Expat population

Expats set to continue to be drawn to UK despite Brexit, official estimates suggest

by Ray Clancy on May 28, 2018

London is a huge draw for expats from all over the world and this is expected to continue after Brexit with official estimates suggesting immigration will play a huge role in the city’s future growth.

Indeed, parts of London will see the population increase by a fifth over a decade as immigration helps push England’s population to 58.5 million, according to a new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

London Population

(By Tupungato/Shutterstock.com)

Its latest official estimates suggest that the population of London will grow overall by 8.8% in the 10 years to 2026 and every region in England will see population growth.

Separate figures from the ONS show that while the Irish were once the biggest group of expats in the UK, the largest nationality is now Polish, followed by Romanian.

London is set to have 9.54 million residents by 2026, a rise of 774,000 from the middle of 2016 and migration from abroad will add 754,000 to the total, the ONS says. But a large number are also set to move out of London, with around 757,000 moving to other parts of the UK.

While there has been a lot of speculation that the number of EU citizens living in the UK will fall due to Brexit, the ONS data shows that the rise in EU nationals continued in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum.

Indeed, Romanian became the second most common non-British nationality last year, overtaking the Irish and Indian citizens, with the number coming from Romania up by 411,000 or 25%.

Polish remains the most common non-British nationality, with an estimated one million in the UK. Some 350,000 Irish nationals lived in the UK in 2017, while there were 346,000 Indians.

The next biggest group of foreign nationals in the UK are from Italy at 297,000, followed by 235,000 from Portugal, 199,000 from Lithuania, 188,000 from Pakistan, 182,000 from Spain and 181,000 from France.

The data also shows that there are 154,000 Germans, 147,000 Chinese, 133,000 Americans, 117,000 Latvians, 102,000 Nigerians, 98,000 Hungarian, 97,000 Dutch, 87,000 Australians, 86,000 Bulgarians and 84,000 nationals from Bangladesh living in the UK.

‘Non-UK born and non-British populations continued to increase in 2017, as more people continued to come to the UK to live than move to live abroad for a year or more,’ said Nicola White of the ONS migration statistics division.

‘Poland born residents and Polish nationals were the most common populations from outside the UK. However, the largest increases in population were seen from those born in Romania and those with Romanian nationality,’ she added.

In London the borough of Tower Hamlets is on track to see the biggest population growth at 17.8% to 354,000, followed by a rise of 15.4% in Barking and Dagenham to 240,000 and a rise of 13.3% in Hackney to 309,000.

All the regions in England are expected to get bigger. The East of the country is due to rise 7.3% to 6.57million over the decade, and the South West will see a 6.6% increase to 5.88million. In the South East numbers will top 9.54million by the middle of 2026, a rise of 6.4% while the North East is set to have the lowest growth at 1.9%.

Only 15 local authorities in England are expected to see numbers fall. Barrow in Furness is predicted to see its population decline by 4.6% to 64,400, and Copeland by 4.2% to 66,400.


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