Indians are largest group of foreign-born residents in the UK

Archana Venkatraman

Indians in the UK have pipped Irish-born residents to become the largest group of non-UK born population in England and Wales. Indians, at 694,000, became the largest expat group, according to the 2011 Census report from the Office of National Statistics.

Indians biggest expat group in the UK
Image: Wikimedia Commons (mattbuck)

In 1971, those born in India accounted for 10% of the whole non-UK born population. “This group [Indians] has consistently accounted for a large proportion of the non-UK born population of England and Wales. The largest inter-censal percentage increase for this group was between 1961 and 1971, where this population almost doubled from 157,000 to 313,000," according to ONS.

Until 2011, the Republic of Ireland was the largest non-UK born group in each census but currently, it is the fourth largest non-UK born group. 

There has also been a ten-fold increase in Polish migrants over ten years from 2001 and 2011. The Census revealed there are 579,000 Polish residents in the UK as against just 58,000 in 2001. This is a result of Poland being admitted to the European Union in May 2004, the ONS said.

India, Ireland and Poland dominate the top ten non-UK countries of birth. But the non-UK born population has become more diverse in the last fifty years. In 1951, the top ten non-UK countries of birth represented 60% (1.1 million) of the total foreign born population, compared to 45% (3.4 million) in 2011.

In 1951, there were 1.9 million non-UK born residents in England and Wales representing 4.5% of population and by 2011 this had increased to 7.5 million – representing 13% of the resident population. In comparison, the total population of England and Wales increased by 28%, from 43.7 million to 56.1 million.

Migration is an important driver of population change, currently accounting for around half of the population growth in England and Wales, the ONS added.

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