Population of England and Wales
1. Main facts and figures
- according to the 2021 Census, the total population of England and Wales was 59.6 million, and 81.7% of the population was white
- people from Asian ethnic groups made up the second largest percentage of the population (9.3%), followed by black (4.0%), mixed (2.9%) and other (2.1%) ethnic groups
- out of the 19 ethnic groups, white British people made up the largest percentage of the population (74.4%), followed by people in the white 'other' (6.2%) and Indian (3.1%) ethnic groups
- from 2011 to 2021, the percentage of people in the white British ethnic group went down from 80.5% to 74.4%
- the percentage of people in the white 'other' ethnic group went up from 4.4% to 6.2% – the largest percentage point increase out of all ethnic groups
- the number of people who identified as ‘any other ethnic background’ went up from 333,100 to 923,800
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
This data measures the size of the population of England and Wales, and the number and percentage of people from each ethnic group.
Census data includes people in around 25 million private households. It also includes communal establishments, such as care homes and university halls of residence.
Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.
Read more about the 2021 Census.
Not included in the data
The data does not include households that did not answer the question about ethnicity.
97% of people completed the 2021 Census.
The data has been adjusted to take into account people and households who were not counted or counted incorrectly.
The ethnic groups used in the data
This data uses the standardised list of 19 ethnic groups that were developed for the 2021 Census.
The ethnic groups used in the 2021 Census were slightly different from the 2011 Census ethnic groups.
There were 2 changes in 2021 – the ‘Roma’ group was added under the ‘white’ ethnic group, and people could write their own response under the ‘black African’ ethnic group.
As a result, figures for the white other and black African and black other ethnic groups may not be directly comparable for 2011 and 2021, although the groups concerned account for very low percentages of the overall population.
Read the detailed methodology document for this data.
You can find confidence intervals for the data in the interactive tools showing the quality and quality assurance.
3. By ethnicity
|Mixed White/Black African||0.4||249,593|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||0.9||513,040|
|Gypsy Or Irish Traveller||0.1||67,757|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)
Summary of Population of England and Wales By ethnicity Summary
The 2021 Census data shows that:
- the total population of England and Wales was 59.6 million
- 48.7 million people (81.7%) were from white ethnic groups – 44.4 million of those identified with the white British group (74.4% of the population) and 3.7 million with the white 'other' ethnic group (6.2%)
- 5.5 million people (9.3%) were from Asian ethnic groups – 1.9 million of those identified with the Indian ethnic group (3.1%), and 1.6 million with the Pakistani ethnic group (2.7%)
- 2.4 million people (4.0%) were from black ethnic groups – 1.5 million of those identified with the black African ethnic group (2.5%), and 0.6 million with the black Caribbean ethnic group (1.0%)
- 1.7 million people (2.9%) had mixed ethnicity – 0.5 million of those identified with the mixed white and black Caribbean ethnic group (0.9%), and 0.5 million with the mixed white and Asian ethnic group (0.8%)
- 1.3 million people (2.1%) belonged to other ethnic groups – 0.9 million of those identified with the ‘any other’ ethnic group (1.6%), and 0.3 million with the Arab ethnic group (0.6%)
4. By ethnicity over time
|Ethnicity||% 2021||% 2011||% 2001|
|Mixed White/Black African||0.4||0.3||0.2|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||0.9||0.8||0.5|
|Gypsy Or Irish Traveller||0.1||0.1||N/A*|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)
Summary of Population of England and Wales By ethnicity over time Summary
Census data for England and Wales shows that, from 2001 to 2021:
- the percentage of people in the white British ethnic group went down from 87.5% to 74.4%
- the percentage of people in the white Irish ethnic group also went down, from 1.2% to 0.9%
- the percentage of people in the white 'other' ethnic group went up from 2.6% to 6.2%, the biggest percentage point increase out of all ethnic groups – this group includes people born in Poland, the second largest group of residents born outside the UK (743,100) behind people born in India (920,400)
- the number of people who identified as ‘any other ethnic background’ went up from 219,800 to 923,800
5. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Office for National Statistics
Purpose of data source
The Census takes place every 10 years. 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 can help illustrate differences between various groups in the population.
6. Download the data
This file contains the following variables: Measure, Source, Time, Geography, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Value, Value_type, Numerator, Denominator