People born outside the UK
Last updated 19 March 2020 - see all updates
- 1. Navigate to Main facts and figures section
- 2. Navigate toPlace of birth (UK or non-UK) by ethnicity section
- 3. Navigate toEthnic groups by region of birth section
- 4. Navigate toTop 10 countries of birth outside the UK section
- 5. Navigate to Methodology section
- 6. Navigate to Data sources section
- 7. Navigate to Download the data section
1. Main facts and figures
- 13.4% of people in England and Wales (7.5 million people) were born outside the UK, according to the 2011 Census
- 1.2% of the population was born in India (694,000 people), 1.0% in Poland (579,000 people), and 0.9% in Pakistan (482,000 people)
- in the 10 years between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses, the percentage of the non-UK born population that was born in Poland increased from 1.3% to 7.7% (from 58,000 to 579,000 people)
- 93.0% of people in the White ethnic group were born in the UK (the highest percentage out of all broad ethnic groups), followed by 80.6% of people with Mixed ethnicity, 46.9% of people in the Black group, 42.0% of people in the Asian group, and 29.8% of people in the Other ethnic group
- just over half (50.3%) of people in the broad Asian ethnic group were born in Asia or the Middle East, rising to 71.3% for people in the specific Chinese ethnic group
- 61.4% of people with Black African ethnicity were born in Africa, while 37.9% of those with Black Caribbean ethnicity were born in the Americas (including the Caribbean)
The ethnic categories used in this data
The Census uses a standard set of ethnic groups to collect and classify ethnicity data.
The 2011 Census used 18 standardised ethnic categories:
Asian / Asian British:
- Any other Asian background
Black / African / Caribbean / Black British:
- Any other Black / African / Caribbean background
Mixed / Multiple ethnic groups:
- Mixed White and Black Caribbean
- Mixed White and Black African
- Mixed White and Asian
- Any other Mixed / Multiple ethnic background, please describe
- English / Welsh / Scottish / Northern Irish / British
- Gypsy or Irish Traveller
- Any other White background, please describe
Other ethnic group:
- Any other ethnic group
2. Place of birth (UK or non-UK) by ethnicity
|Mixed White/Black African||31.8||68.2|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||6.0||94.0|
Summary of People born outside the UK Place of birth (UK or non-UK) by ethnicity Summary
3. Ethnic groups by region of birth
|Ethnicity||Africa||Antarctica and Oceania (including Australasia)||Asia and Middle East||EU countries at 2001 Census||EU countries that joined between 2001 and 2011||Rest of Europe||Ireland||The Americas and the Caribbean|
|Mixed White/Black African||20.2||0.2||1.0||6.3||1.3||0.5||0.4||1.9|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||0.3||0.1||0.2||0.8||0.2||0.1||0.2||4.1|
Summary of People born outside the UK Ethnic groups by region of birth Summary
4. Top 10 countries of birth outside the UK
|Country||2001 Census||% non-UK born residents in 2001||2011 Census||% non-UK born residents in 2011||% all residents in 2011|
|Republic of Ireland||473,000||10.2||407,000||5.4||0.7|
|All other non-UK born||2,435,000||52.5||4,138,000||55.1||7.4|
|Total non-UK born||4,636,000||100.0||7,505,000||100.0||13.4|
Summary of People born outside the UK Top 10 countries of birth outside the UK Summary
All households in England and Wales received a Census questionnaire through the post from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), along with an information leaflet and a pre-paid envelope for return by post.
Households in Wales received both English language and Welsh language questionnaires and information leaflets.
Householders could complete their questionnaire either:
- on paper, and return it by post
- online – each paper questionnaire had a unique internet access code
Responses were uploaded every day onto the questionnaire tracking system throughout the duration of the Census. This meant that households could be contacted if their questionnaire had not been submitted.
Communal establishments like care homes, and special groups (such as travellers), had their questionnaires hand delivered, collected and uploaded by Census employees. Individuals within communal establishments could also complete their questionnaire online.
There were 56 questions in the 2011 Census questionnaire:
- 14 questions were about the household and its accommodation
- 42 questions were for each member of the household
Topics included work, health, national identity, passports, ethnicity, education, second homes, language, religion and marital status.
There was an extra question about the Welsh language for households in Wales.
A census is designed to cover the whole population, but some people or households are inevitably left out by accident. A good census design will recognise this and take account of the error with quality controls.
ONS developed a ‘coverage assessment and adjustment methodology’ which estimates and adjusts Census data for the number of people and households not counted or counted incorrectly.
All the 2011 Census population estimates have been subject to quality assurance using demographic analysis, survey data, qualitative information and administrative data. This ensures that the figures are plausible and that users of Census data can have confidence in the quality and accuracy of the information.
Relative confidence intervals for the population by ethnicity down to local authority level can be found in the ONS archive.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
The ONS uses a number of ways to protect the confidentiality of individuals and households, including:
- record swapping, where small numbers of records are swapped between geographical areas
- restricting the amount of detail shown in published data, particularly at low level geographies like local authorities
Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.
Further technical information
6. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Office for National Statistics
Every 10 years
Purpose of data source
The Census is carried out every 10 years. Data from the March 2021 Census will not be available until 2022, so 2011 Census data is used instead.
Census data gives the government the information it needs to plan and run public services. It is also used as a benchmark for other statistical estimates, and it can help illustrate differences between various groups in the population.
7. Download the data
This file contains the following variables: Ethnic group, Country of birth, Value, Geography, Source, Period