Chapter 3 section 1
Population In 2005 the population of the United Kingdom was just under 60 million people
UK population 2005
(84% of the population) 50.1 million Scotland
(8% of the population) 5.1 million Wales
(5% of the population) 2.9 million N Ireland
(3% of the population) 1.7 million Total UK
59.8 million Source: National Statistics
The population has grown by 7.7% since 1971, and growth has been faster in more recent years. Although the general population in the UK has increased in the last 20 years, in some areas such as the North-East and North-West of England there has been a decline.
Both the birth rate and the death rate are falling and as a result the UK now has an ageing population For instance, there are more people over 60 than children under 16. There is also a record number of people aged 85 and over.
The census A census is a count of the whole population. It also collects statistics on topics such as age, place of birth, occupation, ethnicity, housing, health, and marital status.
A census has been taken every ten years since 1801, except during the second World War. The next census will take place in 2011.
During a census, a form is delivered to every household in the country. This form asks for detailed information about each member of the household and must be completed by law. The information remains confidential and anonymous; it can only be released to the public after 100 years, when many people researching their family history find it very useful. General census information is used to identify population trends and to help planning. More information about the census, the census form and statistics from previous censuses can be found at
Ethnic diversity The UK population is ethnically diverse and is changing rapidly, especially in large cities such as London, so it is not always easy to get an exact picture of the ethnic origin of all the population from census statistics. Each of the four countries of the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) has different customs, attitudes and histories
People of Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Black Caribbean, Black African, Bangladeshi and mixed ethnic descent make up 8.3% of the UK population. Today about half the members of these communities were born in the United Kingdom.
There are also considerable numbers of people resident in the UK who are of Irish, Italian, Greek and Turkish Cypriot, Polish, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and American descent. Large numbers have also arrived since 2004 from the new East European member states of the European Union. These groups are not identified separately in the census statistics in the following table
UK population 2001
Million UK population % White (including people of European,
Australian, American descent)
54.2 92 Mixed
0.7 1.2 Asian or Asian British
1.1 1.8 Pakistani
0.7 1.3 Bangladeshi
0.3 0.5 Other Asian
0.2 0.4 Black or Black British
0.6 1.0 Black African
0.5 0.8 Black other
0.1 0.2 Chinese
0.2 0.4 Other
0.2 0.4 Source: National Statistics from the 2001 census
Where do the largest ethnic minority groups live? The figures from the 2001 census show that most members of the large ethnic minority groups in the UK live in England, where they make up 9% of the total population. 45% of all ethnic minority people live in the London area, where they form nearly one-third of the population (29%). Other areas of England with large ethnic minority populations are the West Midlands, the South East, the North West, and Yorkshire and Humberside.
Proportion of ethnic minority groups in the countries of the UK
9% Wales 2% Scotland
2% Northern Ireland less than 1%