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Census 2011 – First Release of Data
Monday, 16 July 2012 17:34

Background

The first results of the 2011 Census have been released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shortly after being read to Parliament. The release of all census data will be staggered and this first release, covering England and Wales, looks at overall population and household counts by region, age and gender. The ONS reports to Parliament (not the Government) - personal census information is not shared with any other government department or body nationally or locally.

Census statistics take a ‘snapshot’ of the national picture, area by area, and subject by subject, to ensure civic planning and services can be better planned and delivered. Comparisons with previous censuses to assess social growth patterns and trends, especially with the census of 2001, are key. Given that the religion question was first asked in 2001, the 2011 Census also presents the first comprehensive analysis of patterns by religion that can be verified by the census. This first release does not, however, provide data by religion.

Person counts are sometimes divided into a ‘usual resident’ and a ‘short term resident’ - the main population base that is used for planning is the count of usual residents. A usual resident lives here permanently, or intends to stay for 12 months or more, or, has a permanent address here and intended to stay abroad for less than 12 months. A short term resident (sometimes also called ‘short term migrants’ though there are some definitional differences between the two terms) intends to stay from 3 to 11 months.

The 2011 Census provides a very reliable basis for planning and for statistical analysis, but public confidence in its reliability is important. In statistical terms, the population count is estimated with ‘95% confidence’ by the ONS, and the national population count to be accurate within +/- 85,000 persons, or 0.15%.

What does the data show?

According to the 2011 Census:

  • England & Wales has a population of 56,075,900 (56.1 million), with 53.0 million in England and 3.1 million in Wales.
  • This is the highest population count in recorded history. The population of England & Wales has grown by 3.7 million since the 2001 census - this is more than double the rise of 1.6 million between 1991 and 2001.
  • We are getting older as a nation. 1 in 6 persons is aged 65 and over, a record high, and 430,000 are aged 90 and over, an increase of 26.5% from 2001.
  • There are 3.5 million children under 5 in England & Wales, 406,000 up from 2001; there are 23.4 million households with an average of 2.4 per household.

These represent high level findings and further data can be explored here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/index.html

Muslim Population Growth?

The 2001 census showed Britain’s Muslims to have the youngest age demographic, with one third under 16 years and 50% under 25 years. Sikhs had the second youngest age demographic and Jews had the oldest. It also showed Muslims living across all electoral constituents, with proportional counts varying greatly. In some areas of higher concentrations, high levels of unemployment and overcrowding could also be seen. Given the young age demographic and the uneven proportional counts, we expected Muslim households to show a significantly greater rate of population increase due to young adults having growing families, especially within a local authority assessment.

The first data release for the 2011 Census does not provide a population count by religion, but the data on local authorities recording the highest population growth suggests such a social trend. The 20 local (or unitary) authorities shown to have the highest population growth are set out below (authorities with a significant Muslim population have been italicised).

2011 CENSUS: TOP 20 POPULATION GROWTH BY LOCAL OR UNITARY AUTHORITY

Authority 2011 Census 2001 Census Growth
Tower Hamlets 254,100 201,100 26.40%
Newham 308,000 249,400 23.50%
Manchester 503,100 422,900 19.00%
Hackney 246,300 207,200 18.90%
Hounslow 254,000 216,000 17.60%
Greenwich 254,600 217,500 17.10%
Milton Keynes 248,800 212,700 17.00%
Leicester 329,900 282,800 16.70%
Peterborough 183,600 157,400 16.60%
Waltham Forest 258,200 222,000 16.30%
Slough 140,200 120,600 16.30%
Swindon 209,200 180,100 16.20%
South Derbyshire 94,600 81,700 15.80%
Boston 64,600 55,800 15.80%
Brent 311,200 269,600 15.40%
Redbridge 279,000 241,900 15.30%
Haringey 254,900 221,300 15.20%
South Holland 88,300 76,700 15.10%
Uttlesford 79,400 69,000 15.10%
Islington 206,100 179,400 14.90%

13 authorities out of the top 20, including the 5 highest counts, of local population growth have taken place in areas where there are significant, and often high concentrations, of Muslim residents. This impacts not only the planning of services and allocation of civic funds, but upon a range of related socio-economic and, where relevant, socio-religious factors. Factors that will continue to shape issues of topical, educational and social importance, in the economically challenged times that lie ahead.

If you wish, you may download this briefing paper in .pdf format by clicking here.