Today the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published a suite of Census 2021 bulletins, which give insight into the cultural identity of people in England and Wales in March last year. These cover ethnic group, national identity, language and religion.

"The census provides a unique and comprehensive understanding of everyone's self-defined cultural identity, which in turn leads to a more accurate picture of the population," Census Deputy Director Jon Wroth-Smith said.

"Today's data highlights the increasingly multi-cultural society we live in. The percentage of people identifying their ethnic group as 'White: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British', continues to decrease. Whilst this remains the most common response to the ethnic group question, the number of people identifying with another ethnic group continues to increase.

"However, the picture varies depending on where you live. London remains the most ethnically diverse region of England, where just under two-thirds identify with an ethnic minority group, whereas under 1 in 10 identify this way in the North East.

"But despite the ethnically diverse nature of society, 9 in 10 people across England and Wales still identify with a UK national identity, with nearly 8 in 10 doing so in London."

Mr Wroth-Smith added: "The results show that there are fewer people who have a religious identity. More than 22 million people – an increase of 8 million since 2011 – said they had 'No religion'. And for the first time in a census of England and Wales, less than half of the population reported their religion as Christian, although it remained the most common response.

"English (English or Welsh in Wales) remains the dominant main language, but Polish, Romanian, Panjabi and Urdu are other common main languages spoken. Again, the picture varies across England and Wales. The number of people who reported Romanian as their main language has seen the largest percentage increase, which mirrors the rise in Romanian-born people living here since the last census."


To read our full reports head to Ethnic group, national identity, language, and religion: Census 2021 in England and Wales 

  • In our blog post How am I represented in Census 2021 data? we look at how data on the myriad ways people chose to identify are being turned into meaningful statistics. 

  • Today we have launched our application programming interface (API) for topic summaries, enabling users to filter datasets via geography. This allows users to request a list of available geographies for each population type.  

  • We have updated Census maps to include today's data as well as the recent statistics on UK armed forces veterans.

  • Today we have launched Area Profiles on Nomis which allow users to view local statistics across different topics and compare them to national statistics. They currently use Local Authority level data and more data and geographies will be added over time.

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