Born abroad: A look at the Population of the UK

According to a BBC News feature, “trends in migration are changing. Once, migrants from the same country tended to cluster in areas where they had relatives or friends. But new maps of England and Wales, reveal that for more recent migrants this is no longer the case” The maps of which this quote speak are a short series of cartograms created in collaboration of the BBC with the University of Sheffield in which we took a look at the first set of data from the 2011 Census in the United Kingdom (with much more detailed statistics due early next year). This is how some of the trends analysed by the BBC look like, using a gridded population cartogram of the country as a basemap for the lower maps shown here:

Cartogram / Map series of people born abroad according to the 2011 UK Census


As described by the BBC, “the maps show a large concentration of people from India in Leicester, Pakistan-born residents congregate around Slough and old northern mill towns such as Bradford and the Irish communities tend to be in the London area [while] more recent immigrants, such as those from Poland, tend to be more widespread – following the work rather than the community.
It should be kept in mind that the data shown in this small map series covers just one aspect of the recently released key statistics. Related to migration, the indicator ‘born abroad’ does not necessarily relate to a foreign background as widely (and often quite emotionally) discussed in the days following the release of the data last week. The data can also relate to people whose ‘British’ parents lived abroad while they were born (such as members of the army who returned from abroad before the 2011 Census). Nevertheless, as the maps indicate there are some distinct patterns to the distribution of foreign-born population.

The Population of the UKHowever, some of these patterns come less as a surprise and follow trends that have started much earlier than over the last 10 years. A more detailed analysis of the previous Census together with a large number of similar maps can be found in Danny Dorling’s second edition of The Population of the UK which has just been released as a fully revised and updated edition and where I have fully redrawn the cartography of the first edition. The following map shows a map from the chapter on Identity and highlights the question of ethnicity as it looked in the previous Census – showing the diversity that existed then already in most of the largest urban areas across England (sic!):

Cartogram / Map of ethnic diversity according to the 2001 UK Census
(click for larger version)

Beyond identity, migration and ethnicity, the ONS draws a few conclusions from the release of these first key statistics (quoted from the ONS website):

- The resident population of England and Wales on the 27 March 2011 was 56.1 million, a seven per cent (3.7 million) increase since 2001 with 55 per cent (2.1 million) of this increase being due to migration. One in six people were aged 65 or over (16 per cent, 9.2 million).
- In 2011, four out of every five (81 per cent, 45.5 million) residents of England and Wales described themselves as being in good or very good health.
- The number of residents who stated that their religion was Christian in 2011 was fewer than in 2001. The size of this group decreased 13 percentage points to 59 per cent (33.2 million) in 2011 from 72 per cent (37.3 million) in 2001. The size of the group who stated that they had no religious affiliation increased by 10 percentage points from 15 per cent (7.7 million) in 2001 to 25 per cent (14.1 million) in 2011.
- Of the 13 per cent (7.5 million) of residents of England and Wales on 27 March 2011 who were born outside of the UK, just over half (3.8 million) arrived in the last 10 years.
- The number of cars and vans available for use by households in England and Wales increased from 23.9 million to 27.3 million between 2001 and 2011. In 2001 there were on average 11 cars per 10 households whereas in 2011 there were 12 cars per 10 households. The proportion of households with access to no cars or one car declined over the decade whereas the proportion with two or more cars rose. London was the only region where the number of cars and vans was lower than the number of households.
- In 2011 there were more people with Level 4 or above qualifications, eg Bachelor’s degree (27 per cent, 12.4 million), than people with no qualifications (23 per cent, 10.3 million).

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin D. Hennig. You are free use the material under Creative Commons conditions (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0); please contact me for further details. I also appreciate a message if you used my maps somewhere else. High resolution and customized maps are available on request.