Population of England and Wales

Published

Last updated 7 August 2020 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • according to the 2011 Census, the total population of England and Wales was 56.1 million, and 86.0% of the population was White
  • people from Asian ethnic groups made up the second largest percentage of the population (at 7.5%), followed by Black ethnic groups (at 3.3%), Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups (at 2.2%) and Other ethnic groups (at 1.0%)
  • among the specific ethnic groups, people from the White British ethnic group made up the largest percentage of the population (at 80.5%), followed by Other White (4.4%) and Indian (2.5%)
  • from 2001 to 2011, the percentage of the population of England and Wales that was White British decreased from 87.4% to 80.5%, while the Other White group saw the largest increase in their share of the population, from 2.6% to 4.4%
  • the percentage of the population from a Black African background doubled from 0.9% in 2001 to 1.8% in 2011

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 covers 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 2011 Census.

Not included in the data

The data does not include households that did not answer the question about ethnicity.

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

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 18 ethnic groups that were developed for the 2011 Census.

The ethnic groups used in the 2011 Census were slightly different from the 2001 Census ethnic groups.

There were 2 ethnic groups added in 2011 – Gypsy and Roma in the White category, and Arab in the Other category. The Chinese ethnic group was moved from the Other category to the Asian category.

As a result, figures for the White, Other and Asian ethnic groups are not directly comparable for 2001 and 2011, although the groups concerned account for very low percentages of the overall population.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for this data.

You can find confidence intervals for the data in the ONS archive.

3. By ethnicity

Population of England and Wales by ethnicity
Ethnicity Number %
All 56,075,912 100.0
Asian 4,213,531 7.5
Bangladeshi 447,201 0.8
Chinese 393,141 0.7
Indian 1,412,958 2.5
Pakistani 1,124,511 2.0
Asian other 835,720 1.5
Black 1,864,890 3.3
Black African 989,628 1.8
Black Caribbean 594,825 1.1
Black other 280,437 0.5
Mixed 1,224,400 2.2
Mixed White/Asian 341,727 0.6
Mixed White/Black African 165,974 0.3
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 426,715 0.8
Mixed other 289,984 0.5
White 48,209,395 86.0
White British 45,134,686 80.5
White Irish 531,087 0.9
White Gypsy/Traveller 57,680 0.1
White other 2,485,942 4.4
Other 563,696 1.0
Arab 230,600 0.4
Any other 333,096 0.6

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Population of England and Wales By ethnicity Summary

The 2011 Census data shows that:

  • the total population of England and Wales was 56.1 million
  • 48.2 million people (86.0%) were from White ethnic groups, with 45.1 million of those identifying with the White British group (80.5% of the population) and 2.5 million with the Other White ethnic group (4.4%)
  • 4.2 million people (7.5%) were from Asian ethnic groups, with 1.4 million of those identifying with the Indian ethnic group (2.5%), and 1.1 million with the Pakistani ethnic group (2.0%)
  • 1.9 million people (3.3%) were from Black ethnic groups, with just under 1 million of those identifying with the Black African ethnic group (1.8%), and 0.6 million with the Black Caribbean ethnic group (1.1%)
  • 1.2 million people (2.2%) had Mixed ethnicity, with 0.4 million of those identifying with the Mixed White/Black Caribbean group (0.8%), and 0.3 million with the Mixed White and Asian group (0.6%)
  • 0.6 million people (1.0%) belonged to other ethnic groups

4. By ethnicity over time

Population of England and Wales by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2001 2011
Asian
Bangladeshi 0.5 0.8
Chinese 0.4 0.7
Indian 2.0 2.5
Pakistani 1.4 2.0
Asian other 0.5 1.5
Black
Black African 0.9 1.8
Black Caribbean 1.1 1.1
Black other 0.2 0.5
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 0.4 0.6
Mixed White/Black African 0.2 0.3
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 0.5 0.8
Mixed other 0.3 0.5
White
White British 87.4 80.5
White Irish 1.2 0.9
White Gypsy/Traveller N/A* 0.1
White other 2.6 4.4
Other
Arab N/A* 0.4
Any other 0.4 0.6

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 shows that:

  • from 2001 to 2011, the percentage of the population of England and Wales that identified as White British decreased from 87.4% to 80.5%
  • other ethnic groups whose percentage of the population decreased were White Irish (from 1.2% to 0.9%), and Mixed White and Black African (from 0.4% to 0.3%)
  • the Other White group saw the largest increase in their share of the population, from 2.6% to 4.4% – this group includes people born in Poland, who became the second largest group of residents born outside the UK (579,000) behind people born in India (694,000)
  • the percentage of the population from a Black African background doubled from 0.9% in 2001 to 1.8% in 2011

5. 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 Census is carried out every 10 years. The last one took place in March 2011.

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.

6. Download the data

Population of England and Wales - Spreadsheet (csv) 4 KB

This file contains: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Value, Value note, Source, Geography