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 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)
Things you need to know

This data only includes people who were ‘usually resident’ in England and Wales on the day of the 2011 Census. A usual resident is anyone who either:

  • was living in the UK for 12 months or more
  • had a permanent UK address but was living outside the UK for less than 12 months

The Census is planned and carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) every 10 years in England and Wales. The last Census was held in March 2011.

The Census is the only survey to give a detailed picture of the whole population of England and Wales. It makes it possible to compare different parts of the country as all households are asked the same questions within the same time period.

For the 2011 Census, around 25 million pre-addressed questionnaires were posted out to all households using a specially developed national address register. Households could return their questionnaire by post or complete it online. Census employees delivered questionnaires by hand to people living in residential care homes, hospitals, hostels, boarding schools, university halls of residence, mobile home parks, military bases and other communal establishments.

94% of households completed the 2011 Census. Of those, 97% answered the question about ethnicity.

While someone’s place of birth doesn’t always indicate their ethnicity, there is often a link. For example, most people born in India were in the Indian ethnic group in the 2011 Census, and most people born in Jamaica were in the Black Caribbean ethnic group.

What the data measures

This data shows the country of birth for people resident in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census. The data is broken down by ethnicity.

The second analysis on this page, ‘Ethnic groups by country of birth’, uses the following regional groupings:

  • Ireland
  • the EU at the time of the 2001 Census: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
  • countries that joined the EU between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia
  • the rest of Europe: Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Norway, Russia, San Marino, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vatican City
  • Africa
  • the Middle East and Asia
  • North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean
  • Australasia, Oceania and Antarctica (including Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea)

The Census is held in England and Wales every 10 years to collect data on every person living in the country on a specific date.

The Census provides the only source of directly comparable statistics for both small areas and minority population groups across England and Wales.

The information the Census provides allows central and local government, health authorities and many other organisations to plan housing, education, health and transport services for years to come.

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:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background

Black / African / Caribbean / Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • 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

White:

  • English / Welsh / Scottish / Northern Irish / British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy or Irish Traveller
  • Any other White background, please describe

Other ethnic group:

  • Arab
  • Any other ethnic group

2. Place of birth (UK or non-UK) by ethnicity

Percentage of each ethnic group born inside and outside the UK
Ethnicity Non-UK UK
% %
All 13.4 86.6
Asian 58.0 42.0
Bangladeshi 48.1 51.9
Chinese 76.3 23.7
Indian 57.1 42.9
Pakistani 43.9 56.1
Asian other 75.2 24.8
Black 53.2 46.8
Black African 67.3 32.7
Black Caribbean 39.9 60.1
Black other 31.6 68.4
Mixed 19.5 80.5
Mixed White/Asian 20.8 79.2
Mixed White/Black African 31.8 68.2
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 6.0 94.0
Mixed other 30.9 69.1
White 7.1 92.9
White British 2.1 97.9
White Irish 66.6 33.4
White Gypsy/Traveller 12.2 87.8
White other 85.5 14.5
Other 70.1 29.9
Arab 72.4 27.6
Any other 68.6 31.4

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, 92.9% of people in the White ethnic group were born in the UK (the highest percentage out of all broad ethnic groups), followed by 80.5% of people with Mixed ethnicity, 46.8% of Black people, 42.0% of people in the Asian group, and 29.9% of people in the Other ethnic group
  • out of all specific ethnic groups, the White British group had the highest percentage of people born in the UK (at 97.9%), followed by Mixed White and Black Caribbean (94.0%) and Gypsy/Roma (87.8%)
  • the Other White group had the lowest percentage of people born in the UK, at 14.5%

3. Ethnic groups by region of birth

Percentage of each ethnic group born in each region (not including the UK)
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
% % % % % % % %
All 2.3 0.3 4.6 1.6 2.0 0.5 0.7 1.2
Asian 5.3 0.2 50.3 0.8 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.6
Bangladeshi 0.3 0.0 46.8 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1
Chinese 1.1 0.6 71.3 0.9 0.6 0.2 0.2 1.2
Indian 11.9 0.2 43.7 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.5
Pakistani 0.7 0.0 41.9 0.7 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1
Asian other 5.1 0.3 65.1 1.8 0.8 0.9 0.2 1.1
Black 35.4 0.1 0.8 2.3 0.5 0.2 0.3 13.5
Black African 61.4 0.1 1.0 3.0 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.8
Black Caribbean 0.5 0.0 0.3 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.3 37.9
Black other 17.8 0.6 1.2 3.8 0.7 0.4 0.3 6.9
Mixed 4.5 0.5 5.0 2.6 1.3 1.0 0.3 4.2
Mixed White/Asian 1.3 0.5 12.4 2.1 1.0 1.7 0.3 1.6
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
Mixed other 5.7 1.4 5.7 3.8 3.2 1.6 0.6 9.0
White 0.6 0.3 0.4 1.6 2.2 0.5 0.8 0.6
White British 0.4 0.2 0.3 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2
White Irish 0.8 0.4 0.5 0.9 0.6 0.2 62.1 1.1
White Gypsy/Traveller 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.9 7.0 0.4 3.0 0.3
White other 4.4 3.5 2.3 21.4 38.3 7.6 0.4 7.5
Other 14.8 0.9 35.2 3.4 4.0 4.3 0.4 7.2
Arab 22.0 0.3 42.3 3.6 1.5 0.7 0.4 1.6
Any other 9.9 1.3 30.2 3.3 5.7 6.8 0.4 11.0

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, 4.8% of the population of England and Wales was born in Europe (not including the UK), 4.6% was born in Asia and the Middle East, 2.3% in Africa, 1.2% in the Americas, and 0.3% in Australasia
  • just over half (50.3%) of people in the Asian ethnic group were born in Asia or the Middle East; this figure rose to 71.3% for those in the Chinese specific ethnic group
  • 61.4% of people in the Black African ethnic group were born in Africa, while 37.9% of people in the Black Caribbean group were born in the Americas (including the Caribbean)
  • over one-third (38.3%) of people in the Other White ethnic group were born in the ‘accession’ countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007

4. Top 10 countries of birth outside the UK

Number and percentage of UK residents born in the 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
India 456,000 9.8 694,000 9.2 1.2
Poland 58,000 1.3 579,000 7.7 1.0
Pakistan 308,000 6.6 482,000 6.4 0.9
Republic of Ireland 473,000 10.2 407,000 5.4 0.7
Germany 244,000 5.2 274,000 3.6 0.5
Bangladesh 153,000 3.3 212,000 2.8 0.4
Nigeria 87,000 1.9 191,000 2.5 0.3
South Africa 132,000 2.8 191,000 2.5 0.3
United States 144,000 3.1 177,000 2.4 0.3
Jamaica 146,000 3.1 160,000 2.1 0.3
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

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, 7.5 million people resident in England and Wales were born outside the UK (around 13.4% of the population)
  • 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 population that was born in Poland increased from 1.3% to 7.7% (from 58,000 to 579,000 people) – this reflects the immigration patterns seen after Poland joined the EU in 2004
  • in the same period, the percentage of the population that was born in Ireland went down from 10.2% to 5.4% (from 473,000 to 407,000 people)

5. Methodology

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

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Census user guide.

2011 UK Censuses.

6. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Every 10 years

Purpose of data source

The government uses Census data to develop policies, plan and run public services, and allocate funding. The Census also helps illustrate differences between various groups of the population.

7. Download the data

People born outside the UK - Spreadsheet (csv) 43 KB

This file contains the following variables: Ethnic group, Country of birth, Value, Geography, Source, Period