May 18, 2011
The non-white British population of England and Wales has grown from 6.6 million in 2001 to 9.1 million in 2009 – nearly one in six of the population.
The figures, which give a detailed ethnic breakdown for every one of the 423 local authorities, were published on Wednesday in an "experimental" data release from the Office for National Statistics . They also show there are now almost a million mixed-race people in the two countries.
The white British population has stayed the same since 2001; there has been an increase in births, but there has also been a similar number of people migrating.
The non-white British population has grown by 4.1% a year, adding up to 37.4% growth – 2.5 million – over the whole period. The only group to 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 1.4 million to 1.9 million is not simply due to eastern Europeans arriving, said the ONS statistician responsible for the report, but also because of the arrival of people from Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
The mixed-race population has neared a million for the first time – up from 672,000 in 2001 to 986,600 in 2009, an increase of nearly 50%. A third are mixed African-Caribbean and white, followed by Asian/white. The ONS statistician said this was not a result of increasing birthrates but because "the population is mixing up more". Haringey, north London, has the highest proportion, at 4.4%.
In 225 local authority areas, the white population comprises more than 90% of local people. That figure is highest in Wales and north-east England. The whitest borough is Blanaeu Gwent in Wales, where 96.5% of the population is white British, followed by Copeland in Cumbria, where 96.3% of the population is white.
In contrast, Brent, in north London, is the most ethnically diverse borough. Just over a third of its population counts as white British, with large mixed-race, Asian, black and Irish communities making up the rest.
"Community cohesion is a priority," said Brent council leader Ann John, "and, as a result, Brent is a bright vibrant place to live and work, and a beacon to the rest of the world."
These figures, published for the third year running, are based by the ONS on fertility rates and death rates, as well as migration around the country and abroad.
They provide the most detailed ethnic breakdown of the country before the results of the 2011 census are published in a year's time.
The ONS does not compile figures for Scotland or Northern Ireland, which have their own statistics bodies.