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Commonwealth citizens arriving before 1971

04 May 2018

UPDATED: 5 June 2019 to include country of origin breakdown from Census data



Commonwealth migrants arriving before 1971, England and Wales, 2011 Census

Passport heldNumberPercent
Holds UK passport541,61690%
Does not hold UK passport, of which:57,46210%
- Commonwealth passport34,4476%
- No passport21,0534%
- Other non-UK passport1,9620.3%
Source: Office of National Statistics, table CT0801_2011

Note: Figures are for England and Wales only. The Census 2011 figures differ from analysis based on the Labour Force Survey (see below) in various ways. First, Census collected information on passports held (i.e. the physical document) rather than self-reported nationality. This enables a distinction between people with a UK or non-UK passport vs. those with no passport at all. People with no passport could be either UK or non-UK citizens.

Note that the figures do not directly indicate the number of people who cannot document their legal status in the UK. People without passports may have other proof such as immigration status documents or certificates of naturalisation.

Census figures are a count of the population rather than an estimate based on survey data, and so are more accurate. They also include people who are excluded from the LFS, such as people living in communal establishments.

Commonwealth migrants who arrived in the UK before 1971, by place of birth and passports held

Census 2011Number of respondents in 2011 Census  As a percentage of those with…
UK passportNon-UK passportNo passportTotalUK passportNon-UK passportNo passportTotal
All Commonwealth countries541,61636,40921,053599,078All Commonwealth countries100%100%100%100%
Americas and Caribbean149,33810,1637,529167,030 Americas and Caribbean28%28%36%28%
Africa102,5672,4792,753107,799 Africa19%7%13%18%
Asia, Oceania, Antarctica273,52621,7759,228304,529 Asia, Oceania, Antarctica51%60%44%51%
EU15,0101,9821,53218,524 EU3%5%7%3%
Other Europe1,17510111,196 Other Europe0%0%0%0%
Selected Commonwealth countries of birth, arrived 1931-1970UK passportNon-UK passportNo passportTotalSelected Commonwealth countries of birth, arrived 1931-1970UK passportNon-UK passportNo passportTotal
South Africa14,2404921,06015,792South Africa3%1%5%3%
Source: Migration Observatory analysis of ONS Census data, tables CT0801, CT0800 and CT0814. Note: Not all Commonwealth countries have individual country-level data publicly available in these tables and individual-level data excludes anyone arriving before 1931. Data are for usual residents on 27th March 2011. 'No passport held' category counts the number of usual residents who did not hold a passport on Census day. This does not necessarily mean that they have never held a passport.

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