Romanians make up one in five new foreign-born citizens in England and Wales

Romanians make up one in five new foreign-born citizens in England and Wales – Satellite view of the University of Dundee / Great Britain

The census revealed that the British population of foreign-born citizens increased by 2.5 million in a decade, driven by an increase of half a million Romanians.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) today released the results of the 2021 census data on migration which revealed that one in six residents of England and Wales was born outside the UK. This equates to an increase of 2.5 million since 2011, from 7.5 million (13.4%) to 10 million (16.8%).

However, the data also shows that most of this increase was driven by the record number of people born in Romania who moved to the UK, a 576% increase from the previous census, from 80,000 in 2011 to 539,000 in the UK. 2021.

This means that Romanians entered the top five foreign-born citizens for the first time; the ONS estimated there were 313,000 in England by mid-2021, up from just 80,000 in 2011.

The ONS said the record numbers were due to the change in legislation, stating: “This increase was the highest of any country and is driven by the work restrictions for Romanian citizens that were lifted in 2014”.

Chris Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) responded to the figures by saying that “they are not a big surprise.”

“Everyone knew that once they were granted access that people would arrive in large numbers, it would happen.

“Many people do not understand – with current channel crossings – that England is a more desirable place to live than many European countries.

“We have a reasonably flexible job market, we have the English language – people don’t want to try to learn Finnish or Swedish if they already speak some English, even the Premiership is a draw and we have no ID cards.

“We also had pretty low unemployment and needed people to fill these jobs and, now, we have a shortage, largely attributable to Brexit.

“We now have a huge chunk of the Romanian population moving to the UK and it’s a big change for them and us, but it’s not very surprising.”

Romania is now the fourth most common non-British country of birth, but Italy also entered the top 10 non-British countries of birth, rising to 277,000 from 135,000 between 2011 and 2021, marking a 106% increase.

However, the top three most common non-British birth countries in 2021 remained the same as in 2011: India, which increased to 920,000 (1.5 per cent of the UK’s population), up from 694,000 in 2011, the Poland, which increased to 743,000 (1.2 percent), compared to 579,000 in 2011, and Pakistan, which increased to 624,000 (one percent), from 482,000 in 2011.

In the last census there were only four local authorities with over 50% of the population born outside the UK. There are now six: Brent (56.1%), Westminster (55.6%), Kensington (53.9%), Newham (53.7%), Harrow (51.1%) and Ealing (50, 8%). Conversely, Staffordshire Moorlands has the lowest with 2.6%.

All but five local authorities in England and Wales have seen increases, with Thurrock, Bolsover, Ashfield, Barnsley, Mansfield, Havering, Dartford and Knowsley seeing their population of foreign-born citizens double.

Census data also show that the habitual resident population in England and Wales grew by over 3.5 million (6.3%) in the inter-census period, from 56,075,912 in 2011 to 59,597,542 in 2021.

Those born in the European Union represented 3.6 million (36.4 per cent of all unborn residents in the UK) of the population, an increase from 2.5 million (32.7 per cent) in 2011 (including Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013).

The remaining 6.4 million (63.6%) were born outside the EU, compared to 5.1 million (67.3%) in 2011.

“This continues a long-term trend of an increasing proportion of unborn UK residents coming from the EU,” the ONS said.

The census has been collecting information on the population of the United Kingdom since 1851.

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