Data shows how popular the UK has become for Polish expats

by Ray Clancy on August 4, 2015

The popularity of the UK as a country for people from around the world is shown in new figures released by the government from the most up to date census data.

One in seven people in England and Wales was born outside of the UK and in the past decade there has been a 60% increase in the non UK born population.

Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom_and_IrelandMigration is an important, though often controversial, driver of population change. The potential cost and benefit of immigration is hard to assess because its impact is often not fully realised for many years.

The Census figures from 2011 reveal that 7.5 million or 13% of the people residing in England and Wales were born abroad, an increase of 2.9 million people since 2001 when 4.6 million or 9% were born abroad. Some of these will be UK citizens because their parents were UK citizens overseas at the time of their birth or because they have been granted UK citizenship since arriving.

Overall immigration has contributed to just under half of the total population change in England and Wales between 1951 and 2011. Around half of all non-UK born living in England and Wales, some 3.8 million, arrived during the decade 2001 to 2011, mostly since 2004 when Poland and a number of other Central and Eastern European countries entered the European Union (EU).

The data also shows that non-UK countries of birth accounted for 45% of the foreign born population of England and Wales. The three largest groups of non UK-born residents were from India at 694,000, or 1.2% of the population, followed by Poland with 579,000 or 1% and then Pakistan with 482,000 or 0.9%.

Those born in Poland showed a near tenfold increase between 2001 and 2011, from 58,000 or 0.1% of the resident population to 579,000 or 1% and this was due to Poland and other central-Eastern European countries joining the EU in May 2004.

From 1961 until 2001 Indian-born was the second highest ranking non-UK country of birth and became the largest in 2011.

The census also provides and analysis of population movements within England and Wales, in particular those that took place in the year prior to the census. Some four million people moved within the same local authority in the year preceding the 2011 Census.

The greatest number of moves was seen in university towns and large cities reflecting changes in term-time address for students, and also relocation for family and employment reasons.

A further 2.8 million people moved to different local authorities within the UK. The highest numbers of moves were made into London local authorities, and the greatest proportions were seen in Islington and Hammersmith and Fulham, both over 11%.

In contrast to the younger population, people aged 65 and over were more likely to move for reasons such as retirement, downsizing, or care requirements. The most popular destinations for older people were rural and coastal areas, especially in the South East and South West.

However, they were also less likely overall to move; 3.6% of the population aged 65 and over moved in 2011, compared with 14% of those aged under 65.

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