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

09 Feb 2014

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

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

It showed that the area’s migrant population has increased by almost two thirds (68.7%) since 2001, with the foreign-born populations of several major cities – Manchester, Liverpool, Salford and Carlisle – more than doubling.

The North West has the fifth largest foreign-born population (577,232) of England and Wales’ ten regions, but the region as a whole has a smaller than average proportion of foreign-born residents (8%, while the national level is 13%).

Manchester (city) which has a foreign-born population share of 25%, also had the largest migrant population in the area – accounting for about 22% of all foreign-born people in the North West. The metropolitan county of Greater Manchester is home to 56% of the foreign-born residents of the North West.

Numbers and shares:

  • In 2011, the total usual resident population of the North West stood at 7,052,177 residents. About 8% of those residents (577,232) were born outside of the UK. This represents an increase of 69% in the non-UK born population of the region since 2001.
  • In 2011, 47% of the non-UK born population held a UK passport, and 47% held only a non-UK passport.
  • In both 2001 and 2011, the North West occupied the 5th position in terms of foreign-born population numbers, out of the ten regions of England and Wales.
  • In terms of the foreign-born population share, it occupied the 7th position in 2011, rising one place from 8th in 2001.

Regional distribution:

  • Manchester had the highest number (127,061) as well as the highest population share (25%) of non-UK born residents in the region. The metropolitan county of Greater Manchester is home to 56% of the foreign-born residents of the North West.
  • The foreign-born populations of several major cities in the North West more then doubled between 2001 and 2011 – Manchester (+119%), Liverpool (+121%), Salford (+138%) and Carlisle (+106%)
  • Between 2001 and 2011, the total non-UK born population grew numerically the most in Manchester (69,013 additional residents), but the biggest percentage increase (+138%) took place in Salford.
  • Knowlesley had the smallest proportion of foreign-born people in its population in 2011 (2.33%)

Migrant profiles:

  • Residents born in Pakistan represent the most numerous non-UK born group in the North West (79,289 residents), followed by residents born in Poland (51,999), then India (48,676), Ireland (48,456) and Germany (22,094).
  • Among those residents of the North West who did not select English as their main spoken language in 2011, 76% spoke English very well or well. 20% reported not being able to speak English well and 4% reported they couldn’t speak English at all (1% and 0.2% of all residents above the age of 3 respectively).
  • 93.9% of Polish-born residents living in the North West in 2011 arrived in the UK since 2001 (91.7% since 2004).

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, the Senior Researcher leading the census project at the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, said: “The North West has seen a lot of change over the last decade, with its migrant population increasing by more than two thirds, and more than doubling in several major cities.

“The North West has a smaller share of migrants in its population than the UK average, but its foreign-born population is unevenly distributed, with more than half of the region’s foreign-born people living in Greater Manchester. A quarter of people living in the city of Manchester were born abroad, while in areas such as Knowlesley that number falls to less than three people in every hundred.”

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