Population of England and Wales
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.
Read the detailed methodology document for this data.
You can find confidence intervals for the data in the ONS archive.
3. By ethnicity
|Mixed White/Black African||165,974||0.3|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||426,715||0.8|
Summary of Population of England and Wales By ethnicity Summary
4. By ethnicity over time
|Mixed White/Black African||0.2||0.3|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||0.5||0.8|
Summary of Population of England and Wales By ethnicity over time Summary
5. 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.
6. Download the data
This file contains: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Value, Value note, Source, Geography