Census 2011: rapid migration



The 2011 Census was released today, 11 December, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It has revealed a rapid growth in the UK’s foreign-born population over the last decade, concentrated on in the capital.


London migrant population

The 2011 census is the first to include information collected on the characteristics England and Wales’ migrant population. It used three measures to understand migration: where were you born, when did you come to the UK, what passport do you hold?

Here we’ve charted how London’s migrant population has grown from 1,943,000 in 2001 to 2,998,000 in 2011 – the biggest regional growth and the greatest concentration of the migrant population. The capital is now home to 40 per cent – 2 in 5 – of the foreign-born people in England and Wales.

North East England, was the region with the smallest number of foreign-born residents, 129,000.  

Here are some more trends the data reveals:

  • The total foreign-born population of England and Wales has increased by more than 2.9million, from 4.6million in 2001 to 7.5million in 2011. That’s an increase from 9 per cent of the population in 2001 to 13 per cent in 2011.
  • The top ten boroughs home to the highest proportion of migrants to UK residents were all in London. The top three were Brent (171,400 non-UK born, 55.1per cent of its total population) followed by Newham (165,400, 53.7 per cent) and Westminster (117,000, 53.3 per cent). Others include Kensington and Chelsea, Ealing, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Tower Hamlets and Hammersmith and Fulham.
  • Over half of all foreign-born people in England and Wales have lived in the UK for over 10 years. One in 8 arrived within two years of the 2011 census.

year of arrival

  • The Polish-born population has increased tenfold – the single biggest change in migrant population figures. From 58,000 in 2001 it has increased to 579,000 in 2011.
  • The data shows a rise in Indian-born population too. They are now the UK’s largest foreign-born group, taking over from those born in Ireland, who held the position in 2001.

The raw data about the UK’s largest migrant communities can be found under “2011 Census: QS203EW Country of birth (detailed), local authorities in England and Wales”.



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