Posted on July 29, 2011

The Ethnic Population of England and Wales Broken Down by Local Authority

Guardian (London), May 18, 2011

What is the ethnic population breakdown of the 54m people in England and Wales? Now we have an answer, right down to local authority level.

The non-white British population has grown from 6.6m in 2001 to 9.1m in 2009 — or nearly one in six. The figures were published this week in an “experimental” data release from the Office for National Statistics, which also show that there are now a million mixed-race people in the two countries.

The white British population has stayed the same since 2001 — because even though there has been an increase in births, there has also been a similar number of people migrating. The non-white British population has grown by 4.1% a year, or a total of 2.5m over the whole period, or 37.4%.

In fact, the only group to actually shrink is the white Irish population, down from 646,600 in 2001 to 574,200 now due to falling birthrates and migration. A rise in the “other white” population from 1.4m to 1.9m is not simply due to Eastern Europeans moving to the UK, said the ONS statistician responsible for the report, but also people from the old Commonwealth — countries like Australia and New Zealand.

The mixed-race population has neared a million for the first time — from 672,000 in 2001 to 986,600 in 2009, an increase of nearly 50%. A third are mixed Afro-Caribbean and white, followed by Asian/white. The ONS statistician said this is not a result of increasing birth rates but more that we are becoming less divided: “the population is mixing up more”. The highest proportion are in Haringey, London, where 4.4% are mixed.

The numbers report the ethnic breakdown of every local authority area (which we’ve mapped using Google Fusion Tables above), which show that in 225 of them, the white population comprises over 90% of local people. That figure is highest in Wales and the North east of England–the whitest borough is Blanaeu Gwent in Wales, where 96.5% of the population is white British, followed by Copeland in Cumbria, where only 2% of the population are not white.

In contrast, Brent, in London, is the most ethnically diverse borough in the country — just over a third of its population counts as white British, with large mixed race, Asian, Black and Irish communities making up the rest.

These figures, published for the third year running, are the most detailed available on the ethnic breakdown of the country before the results of the 2011 census in a year’s time — the ONS estimates them by combining data from the 2001 census, the Labour Force Survey and the Annual Population Survey. The figures are not compiled for Scotland.

[Editor’s Note: Detailed data available at original article.]