Irish-born population in England and Wales falls sharply in last decade
The number of Irish-born people living in England and Wales fell by almost 125,000 in the last decade, according to the first detailed figures to emerge from last year’s census in Britain and Northern Ireland.
The numbers have fallen from 628,800 in 2001 to 504,900 last year or from 1.2 per cent to 0.9 per cent, while the number of other “white” populations – partly explained by EU enlargement in 2004, has risen by 2.6 points to 4.4 per cent.
However, the figures will, naturally, not account for the significant rise in emigration to Britain that has taken place in the last 18 months.
The Irish population has been dropping in Britain for decades. In the 1970s it fell by 5,000; in the early 1980s it dropped by over 100,000, but increased again by 80,000 following that decade’s wave of emigration. The figures could make it more difficult for Irish community groups to argue for council funding for services, particularly those delivered in a manner that encourages take-up in the Irish community.
The number of Irish passport-holders has fallen from 473,000 in the 2001 census – when Ireland had the largest single group declaring foreign citizenship, 20,000 ahead of India. Last year, however, the Indians came first with 694,000, or 9 per cent of the total foreign-born; the Poles came next with 579,000, then Pakistan with 482,000 – up by nearly half on the decade, while Ireland recorded 407,000.
The number of residents who held a passport that was not a UK passport was nearly 4.8 million. Of these 2.3 million were EU passports (other than UK) and 2.4 million were other foreign passports, according to the Office of National Statistics.
The number of people from the Republic of Ireland working in London is put at 36,000. Scotland, the southwest and southeast of England, Yorkshire and Humberside and Merseyside each have fewer than 10,000 Irish workers. The East Midlands has 36,000 .
Immigration is responsible for more than half of the population increase in England and Wales in the last decade, while less than half of all Londoners are now white British.
The population now stands at 56.1 million, up 3.7 million people on a decade ago, a seven-point rise. Fifty-five per cent of the increase is explained by immigration. Despite the overall rise in population, the number of white British living in England and Wales has fallen by 400,000 in a decade – explained by lower birth numbers and emigration.
Last year, just over in eight residents – 7.5 million people – were born outside the UK, compared with 9 per cent in the 2001 Census. The most common non-UK countries of birth are India, Poland and Pakistan.
If London is the most ethnically diverse area, Wales is the least. However, just over nine-in-ten people described themselves as English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British.
Meanwhile, the number of self-declared Christians has fallen sharply in a decade: down by 13 percentage points to 59 per cent, or 33.2 million people.