These estimates are based on the Labour Force Survey, which has used a new weighting methodology to reflect the change in survey operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; Data below UK, EU and non-EU level should be treated with caution and not be compared with previous years.
We will be updating our estimates to provide the best picture of the population as more information becomes available, particularly the results from the 2021 Census, which will give further insight when published next year.
In the year ending June 2021, the non-UK-born population was an estimated 9.6 million and the non-British population was an estimated 6.0 million; both the non-UK-born population and non-British population have remained broadly stable since 2019.
- The EU-born population remained similar to the previous year; however, the non-EU born population increased from the previous year.
- Conversely, the EU national population decreased when compared to the previous year, whereas the non-EU national population remained similar to previous years.
- India continued to be the most common non-UK country of birth, and Polish remained the most common non-British nationality.
- London continued to be the region with the largest estimated proportion of non-UK-born (37%) and non-British (21%) population.
Population estimates by country of birth and nationality in this release cannot be directly compared with the figures from the European Union Settlement Scheme because of differences in what the statistics measure and how they are compiled.
Non-UK populations (non-UK-born and non-British nationals) remained broadly stable in the year ending June 2021. From 2004 to year ending June 2017, a general upward trend in population size is seen; since then the populations have stabilised.
The EU-born population in the year ending June 2021 was an estimated 3.5 million, which is similar to levels seen in the previous year. The non-EU-born population, however, saw an increase from an estimated 5.9 million to 6.1 million between the year ending June 2020 and the year ending June 2021 (Figure 2).
The number of EU nationals currently resident in the UK decreased from an estimated 3.6 million to 3.4 million between the year ending June 2020 and the year ending June 2021. The non-EU-national population (2.6 million) has remained broadly stable since 2008 (Figure 3).
India is the most common non-UK country of birth in the year ending June 2021. Polish has been the most common non-British nationality in the UK since 2007. The countries of birth and nationalities making up the top five in the year ending June 2021 are in Table 1 below.
|Country of Birth||Nationality|
|Country||Estimate||Confidence Interval (±)||Country||Estimate||Confidence Interval (±)|
|Pakistan||456||37||Republic of Ireland||370||34|
|Republic of Ireland||412||35||Italy||342||32|
Download this table Table 1: Population of the UK for the five most common non-UK countries of birth and nationalities, year ending June 2021.xls .csv
More about the population and migration
- Research on the way we produce population and migration statistics.
- Latest estimates on migration into and out of the UK.
- Find out about the future design of migration estimates.
- Latest research on population estimates using administrative data.
- Research into estimating the student population.
- Analysis on the different types of visas held in the UK.
The proportion of the population in local authorities who were born outside the UK, or who held non-British nationality, varied across the country. The interactive map (Figure 4) allows you to explore these patterns in more detail.
Figure 4: Population of non-UK-born and non-British nationals varies across the country
Percentage of non-UK-born and non-British national populations in Great Britain, by local authority, year ending June 2021
- Data are unavailable for the districts of Northern Ireland.
Download this chart
London has the highest proportion of non-UK populations
London remained the area with the largest proportion of non-UK-born residents in the year ending June 2021; an estimated 37% were non-UK-born, while 21% were non-British nationals (Figure 4).
The local authority with the highest percentage of non-UK-born residents was Kensington and Chelsea (53%). The local authorities with the highest percentage of non-British national residents were Hounslow and Kensington and Chelsea (both 31%).Back to table of contents
Population of the UK by country of birth and nationality
Dataset | Released 25 November 2021
UK residents by broad country of birth and citizenship groups, broken down by UK country, local authority, unitary authority, metropolitan and London boroughs, and counties. Estimates from the Annual Population Survey.
Population of the UK by country of birth and nationality: individual country data
Dataset | Released 25 November 2021
UK residents by individual countries of birth and citizenship, broken down by UK country, local authority, unitary authority, metropolitan and London boroughs, and counties. Estimates from the Annual Population Survey.
EU27 is referred to as EU throughout this bulletin. EU27 is the sum of EU14, EU8 and EU2, plus Malta, Cyprus and Croatia (from 1 July 2013).
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain and Sweden.
Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004: Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Bulgaria and Romania.
The two Mediterranean countries, Malta and Cyprus, that joined the EU in 2004 and Croatia, which joined the EU in mid-2013.
Non-EU is the sum of Asia, the Rest of the World and the rest of Europe.
Non-response bias is the bias that occurs when the people who respond to a survey differ significantly from the people who do not respond to the survey, which can cause the sample to be unrepresentative of the population or cause larger variance in the estimates.
Rest of the world
Rest of the World is the sum of North America, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, and Oceania.
Rest of Europe
Rest of Europe are the countries remaining once the EU27 countries and the UK have been excluded from Europe. A list of which countries are in each country group is available in the international migration table of contents.Back to table of contents
Estimates of the population of the UK by country of birth and nationality are based upon data from the Annual Population Survey (APS).
More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Population by country of birth and nationality QMI.
We are transforming our migration statistics, making use of all available data to provide a richer and deeper understanding of migration. More information is available in our latest update report on population and migration statistics transformation.Back to table of contents
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 estimates in this bulletin contain uncertainty.
Coronavirus and Labour Force Survey estimates
The APS is weighted to be representative by age, sex and region, plus additional weighting for housing tenure. Modelled population totals for UK, EU and non-EU country of birth was introduced following the reweighting of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) in July 2021. This new weighting methodology uses growth rates from HM Revenue and Customs Real Time Information (RTI) employee data to improve the population weights. Because of data availability in RTI, Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020 modelled growth rates were used for the 2021 data.
An additional non-response adjustment was also applied using factors based on local area level information from the 2011 Census. Further information on the methods used to reweight the LFS is available in the Labour Force Survey weighting methodology.
One impact has been that the sample size of the APS has become smaller, which leads to more variability in the estimates. Estimates for small groups, which are based on smaller subsets of the APS sample, are less reliable, subject to larger potential sample bias 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.
When the recent Labour Force Survey weighting methodology was applied, there was a small error in the implementation. When calculating three-month averages for RTI the months used were the previous three-month average. For example, for the October to December period, the RTI data used was that for September to November. This led to a slight overestimation of the non-UK population by approximately 0.5%. This represents less than half the size of the sampling variability. The size is roughly the same over the quarters of 2020 and the impact on January to December 2020 APS estimates is about 14,000 for EU-born, 25,000 for non-EU-born and 39,000 for non-UK-born.
Caution comparing estimates from different sources
The APS is not designed to measure long-term international migration flows but does give insights into changes in our population. The population estimates in this bulletin are what we refer to as stocks. It is not possible to directly compare stocks from the APS and migration flows, as outlined in our latest blog on how we count migrants: Experimental migration data: No evidence of UK exodus.
When comparing data sources, users must be aware of the differences in coverage, accuracy, timing, and quality of these sources and why this can mean that they cannot be compared on a truly "like-for-like" basis. No conclusions should be drawn before each of these aspects has been carefully considered.
In particular, the population estimates by country of birth and nationality cannot be directly compared with the figures from the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS). While these two data sources provide valuable insights on a particular aspect of migration, they cannot be directly compared because of differences in what the statistics measure and how they are compiled. These differences have been explained in more detail in the blog Are there really 6m EU citizens living in the UK?Back to table of contents
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