Census: Rise In Immigrants Boosts Population

There has been a large rise in the number of migrants living in England and Wales, according to the results of the 2011 census.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the population of England and Wales now stands at 56.1 million people - a rise of 3.7 million since 2001.

Some 55% of the growth - around 2.1 million people - was due to migration from outside the country.

The number of foreign-born residents has increased to 13%, from 4.6 million to 7.5 million.

In London one person in three was born abroad, compared to the North East where the figure is one in 20.

The majority of those from abroad come from India, Poland and Pakistan. Poland is a new addition to the top ten of where people came from and did not feature at all in the last census in 2001.

Dr Scott Blinder, deputy director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said there had been "a very noticeable change in the population of England and Wales" over the last decade.

It is the second major tranche of information to be revealed from the 2011 census, covering topics including ethnicity, country of birth, religion, health and housing.

The data also shows there has been a big fall in the number of people who consider themselves to be Christian.

Numbers dropped by four million over the past decade - from 37.3 million in 2001 to 33.2 million last year.

There was a 10% increase in those stating "no religion".

The British Humanist Association (BHA) described the increase in the number of non-religious people - from 15% in 2001 to 25% last year - as an "astounding" 67% relative rise.

But it said the figures did not offer a complete picture when it came to the number of practising Christians living in England and Wales.

The census also shows 86% of people recorded their ethnicity as white, a fall on 2001. It remains the majority ethnic group in all areas apart from London.

All other ethnic groups grew over the 10 years since 2001.

Two million respondents listed their partners or fellow household members as being of different ethnic groups - 47% more than in 2001.

The number of people claiming to have mixed ethnicity almost doubled, up by 563,000.

Some 91% of respondents to the 2011 census claimed to speak English. Just 4% of households had no English speaking residents.

The statistics also offer a snapshot of how people live.

Since 2001, the proportion of people owning properties through a mortgage or loan has decreased from 39% to 33% but the number of people who own homes outright increased from 29% to 31%.

Ownership of cars and vans has also gone up - increasing by 3.4 million to 27.3 million, a rise of 14%.

Last year there was an average of 12 cars for every 10 households - up on 11 cars per 10 households in 2001.

London was the only region where the number of vehicles was lower than the number of households.

Four out of five people claimed to be in good health.

The questionnaire was sent to around 26 million households in England and Wales on March 27 last year.