’ were in London: Harrow, Barnet, and Brent. Harrow had the largest proportion with 3 per cent. 

Tenure

Compared to the regions of England and Wales, London had the highest proportion of socially rented accommodation (at 24 per cent), and the highest proportion of households privately rented from a landlord or letting agency (24 per cent), 9 percentage points higher than the next highest region, the South West.

The 10 local authorities with the highest proportions of households privately rented from a landlord or letting agency were all in London. The highest proportion was in Westminster with 38 per cent.

London had the lowest percentage of homes owned outright (21 per cent) or owned with a mortgage (27 per cent). Hackney had the lowest percentage of homes owned outright (9 per cent), both in  London and all other regions.

Qualifications

London had both the highest percentage of people with recognised qualifications at degree level and above (38 per cent) and the lowest percentage with any other qualification below degree level except ‘Other’. London also had the lowest proportion of people aged 16 and over with ‘No recognised qualification’ (18 per cent).

Nine of the top 10 local authorities with the highest level of qualification at degree level or above were in London. Of these 7 are among the 10 local authorities with the lowest proportion of people with no recognised qualification. The local authority with the highest proportion of qualifications at degree level or above was City of London with 68 per cent, followed by Wandsworth with 54 per cent.

Health and provision of unpaid care

London had the highest proportion (92 per cent) of people who do not provide any unpaid care for someone with an illness or disability.

Nine of the top ten local authorities in England and Wales with the highest proportion of people who provide no unpaid care were in London; the highest was Wandsworth with 93 per cent. Wandsworth also has the highest proportion of people whose day to day activity was not limited by a long term health problem or disability (89 per cent). This local authority was  the second highest for residents declaring ‘Very good health’ (57 per cent).

Four of the top five local authorities with the largest proportion of people in ‘Very good health’ were in London: Kensington and Chelsea, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames, and Hammersmith and Fulham. Kensington and Chelsea had the largest proportion of people in ‘Very good health’ with 58 per cent.

Car or van availability

Greater London is the only region in England where there is, on average, less than one car or van per household. Whereas in the rest of the country the average increased from 1.1 per household to 1.2 between 2001 and 2011, in London it fell from 0.9 to 0.8. It was also the only region to show an increase in the proportion of car-free households, from 38 per cent to 42 per cent. 

For further information:

Media Line:  01329 447654  

Email: 2011censuspress@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Visit: www.ons.gov.uk/census for more detailed analysis and information

Twitter: www.twitter.com/statisticsONS

Data visualisation:  http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/census-data/2011-census-interactive-content/index.html 

Use this link to access interactive maps on topics such as Religion, Car ownership, Ethnicity, Dwelling type, Tenure, Year of arrival and Health. They can be embedded/used in websites using the code supplied in the maps. The maps can 'deeplink' into specific views of the data (ie a specific area and/or variable selection). Some maps are split screen, allowing graphical comparisons of 2001 with 2011 changes.

Background notes

  1. The census provides the most accurate estimate possible for the population of England and Wales and has been carried out every 10 years since 1801, apart from 1941, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The information provided to ONS is used solely for the census, is anonymised and protected for 100 years. Census day was on 27 March 2011. All census population numbers refer to that day.
  2. Government uses the census statistics to allocate funding for services such as education, transport and health. Policy makers in central and local government use the census to identify the needs of different communities and they are also used by commercial enterprises. It also provides the benchmark for future population estimates and for sample surveys.
  3. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
  4. The regions referred to conform to standard statistical regions. It is not possible to compare data for some geographies between 2011 and 2001 because of local authority reorganisation in this period.
  5. The next release of census data is scheduled for 30 January 2013.This will give Key and Quick Statistics tables at output area, wards parish and parliamentary constituency geographies. These will be accompanied by a statistical bulletin and census analysis. By the end of February 2013 Key and Quick Statistics for the remaining geographies such as National Parks will be published. Further information about each of the existing and planned census outputs is available via an online prospectus as: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/census-data/2011-census-prospectus/index.html
  6. Census results are set out in tables under Key statistics and Quick statistics. Key statistics provide summary figures that cover the full range of results from the census. They are presented in a tabular format, with figures as both numbers and percentages, to allow comparison across different areas. Quick statistics contain data which refer to one variable and its response categories from a census question. Because of this, cross-tabulation is not possible at this stage.
  7. The main population base for outputs from the 2011 Census is the usual resident population as at census day 27 March 2011. A ‘usual resident’ of the UK is anyone who, on census day, was in the UK and had stayed or intended to stay in the UK for a period of 12 months or more, or had a permanent UK address and was outside the UK and intended to be outside the UK for less than 12 months.
  8. 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

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