The population of England and Wales on census day (27 March
2011) was 56.1 million. The Office for National Statistics
(ONS) published the first results from the 2011 Census today.
This was an increase of 3.7 million (7 per cent) since 2001
when there were 52.4 million people - the largest
growth in numbers seen in any period between censuses since
census taking began in 1801.
In the last 10 years the population of England grew by 7 per
cent to 53 million and Wales by 5 per cent to 3.06 million.
Every region in England and Wales had a larger population in
2011 than 2001. Overall there was greater population growth
than in the previous 10 years.
The largest increase in population since 2001 was in London,
which gained more than 850,000 residents (12 per cent) and
now has a population of over 8 million.
Jil Matheson, National Statistician, said:
"I'd like to thank everyone for their support. The
2011 Census has been a resounding success and I am proud of
the incredible effort that has been put in. It is a rich
source of information about the population and its
characteristics. Across England and Wales around 19 out of 20
people responded and we have excellent statistical methods
for ensuring we have a complete estimate of the whole
population. These statistics will provide valuable
information for planners, policy-makers and the public for
years to come."
Around 55 per cent of the increase in population between 2001
and 2011 was the result of net migration. Around 45 per cent
of the increase resulted from the number of births exceeding
the number of deaths, caused partly by the number of women of
child bearing age increasing and partly by people living
The population of England and Wales has risen by
approximately 50 per cent since 1911 - so for every two
people in 1911 there were three in 2011.The median age of the
population increased from 25 in 1911 to 35 in 1961, and 39 in
One in six people in England and Wales in 2011 was aged 65
and over. Of these, 430,000 were aged 90 and over, compared
with only 13,000 in 1911.
Although the average age of the population has increased,
there was an increase in the number of under-five-year-olds.
There were more than 400,000 more in 2011 compared with 2001.
This partly reflected a rise in the number of women of
child-bearing age because of inward migration.
There were 23.4 million households in England and Wales, an 8
per cent increase on the 21.7 million households in 2001. The
average household size was 2.4 people, unchanged from 2001.
Other findings include:
• The average population density is 371 people per
square kilometre, which equates to about four people on a
• 331 of the 348 local authority areas grew between 2001
and 2011, with 17 decreasing in population
• The largest local authority is Birmingham, with
1,073,000 usual residents, compared with 985,000 in 2001
• Tower Hamlets (26 per cent) and Newham (24 per cent)
were the only local authorities in England and Wales to show
growth over 20 per cent. Outside London, Manchester was the
local authority that experienced the greatest percentage
population growth (19 per cent). Manchester saw the third
greatest growth in England and Wales.
• In 11 local authorities more than a quarter of the
population was aged 65 and over. The area with the highest
number of people aged 65 and over was Christchurch in Dorset
(30 per cent)
• The local authority with the largest proportion of
children aged under five was Barking and Dagenham, with 10
Glen Watson, Census Director said:
"The whole operation has worked well. We met our
targets both for response and quality. We've had fantastic
support from the public, and also from voluntary groups,
community groups and local authorities throughout England and
Wales. I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone
involved, including the 35,000 people who worked on the data
collection and helped to make the census a success."
For further information:
Media Line: 01329 447654
Visit: www.ons.gov.uk/census for
more detailed analysis and information
The census provides the most accurate estimate possible
for the population of England and Wales and has been
carried out every 10 years since 1801, apart from 1941,
by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The
information provided to ONS is used solely for the
census, is anonymised and protected for 100 years. Census
day was on 27 March 2011. All census population numbers
refer to that day.
Government uses the census statistics to allocate funding
for services such as education, transport and health.
Policy makers in central and local government use the
census to identify the needs of different communities and
they are also used by commercial enterprises. It also
provides the benchmark for future population estimates
and for sample surveys.
The 'median' is the value halfway up an ordered list of
numbers. The median age is the age that half of the
population are older than and half are younger than.
For the first time every census questionnaire form could
be filled out and returned on-line and 16 per cent of
census returns were completed on-line.
The 2011 Census figures will be used to base the 2011
population mid-year estimates which are due for release in
September 2012. In due course the mid-year population
estimates for 2002-2010 will be rebased.
National statistics are produced to high professional
standards set out in the National Statistics Code of
Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews
to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are
produced free from any political interference.
The second release, due between November 2012 and
February 2013, will feature more detailed statistics
including national identity, ethnicity, marital and civil
partnership status, and religion.
The regions referred to conform to standard statistical
For the latest on census, follow us on Twitter:
Some facts about the collection of census data:
• The 26 million 32-page (16 sheets of paper)
questionnaires sent to households in England and Wales
were printed at the rate of eight questionnaires per
• Stacked up, they would be 200 times the height of
• Questionnaires were processed at a rate of 170,000
• Questionnaires were printed on paper from
sustainable sources and 1,700 tonnes were destroyed and
recycled after processing.
Details of the policy governing the release of new data
are available by visiting
or from the Media Relations Office email: firstname.lastname@example.org