1. Main findings

  • In 2014, 1 in 8 (13.0%) of the usual resident population of the UK were born abroad. This compares to 1 in 11 (8.9%) in 2004

  • There was a statistically significant increase in the non-UK born population of the UK between 2013 and 2014. The non-UK born population increased from 7,921,000 to 8,277,000 (an increase of 4.5%)

  • In 2014, 1 in 12 (8.4%) of the usual resident population of the UK had non-British nationality. This compares to 1 in 20 (5.0%) in 2004

  • There was a statistically significant increase in the non-British national population of the UK between 2013 and 2014. The non-British national population increased from 4,987,000 to 5,344,000 (an increase of 7.2%)

  • The number of usual residents in the UK that held EU nationality (excluding British) was higher than those that held non-EU nationality (2,938,000 compared to 2,406,000) for the second year in a row – prior to 2013 this had not occurred since the Annual Population Survey began in 2004

  • India is the most common non-UK country of birth in 2014. An estimated 793,000 usual residents of the UK were born in India (9.6% of the total non-UK born population resident in the UK)

  • Polish is the most common non-British nationality in 2014. An estimated 853,000 usual residents of the UK have Polish nationality (16.0% of the total number of non-British nationals resident in the UK)

Back to table of contents

2. Introduction

This article outlines the latest estimates of the resident population of the UK by country of birth and nationality for calendar year 2014 and how these figures have changed since 2004. The report also focuses on statistically significant changes, comparing the population of the UK in 2014 with 2013, 2012 and 2004.

The report should be read alongside the published tables of Population by Country of Birth and Nationality January 2014 to December 2014 and the underlying datasheets.

The estimates are based upon data from the Annual Population Survey (APS). The APS, which began in 2004, is a continuous survey, comprising the Labour Force Survey (LFS), supplemented by sample boosts in England, Wales and Scotland to ensure small areas are sufficiently sampled. The APS is a survey of households in the UK, so does not include most communal establishments.

In March 2015 the APS was reweighted following the results of the 2011 Census. A research report has been published looking at the effect of the reweighting on the population of the UK. Figures for time periods quoted in previous articles may differ due to this reweighting exercise.

The estimates from the APS are different from our standard mid-year population estimates, which cover all usual residents. The mid-year population estimates provide a more comprehensive estimate of the UK population.

It is important to note that all figures contained in this report refer to estimates from the APS and do not refer to any data collected as part of the 2011 Census. We have released a report on detailed country of birth and nationality analysis from the 2011 Census of England and Wales. Findings from this report are similar to findings from the APS data. The census report stated that 13.0% of the usually resident population of England and Wales in 2011 was born abroad and 7.4% were non-British nationals. It also stated that the most common non-British nationality is Polish. Please see the glossary for more information on the differences between the APS and census.

Further data from the 2011 Census is available on the Census data section of our website.

We have also released a statistical bulletin titled Births in England and Wales by Parents’ Country of Birth, 2014 in August 2015.

Notes for Introduction

  1. Country of birth refers to the country that a person was born in and cannot change. Nationality refers to the nationality stated by a respondent when they are interviewed and can be subject to change.
Back to table of contents

3. What do the latest figures show?

Table 1 shows estimates of UK residents’ country of birth by broad country group for calendar year 2014.

Table 1 shows that, in 2014, 1 in 8 (13.0%) of the population of the UK were born abroad (8,277,000). Approximately two-thirds of the non-UK born population were born outside of the EU (5,252,000).

Table 2 shows the estimates of residents’ nationality by broad country group for calendar year 2014.

Table 2 shows that, in 2014, approximately 1 in 12 (8.4%) of the population of the UK had non-British nationality (5,344,000). Just under half of non-British nationals (2,406,000) hold non-EU nationality.

A total of 3,319,000 people born abroad have British nationality.

Of the 3,025,000 residents that were born within the EU (not including UK born), 494,000 (16.3%) hold British nationality, 2,494,000 (82.4%) hold EU nationality and 36,000 (1.2%) hold non-EU nationality. Of the 5,252,000 residents that were born outside of the EU, 2,826,000 (53.8%) hold British nationality, 208,000 (4.0%) hold EU nationality and 2,216,000 (42.2%) hold non-EU nationality.

England has the highest proportion of non-UK born usual residents (14.2% or 7,593,000), which is higher than the UK as a whole (13.0% or 8,277,000). Wales has the lowest proportion of non-UK born usual residents (5.9% or 180,000). The proportion of non-UK born usual residents living in Scotland is 7.2% or 381,000. The proportion of non-UK born usual residents living in Northern Ireland is 6.8% or 124,000.

England has the highest proportion of usual residents who are non-British nationals (9.0% or 4,839,000), which is higher than the UK as a whole (8.4% or 5,344,000). Wales has the lowest proportion of non-British nationals (3.9% or 118,000). The proportion of non-British nationals residing in Scotland is 5.4% or 282,000. The proportion of non-British nationals living in Northern Ireland is 5.8% or 105,000.

Back to table of contents

4. What changes have occurred over the period 2004 to 2014?

Country of birth

Figure 1 shows changes in the population of the UK by non-UK country of birth from 2004 to 2014.

In 2014, approximately 1 in 8 (13.0%) of the usually resident population of the UK were born outside of the UK. This equates to 8,277,000 residents. By comparison, in 2004, approximately 1 in 11 (8.9%) of the usually resident population of the UK were born outside of the UK. This equates to 5,258,000 residents. There has been a statistically significant increase of 3,019,000 non-UK born usual residents between 2004 and 2014 (an increase of 57.4%).

Comparing calendar year 2014 estimates with those for calendar year 2013, there was a statistically significant increase in the non-UK born population of the UK. The non-UK born population increased from 7,921,000 to 8,277,000. The increase in non-UK born has been driven by residents born in the EU, as there was a statistically significant increase in the EU born resident population of the UK (from 2,743,000 to 3,025,000), including increases in the number of EU14 (from 1,374,000 to 1,456,000), EU8 (from 1,092,000 to 1,242,000) and EU2 born (from 189,000 to 235,000) resident population in the UK.

The EU2 (Bulgaria and Romania) joined the EU on 1 January 2007. There were an estimated 42,000 usual residents in the UK who were born in these 2 countries in 2007. In 2014, there were an estimated 235,000 residents in the UK who were born in these 2 countries, a statistically significant increase from 2007.

The same statistically significant increases between 2013 and 2014 are seen when comparing estimates between 2012 and 2014. In addition, the increase in Asian born residents between 2012 and 2014 was statistically significant, increasing from 2,641,000 to 2,749,000.

Focusing on usual residents born outside of the UK, the estimated population born in the EU8 saw a statistically significant increase between 2004 and 2008 (from 167,000 to 701,000). This increase occurred following Accession (EU enlargement) in 2004 and the widened opportunities for EU8 nationals to live and work in the UK.

Nationality

Figure 2 shows changes in the population of the UK by non-British nationality from 2004 to 2014.

As can be seen in Figure 2, calendar year 2014 was the second year in a row that the resident population of EU nationals (2,938,000) was higher than the resident population of those with non-EU nationality (2,406,000). Prior to 2013, this had not occurred since the Annual Population Survey began in 2004.

In 2014, approximately 1 in 12 (8.4%) of the usually resident population of the UK held non-British nationality. This equates to 5,344,000 residents. By comparison, in 2004, approximately 1 in 20 (5.0%) of the usually resident population of the UK were non-British nationals. This equates to 2,964,000 residents. There has been a statistically significant increase of 2,380,000 in the estimated number of non-British nationals resident in the UK between 2004 and 2014 (an increase of 80.3%).

Comparing calendar year 2014 estimates with those for calendar year 2013, there was a statistically significant increase in the non-British national population of the UK. The non-British national population increased from 4,987,000 to 5,344,000. The increase in non-British nationals has been driven by residents holding EU nationality, as there was a statistically significant increase in EU nationals resident in the UK (from 2,566,000 to 2,938,000), including increases in the number of EU14 (from 1,190,000 to 1,340,000), EU8 (from 1,166,000 to 1,336,000) and EU2 nationals (from 186,000 to 234,000) resident population in the UK.

In 2007, there were an estimated 34,000 usual residents in the UK with EU2 (Bulgarian or Romanian) nationality. In 2014, this figure had seen a statistically significant increase to 234,000.

The same statistically significant increases between 2013 and 2014 are seen when comparing estimates between 2012 and 2014. In addition, there was a statistically significant decrease in the resident population of non-EU nationals, declining from 2,515,000 to 2,406,000. The decrease in non-EU nationals has been driven by nationals from the Rest of the World (those countries that are not part of Europe or Asia), which saw a statistically significant decline from 1,073,000 to 977,000.

Back to table of contents

5. Which countries are non-UK born residents and non-British nationals from?

In 2014, India was the most common non-UK country of birth. An estimated 793,000 residents of the UK were born in India (9.6% of the total number of non-UK born residents in the UK in 2014). By comparison, in 2004, 505,000 residents of the UK were born in India (also 9.6% of the total number of non-UK born residents in the UK in 2004). There has been a statistically significant increase of 288,000 Indian born residents in the UK between 2004 and 2014.

In 2014, the top 5 countries of birth for usual residents born outside the UK were India, Poland, Pakistan, Republic of Ireland and Germany. Figure 3 shows the usual resident population in the UK for individuals born in these countries for the years 2010 to 2014.

Comparing estimates for 2014 with those for the previous year, there was a statistically significant increase in the number of Poland born residents in the UK. The estimated population of Poland born residents increased from 688,000 to 790,000 between 2013 and 2014. Between 2012 and 2014, there were statistically significant increases in both Poland born and Pakistan born residents in the UK. Poland born residents increased from 658,000 to 790,000 and Pakistan born residents increased from 477,000 to 523,000.

In 2014, Polish was the most common non-British nationality. An estimated 853,000 residents in the UK have Polish nationality (16.0% of the total number of non-British nationals resident in the UK). By comparison, in 2004, 69,000 residents of the UK had Polish nationality (2.3% of the total number of non-British nationals resident in the UK). There has been a statistically significant increase of 784,000 Polish nationals residing in the UK between 2004 and 2014.

In 2014, the top 5 non-British nationalities for usual residents in the UK were for nationals of Poland, India, Republic of Ireland, Pakistan and Romania. Figure 4 shows the usual resident population in the UK for individuals with these nationalities for the years 2010 to 2014.

Comparing estimates for 2014 with those for the previous year, there were statistically significant increases in the Polish national population and Romanian national population. Polish nationals increased from 736,000 to 853,000 and Romanian nationals increased from 135,000 to 175,000. Romania has appeared in the top 5 most common non-British national countries for the first time since the APS began in 2004, replacing Lithuania. This may be due to the lifting of restrictions on employment for Romanian (and Bulgarian) nationals on 1 January 2014. Between 2012 and 2014, there were statistically significant increases in Polish nationals, Pakistani nationals and Romanian nationals. Polish nationals increased from 713,000 to 853,000, Pakistani nationals increased from 181,000 to 210,000 and Romanian nationals increased from 108,000 to 175,000.

Further analysis of the 2 most common countries of birth shows that, of the 793,000 Indian born residing in the UK in 2014, just over half (438,000 or 55.2%) are British nationals, compared to just 30,000 (3.8%) of the 790,000 Poland born residing in the UK. This reflects that those born in Poland do not change their nationality to remain here, whereas for Indian born (and non-EU born in general) there is an incentive to acquire British citizenship. This may also reflect the length of time that individuals have lived in the UK and the numbers born to UK citizens living in India.

Back to table of contents

7. Glossary

Comparing the 2011 Census and Mid-Year Population Estimates with the Annual Population Survey

This report presents estimates using data from the Annual Population Survey (APS). There are some differences between the APS, the 2011 Census, and our Mid-Year Population Estimates.

  1. It should be noted that the APS:

    • excludes students in halls who do not have a UK resident parent
    • excludes people in most other types of communal establishments (for example, hotels, boarding houses, hostels, mobile home sites, etc)

    The 2011 Census and Mid-Year Population Estimates include all usual residents in England and Wales.

  2. The APS is a sample survey of households. There are approximately 320,000 persons per dataset.

  3. The 2011 Census data refers to a point in time (27 March 2011), whereas the APS dataset relates to a period of 1 year (January to December).

  4. The mid-year population estimates include all people who usually live in England and Wales, whatever their nationality. People arriving into an area from outside the UK are only included in the population estimates if their total stay in the UK is 12 months or more. Visitors and short-term migrants (those who enter the UK for 3 to 12 months for certain purposes) are not included. Similarly, people who leave the UK are only excluded from the population estimates if they remain outside the UK for 12 months or more. This is consistent with the United Nations recommended definition of an international long-term migrant. Members of UK and non-UK armed forces stationed in the UK are included in the population and UK forces stationed outside the UK are excluded. Students are taken to be resident at their term time address.

Country of birth

The country in which a person was born.

EU27

The EU27 consists of the countries in the EU14, EU8, EU2, Malta, Cyprus, and Croatia (from 1 July 2013). UK born or British nationals are not included in this group.

Between 2004 and 2006, this grouping was known as the EU24 and included the countries in the EU14, the EU8, Malta and Cyprus. In 2007, this grouping became the EU26, to include Bulgaria and Romania, who acceded to the EU on 1 January 2007.

EU14

The EU14 includes the countries of the EU, other than the UK, as constituted between 1 January 1995 and 1 May 2004 (that is, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain and Sweden).

EU8

These are the 8 Central and Eastern European countries that acceded to the EU on 1 May 2004 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia).

EU2

These are the 2 countries that joined the EU on 1 January 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania). Employment restrictions were in place until 1 January 2014, when they were lifted.

Nationality

Nationality refers to that stated by the respondent during the interview. It is possible that an individual’s nationality may change. If a respondent has dual nationality, only the first one is recorded.

Back to table of contents

8.Background notes

  1. A National Statistics publication

    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They are produced free from any political interference.

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;
    • are well explained and readily accessible;
    • are produced according to sound methods, and
    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

  2. Copyright and reproduction

    You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Users should include a source accreditation to ONS - Source: Office for National Statistics (www.ons.gov.uk)

    © Crown copyright 2015

    To view this licence, go to the national archives website or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU

    email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

  3. Data supplier:
    Migration Statistics Unit
    Population Statistics Division
    Office for National Statistics
    Segensworth Road
    FAREHAM
    PO15 5RR

    email: migstatsunit@ons.gov.uk tel: +44 (0)1329 444097

  4. A list of those with pre-release access to the Population by Country if Birth and Nationality statistics release is available.

  5. 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.

Back to table of contents

Contact details for this Article

Nicola White
migstatsunit@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1329 444097