Population of the UK by country of birth and nationality: July 2018 to June 2019

Latest population estimates for the UK by country of birth and nationality, covering the period from 2004 to the year ending June 2019.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email Ann Blake

Release date:
28 November 2019

Next release:
21 May 2020

2. Analysis of the population of the UK by country of birth and nationality

Non-UK population remains stable following previous year-on-year increases

In the year ending June 2019, the non-UK born population was 9.4 million and non-British population was 6.2 million, which were both similar to the previous year.

In the year ending June 2019, the number of people with an EU8 nationality was 1.4 million and was mainly accounted for by those holding Polish nationality. This was similar to levels seen in 2015, following peak levels in 2016 and 2017.

When looking at year-on-year change, caution should be taken when comparing with international migration flows data. Our recent work on understanding different migration data sources shows our latest understanding on the coherence of these data sources and the steps we are taking to adjust our survey estimates.

Despite the recent decrease, Polish has continued to be the most common non-British nationality in the UK since 2007. However, India is now the most common non-UK country of birth, the first time since 2015 that Poland has not been the most common. The countries of birth and nationalities making up the top five remain the same as for 2018.

Country of birth:
1. India
2. Poland
3. Pakistan
4. Romania
5. Republic of Ireland

Nationality:
1. Poland
2. Romania
3. India
4. Republic of Ireland
5. Italy

London remains the region with the largest proportion of non-UK born (37%) and non-British (23%) population.

Non-UK populations vary across Great Britain

The proportion of the population in local authorities who were born outside the UK, or who held non-British nationality, varied across Great Britain. The interactive maps (Figure 1) allow you to explore these patterns in more detail.

Figure 1: Population of non-UK Born and non-British nationals varies across Great Britain

Percentage of non-UK Born and non-British national populations by local authority, Mid-2019

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Notes:

  1. Data is unavailable for the districts of Northern Ireland

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There were three local authorities (all within London) where half or more of the population were born outside of the UK: Brent at 54%, Kensington and Chelsea at 51%, and Westminster at 50%.

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3. Measuring these data

Estimates of the population of the UK by country of birth and nationality are based upon data from the Annual Population Survey (APS). The APS is a survey of households in the UK and does not include most communal establishments, so will exclude non-UK students in halls of residence.

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.

We are transforming our migration statistics, making use of all available data to provide a richer and deeper understanding of migration. On 15 November 2019, we published our latest update report on our population and migration statistics transformation using administrative data.

The Population by country of birth and nationality Quality and Methodology Information report contains important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data and how it compares with related data
  • uses and users of the data
  • how the output was created
  • the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data
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4. Strengths and limitations

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is a household survey and so does not cover most people living in communal establishments, some NHS accommodation, or students living in halls of residence who have non-UK resident parents. As a result, the population totals used in APS estimates are not directly comparable with mid-year population estimates, which refer to the entire UK population. The APS is weighted to be representative by age, sex and region and as such has no control totals for country of birth and nationality. The APS sample frame also means there is a longer time lag.

All estimates produced are subject to sampling variability – confidence intervals are used as a measure of the precision of the estimate. As the number of people available in the sample gets smaller, the variability of the estimates that we can make from that sample size gets larger. Estimates for small groups, which are based on smaller subsets of the APS sample, are less reliable and tend to be more volatile than for larger aggregated groups. Therefore, users are advised to be cautious when drawing conclusions from estimates that are broken down to smaller groups, for example, by country, nationality, age or local authority.

Caution comparing migration estimates from different survey sources

The APS is not designed to measure Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) flows but does give insights into changes in our population. As part of our transformation programme, a number of differences have been identified when making comparisons between migration data from the APS, Labour Force Survey (LFS) and International Passenger Survey (IPS). Our report into the coherence of migration data sources discusses the differences in what each survey tells us about migration flows and provides a better understanding of the reasons for these in the wider context of our transformation work. The adjusted LTIM and IPS estimates are our best available estimates of migration flows.

Caution comparing population by country of birth and nationality estimates with administrative data sources

Not all data sources are comparable, and users should be aware of this before drawing any conclusions. As part of the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Migration Statistics Transformation Programme, we are continuing to improve our understanding of how administrative data can be used to measure migration, the limitations of doing this and how different data sources compare.

Users should carefully consider the coverage of each source (that is, all people, all people living in households and all applications for a specific service); the date to which the sources refer; and information about the quality of the source before drawing conclusions based on comparisons between different sources.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Ann Blake
migstatsunit@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1329 444097