Statistics on Current Populations and Social and Demographic features

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About 4% of the British population consists of first-generation immigrants, but it is important to note that only about 50% of these immigrants are from ethnic minorities. The rest are not visible minorities, and enter Britain from Europe and countries such as Canada and Australia. This would suggest that about 2% of the 7.1% ethnic minorities in Britain are first generation immigrants. The remaining 5.1% are British born.


Ethnic Composition

The majority of the UK population in 2001 were White (92 per cent) and the remaining 4.6 million (or 7.9 per cent) people belonged to other ethnic groups.

Indians were the largest of these groups, followed by Pakistanis, those of Mixed ethnic backgrounds, Black Caribbeans, Black Africans and Bangladeshis. The remaining minority ethnic groups each accounted for less than 0.5 per cent of the UK population and together accounted for a further 1.4 per cent.

The non-White population: by ethnic group, April 2001, UK

Around half of the non-White population were Asians of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or other Asian origin. A further quarter were Black, that is Black Caribbean, Black African or Other Black. Fifteen per cent of the non-White population were from the Mixed ethnic group. About a third of this group were from White and Black Caribbean backgrounds.

There were almost 691,000 White Irish people in Great Britain accounting for 1 per cent of the GB population.

In Great Britain the number of people who came from an ethnic group other than White grew by 53 per cent between 1991 and 2001, from 3.0 million in 1991 to 4.6 million in 2001. In 1991 ethnic group data were not collected on the Northern Ireland Census.

Official National Statistics

Geographical Location

Non-White ethnic groups are considerably more likely to live in England than in the other countries of the UK. In 2001 they made up 9 per cent of the total population in England compared with only 2 per cent in both Scotland and Wales, and less than 1 per cent in Northern Ireland.

The non-White population of the UK is concentrated in the large urban centres. Nearly half (45 per cent) lived in the London region in 2001, where they comprised 29 per cent of all residents.

After London, the second largest proportion was in the West Midlands (with 13 per cent of the non-White population), followed by the South East (8 per cent), the North West (8 per cent), and Yorkshire and the Humber (7 per cent).

In contrast less than 4 per cent of those from non-White groups lived in the North East and the South West. Minority ethnic groups made up only 2 per cent of each of these regions' populations.

Seventy eight per cent of Black Africans and 61 per cent of Black Caribbeans lived in London. More than half of the Bangladeshi group (54 per cent) also lived in London. Other ethnic minority groups were more dispersed. Only 19 per cent of Pakistanis resided in London, while 21 per cent lived in the West Midlands, 20 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber, and 16 per cent in the North West.

In Great Britain the highest concentration of White Irish people was in London. Almost a third (32 per cent) of the 691,000 White Irish people lived in London where they made up 3 per cent of the population. The English region with the lowest proportion of White Irish people was the North East, where they made up less than half a per cent of the population.

Official National Statistics

Employment and Workforces

Foreign labour inflows by route of entry; 2005

Worker Registration Schemes 194,953 (48.6%)

Work Permits 86,191 (21.5%)

EU and EFTA 35,200 (8.8%)

Working Holiday Makers 20,135 (5.0%)

Highly Skilled Migrant Programme 17,631 (4.4%)

Seasonal Agricultural Workers Schemes 15,455 (3.9%)

Domestic Servants 10,100 (2.5%)

UK Ancestry 8,260 (2.1%)

Sectors Based Schemes 7,401 (1.8%)

Au Pairs 2,360 (0.6%)

Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme 12,699 (0.7%)

Ministers of Religion 530 (0.1%)

Total 400,915 (100.0%)

[Labour Market Agenda Papers]

There were 1.505 million foreign migrants working in the UK in 2005, 5.4 per cent of the UK employed population. The foreign workforce generally is employed in more highly skilled occupations than the domestic. The regional distribution of foreign workers is very uneven. In 2005 Greater London had 45.3 per cent of the total. The annual number of work permits approved in 2005 was 129,660. The three main occupations were nurses and carers (19.9 per cent), software professionals (19.5 per cent) and managers and proprietors in other service sectors (12.8 per cent). 195,000 people from the new accession states (new EU states) were recorded in the Worker Registration Scheme in 2005. Around four fifths of them worked in relatively low-skilled occupations. When all the various schemes are considered, it is likely that 2005 saw the largest ever entry of foreign workers to the UK, totalling some 400,000.

Opening up the labour market to citizens of the new member states of the European Union (EU) from May 2004 initiated what is almost certainly the largest single wave of in-migration (with Poles the largest ever single national group of entrants) that the British Isles have ever experienced.

Professional and managerial (P&M) workers continue to account for the majority of employed immigrants and emigrants.

Overseas Nationals Requiring National Insurance Numbers in Thousands National Insurance Recording System Extract

Numbers of people from the countries of origin with the most migrants to the UK regarding National Insurance numbers.





See Also

Labour Market Trends

Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Groups

Information on the Indigenous people of the UK and the non-indigenous migrants who have come to the UK over the centuries. (click on the above title)

Diversity and different experiences in the UK

National Statistician’s Annual Article on Society
Author: Karen Dunnell

Illustrates clearly the increase in ethnic diversity in Britain. Many interesting findings, e.g. worrying rates of long‑term illness or disability (Fig. 2) and worse reported health (Fig. 5) in many ethnic groups. Table 20 shows 5 minority ethnic groups getting better school results than "White British" (in particular, Chinese and Indian).

Britain's Immigrants: An Economic Profile (ippr, 2007)

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