One in 10 households contains people of two or more ethnicities

One in 10 households in England and Wales contains people of two or more ethnicities, according to census data which reveals an “increasingly multicultural society”.

About 2.5 million households (10.1%) contained members of at least two different ethnic groups in 2021, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This is an increase from 8.7% in 2011, the ONS said.

It comes as 81.7% of residents in England and Wales described themselves as white on 2021 census day, down from 86.0% a decade earlier.

Within this group, 74.4% (44.4 million) identified their ethnic group as “English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British”, down from 80.5% (45.1 million) in 2011 and 87.5% (45.5 million) in 2001.

(PA graphics)

The second most common ethnic group was “Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh” at 9.3% – up from 7.5% in 2011.

Among the three biggest changes was the increase in the number of people who identify as “White: Other White,” which stood at 3.7 million (6.2%) in 2021, up from 2.5 million (4.4%) in 2011.

The largest groups in this category include “Whites: Poles”, with 614,000 (1.0%) of the overall population identifying in this way, and “Whites: Romanians”, with 343,000 people (0.6%) identifying they identify in this way.

Other significant changes include numbers identifying their ethnic group as “Other Ethnic Group: Any Other Ethnic Group”, which rose to 924,000 (1.6%), up from 333,000 (0.6%) in 2011.

And people ticking the “Black, Black British, Black Welsh, Caribbean, or African: African” category rose to 1.5 million (2.5%), up from 990,000 (1.8%) in 2011.

The ONS said many factors may contribute to the changing picture, including different patterns of ageing, fertility, mortality and migration.

In London, which remains the most ethnically diverse region of England, 3.2 million people (36.8%) self-identified as ‘white: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British’ in 2021, down from 3.7 million (44.9%) in 2011.

Leicester, Luton and Birmingham are among the parts of the country where people who identify as white now make up a minority of the population, data show.

Around 14 local authorities recorded that more than half of their usual residents identified as non-white, with the highest proportion in the London Boroughs of Newham (69.2%), Brent (65.4%) and Redbridge (65.2%).

Outside of London the highest proportion of non-whites is in Slough in Berkshire (64.0%), followed by Leicester (59.1%), Luton (54.8%) and Birmingham (51.4%).

Separate census data found that 53.8 million (90.3%) of usual residents identified with at least one UK national identity: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, British and Cornish.

This is down slightly from 92.0% in 2011.

Almost one in 10 people (9.7% – 5.8 million people) only identify with a non-British identity.

Among this group, the most common response was one describing their national identity as Polish (593,000 – 1%), followed by Romanian (477,000 – 0.8%).

The latter represents an increase from 73,000 (0.1%) in 2011, the largest increase for any non-British national identity.

Deputy Census Director Jon Wroth-Smith said. “Today’s data highlights the increasingly multicultural society we live in.

“The proportion of people who identify their ethnic group as ‘white: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British’ continues to decline.

“While this remains the most common response to the ethnic group question, the number of people who identify with another ethnic group continues to increase.

“However, the picture varies depending on where you live. London remains the most ethnically diverse region of England, where just under two-thirds identify with an ethnic minority group, while less than 1 in 10 identify this way in the North East.

“But despite the ethnically diverse nature of society, 9 in 10 people in England and Wales still identify with a UK national identity, with nearly 8 in 10 doing so in London.”

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