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Changes to the migrant population of the East Midlands 2001-2011

04 Jul 2013

Oxford University’s Migration Observatory releases comprehensive census analysis of the region.

The first comprehensive analysis of the migrant population of the East Midlands has been released today by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory. It shows that in the last decade some parts of the area have seen the biggest percentage increases in their migrant population of any areas for which census data is available in England and Wales.

It also showed that the area’s migrant population has increased by nearly 80%, but that East Midlands as a whole still has a smaller than average proportion of migrants.

Numbers and shares:

  • In 2011, the total usual resident population of the East Midlands stood at 4,533,222. Close to 10% of those residents (448,211) were born outside of the UK, which represents an increase of 77.7% in the foreign-born population of the region since 2001.
  • In 2011, 46% of the non-UK born population held a UK passport, and 49% held a non-UK passport in 2011.
  • In both 2001 and 2011, the East Midlands occupied the 5th position in terms of the population share and the 7th position in terms of populationnumbers of non-UK born residents, out of England and Wales’ ten government regions.

Regional distribution:

  • Of all districts and unitary authorities in the UK for which data is available, the proportional increase in the foreign-born population of Boston in Lincolnshire from 2001 to 2011 – which rose by 467% from 1,727 in 2001 to 9,790 in 2011 – was by far the biggest. The nearby region of South Holland saw the third biggest proportional increase at 225% from 2,600 in 2001 to 8,440 in 2011.
  • Nearly a quarter (24.7%) of the foreign-born population resided in Leicester. Leicester was also the locality with both the highest number (110,843) and highest population share (33.6%) of non-UK born residents in 2011, and the one which saw the largest numerical growth in the migrant population (46,283 additional non-UK born residents).
  • Nottingham had 305,680 residents and a foreign-born population of 59,729, accounting for 13% of all foreign-born residents living in East Midlands and 20% of the local population. This means that more than a third (38%) of the non-UK born residents of East Midlands resided in the unitary authorities of Leicester and Nottingham.
  • The smallest proportion of the foreign-population lived in the county of Derbyshire; its25,642 foreign-born residents represent 6% of the total non-UK born population of the East Midlands and 3% of the local population

Migrant profiles:

  • Residents born in India represent the most numerous non-UK born group in the East Midlands (68,463 residents) followed by residents born in Poland, Ireland, Pakistan and Germany.
  • People with Polish passports represented the largest group of non-UK passport holders.
  • About 94% of the population of the East Midlands spoke English or Welsh as their main language. Of the 6.2% (269,717) that did not, 75% could speak English well or very well, and only 4% (11,288) did not speak any English at all.
  • Among those for whom English or Welsh were not the main language, the most commonly spoken main language was Polish (19%), followed by Gujarati (17%) and Panjabi (13%%).

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, the Senior Researcher leading the census project at the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, said: “The East Midlands has, understandably, been the focus of much media attention recently as a result of some of the changes to its migrant population. Boston has seen a 467% increase in its migrant population in a decade – by far the biggest of anywhere in England and Wales – which clearly represents profound change for a medium-sized town. Nearby South Holland has seen the third-biggest proportional increase, at 224.6%. However, it is worth notingthat the rate of change in Boston is particularly exceptional.

“Overall the area has seen an increase in the migrant population of 77.7%, which is higher than the national average of 61.6%, but migrants in the East Midlands still make up a smallerproportion of the population than the national average – which is 13.4% – in the East Midlands it is just under 10%.

“The biggest numerical changes have been seen in Leicester and Nottingham, which together account for almost 40% of migrants in the region. Derbyshire has the smallest foreign-born population in the region, accounting for only 3% of the local population.”


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