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

09 Oct 2013

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

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

It showed that the area’s migrant population has increased by 60% since 2001, and that the South East has the largest proportion of foreign-born residents (12.1%) of any of England and Wales’ ten regions after London.

Since 2001 the South East’s foreign-born population has increased from just over 650,000 to more than 1 million.

Numbers and shares:

  • In 2011, the total usual resident population of the South East stood at 8,634,750. About 12% of those residents (1,043,320) were born outside of the UK. This represents an increase of 60% in the foreign-born population of the region since 2001.
  • In 2011, 45% of the non-UK born population held a UK passport, and 52% held only a non-UK passport.
  • In both 2001 and 2011, the South East occupied the 2nd position in terms of both the population numbers and the population share of non-UK born residents out of England and Wales’ ten regions.
  • The South East’s share of the overall migrant population of England and Wales declined slightly between 2001 and 2011 from 14.1% to 13.9%.

Regional distribution:

  • In 2011 Slough had the highest number (54,652) as well as the highest population share (39%) of non-UK born residents in the region. It was followed by Oxford – which had the second highest populationshare of foreign-born people – 28.5% of the local population (43,239 people) – and Milton Keynes, which had the second largest foreign-born population numerically 46,136 (19% of the local population).
  • Milton Keynes saw the largest percentage increase in its foreign-born population of any district or unitary authority in the region, with an increase of 125%: up 25,612 – from 20,524 in 2001 to 46,136 in 2011.
  • Slough saw the largest numerical increase in its foreign-born population between 2001-2011 rising from 28,557 to 54,652 – an increase of 26,075.
  • Adur had the smallest numerical foreign-born population in the South East (3,792) while Havant had the smallest share of foreign-born people in the population (5.14%). Rother saw the smallest proportional growth in its migrant population between 2001 and 2011, with the share of foreign-born people in the population increasing by 10% from 5.8% of the population to 6.4% during that period.

Migrant profiles:

  • Residents born in India represented the most numerous non-UK born group in the South East in 2011 (87,392 residents) followed by residents born in Poland (81,022), Ireland (59,125), Germany (53,202) and South Africa (50,075). However, these five groups combined comprised less than a third of the overall migrant population of the South East.
  • Polish nationals were the most common foreign-passport holders resident in the South East (78,579).
  • 94.4% of the population of the South East spoke English as their main language. Of the 5.6% (481,423) that did not, 84% could speak English well or very well, and only 2% (11,600) did not speak any English at all. This is a higher than average level of English proficiency.
  • Among those for whom English was not the main language, the most commonly spoken main language was Polish (16%), followed by Chinese languages (6%) (Mandarin, Cantonese and all other Chinese languages) and Panjabi (6%).

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, the Senior Researcher leading the census project at the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, said: “After London, the South East has the largest migrant population in England and Wales, and this population rose by 60 per cent tomore than 1 million between 2001 and 2011.

“While Slough has the largest proportion of foreign-born people in the population and the largest number of migrants in the area as a whole it is also interesting to note that Oxford has the second largest proportion of foreign-born people in the population. This highlights the range of factors that attract migrants to the area – labour-market opportunities and the proximity to London, study and established family connections all play an important role.”

Ends

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