[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 15:42 GMT
'Fall in English white Britons'
Chinatown, London
People of Chinese origin are England's fastest-growing ethnic group, figures suggest
The number of white Britons in England is falling but other ethnic groups are growing rapidly, new data suggests.

The Office for National Statistics says the number of white British people decreased by 0.1% between 2001 and 2003 while other groups grew by 3.8%.

The biggest growth was among Chinese people who rose more than 11%.

The ONS says the figures - the first attempt to measure ethnic groups on a national level between censuses - are still in the experimental stages.

An ONS spokesman said the figures were based on a number of sources, not all of which specified race, meaning some assumptions about the growth of various communities had had to be made.

The experimental status of the estimates meant they had not yet met the ONS' quality criteria but were being made public in an attempt to involve users in the project, the ONS said.

Racial classifications

"We need to get some users' views on whether our assumptions are usable," the spokesman said.

However, their results so far were consistent with the mid-year local authority population estimates by sex and age already produced by the ONS, the spokesman added.

The new ONS figures use the same 16 racial classifications as the 2001 census which as well as racial groups, distinguish between people of white British and Irish origin and white people from a different background.

Using the experimental methodology, ONS researchers estimated in mid-2003 the population of England whose racial origins were not white British was 7.1 million, an increase of just over half a million since the 2001 census.

The biggest growth was seen among Chinese people whose numbers grew annually by 11% between 2001 and 2003.

Researchers said the main reason for growth was the migration to England of people born in China.


The population of most ethnic groups in England grew over the period studied, researchers said, with the exception of the White Irish and White British groups which both showed a small decline.

The white British population of England was nearly 43 million in mid-2003, a decrease of just over 100,000 since mid-2001, the ONS figures suggested.

Researchers concluded the drop was due to excess migration and, in the case of the white Irish group, an excess of deaths over births.

London continued to have the biggest concentration of people from groups other than white British at nearly 41%.

The North East of England had the lowest proportion of people from other groups than white British at 4.6%. But their numbers were also increasing fastest in that region with an annual growth of just under 10% between 2001 and 2003, the ONS study suggested.

Ethnic groups growing - census
13 Feb 03 |  UK News

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific