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Changes to the migrant population of the North East of England 2001-2011

25 Nov 2013

Oxford University’s Migration Observatory releases comprehensive census analysis of the region.

The first comprehensive analysis of the migrant population of the North East of England has been released today by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory.

It showed that the area has the smallest foreign-born population of any of the census regions in Great Britain (10 regions of England and Wales plus Scotland) but that this population, nonetheless, increased by 54,840 (74.4%) between 2001 and 2011.

More than half of the migrant population in the North East is based in the Tyne and Wear Metropolitan County, with the largest foreign-born population based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Newcastle and neighbouring Gateshead saw the largest percentage increases, with their foreign-born populations more than doubling between 2001 and 2011. Hartlepool had the smallest migrant population in the region (2,559) while Redcar and Cleveland saw its migrant population increase by the smallest amount (3%) between 2001 and 2011.

Numbers and shares:

  • In 2011, the total usual resident population of the North East stood at 2,596,886. About 5% of those residents (128,573) were born outside of the UK. This represents an increase of 74% in the non-UK born population of the region since 2001.
  • In 2011, 44.5% of the non-UK born population of the North East held a UK passport, and 49.5% held only a non-UK passport. The rest (6%) held no passport.
  • In both 2001 and 2011, the North East had the lowest population of foreign-born people in Great Britain (the ten regions of England and Wales plus Scotland), though Northern Ireland had a smaller foreign-born population in both years.

Regional distribution:

  • Newcastle had the highest number (37,579) as well as the highest population share (13%) of non-UK born residents in the region in 2011. The second highest number of foreign-born people was in County Durham (16,663), followed by Middlesborough (11,370)
  • Between 2001 and 2011, the total non-UK born population grew the most in Newcastle, both in terms of a numerical (19,981 additional residents) and a percentage (113.5%) increase in the non-UK born population. The second biggest percentage increase was in Gateshead (106.7%) then Middlesborough (95.6%)
  • Hartlepool had the smallest migrant population in the region in 2011 (2,559)
  • Redcar and Cleveland saw its migrant population increase by the smallest amount (3%) between 2001-2011

Migrant profiles:

  • Residents born in India represent the most numerous non-UK born group in the North East in 2011 (10,375 residents), followed by residents born in Germany, Poland, Pakistan and China.
  • Polish nationals were the most common foreign-passport holders resident in the North East in 2011 (8,243).
  • 70,757 residents of the North East (3% of total population) spoke a language other than English as their main language in 2011
  • Of the 3% for whom English was not the main language 41% reported speaking English very well and 39% speaking English well. 17% reported not being able to speak English well, while 3% reported they couldn’t speak English at all (0.5% and 0.1% of all residents above the age of 3 respectively)
  • The most commonly spoken main languages after English were Chinese languages (Cantonese, Mandarin and all other Chinese languages), spoken by 13% of those who used a language other than English as their main language. This was followed by Polish (12%), Bengali (8%), Arabic (7%), Urdu (5%) and Panjabi (5%).

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, the Senior Researcher leading the census project at the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, said: “The North East has the smallest foreign-born population in Great Britain, but has also seen notable changes in the last decade. The foreign-born population of the region has increased by 74%, and in places like Newcastle and Gateshead it has more than doubled.

“The biggest foreign-born population in the region is those born in India, but this is followed by those born in Germany – many of whom will be children of British service personnel – then those born in Poland, Pakistan and China.”

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