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Changes to the migrant population of Yorkshire and the Humber 2001-2011

12 Jun 2014

A complete profile of the migrant population in Yorkshire and the Humber has been produced by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, which shows that the area’s foreign-born population has increased by nearly 80% in the last decade, but is still a smaller percentage of the overall population than the national average.

The profile, which is based on detailed analysis of the 2011 Census and comparisons with the 2001 census, is the second in a series of regional profiles of England and Wales undertaken by the Migration Observatory – the first was for London.

Numbers and shares:

  • In 2011, the total usual resident population of Yorkshire and the Humber stood at 5,283,733. Close to 9% of those residents – a total of 464,691 – were born outside of the UK.
  • This represents a 78% increase in the non-UK born population of the area in a decade – up from 260,840 in 2001.
  • Nearly half (47%) of the non-UK born population of Yorkshire and the Humber held a UK passport.
  • At 9%, the area’s migrant population represents a smaller than average share of the overall population – the average for England and Wales is 13%.
  • The foreign born population share of Yorkshire and the Humber places the area in 6th position out of 10 government regions in England and Wales – this is the same position the area held in 2001

Regional distribution:

  • The majority (55%) of the non-UK born population was concentrated in West Yorkshire.
  • Bradford had the highest number (89,609) as well as highest population share (17.2%) of non-UK born residents. This was closely followed by Leeds with a non-UK born population of 86,144, which represents an 11.5% share of Leeds’ population.
  • The biggest numerical increase in the non-UK born population of Yorkshire and the Humber between 2001 and 2011 was in Leeds, which saw an increase of 38,508 from 47,636 to 86,144 (up 81%).
  • The biggest percentage increase in the non-UK born population between 2001 and 2011 was in Kingston upon Hull, where the non-UK born population rose by 195% from 7,388 to 21,821 (up from 3% of the population to 8.5%).

Migrant profiles:

  • The most common country of birth for Yorkshire and the Humber’s non-UK born population is Pakistan at 86,772 in 2011. This is followed by Poland, India, Germany and Ireland – it is likely that a substantial proportion of the German-born population is children of service personnel.
  • The most common non-UK passport held by residents of Yorkshire and the Humber is Polish (40,157), followed by Pakistani (20,344). Polish migrants are less likely than those from Pakistan to apply for UK citizenship as EU freedom of movement regulations mean that there is less incentive for EU citizens resident in other EU states to do so.
  • Around 94% of the population of Yorkshire and the Humber speaks English as their main language. Of the 6% (300,886) that do not, the most common main language is Polish (15.2%) followed by Panjabi (14.4%) and Urdu (12.6%). Of the 300,886 who did not speak English as their main language 73% stated that they spoke English well or very well.

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, the Senior Researcher leading the census project at the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, said: “These data paint a picture of a very varied region, with some areas like Bradford where nearly one in five people was born abroad, and other areas like Barnsley, where fewer than one in 20 were.

“Yorkshire and the Humber has seen substantial increase in its non-UK born population, which has risen by 78% in the last 10 years. The increase has been particularly marked in some areas. Hull’s non-UK born population has nearly tripled – from a comparatively low starting point – and has seen a notable increase in its Polish population. However, it is still important to remember that many foreign-born residents are also British citizens – nearly half of the non-UK born population of Yorkshire and the Humber held a British passport, which includes children of British armed forces personnel.

“The region is, in many respects, a microcosm of England and Wales as a whole. While the overall non-UK born population is slightly lower than the national average, to some extent that is the result of the very high migrant population in London and the South East. Yorkshire and the Humber sits at around the middle of the table for England and Wales as a whole.”


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