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Population of Great Britain

The population of Britain is at present nearing 60 million people, a figure which shows a substantial increase from the 1991 census statistic of approximately 55 million. The table below gives an estimated breakdown of the GB population in terms of countries and English regions.

 

MID-2000 UK Population Estimates

UK COUNTRIES

POPULATION ESTIMATE

United Kingdom

59, 755, 700

England

49, 997, 100

Wales

2, 946, 200

Scotland

5, 114, 600

Northern Ireland

1, 697, 800

ENGLISH REGIONS

POPULATION ESTIMATE

North East

2, 577, 300

North West

6, 894, 000

Yorkshire and Humber

5, 057, 900

East Midlands

4, 207, 900

West Midlands

5, 335, 400

East

5, 459, 600

London

7, 375, 100

South East

8, 114, 900

South West

4, 975, 100

 

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF ETHNIC GROUPS

The ethnic minority populations are not evenly distributed around Great Britain, but tend to be highly concentrated in the more urbanised parts of the country. Their geographical distribution is very different from that of the White population.

         Nearly half of all people in Great Britain of ethnic minority live in Greater London, compared with less than one in ten of the White population.

         People of ethnic minority origin are much less likely than white people to live in Wales, Scotland and the North east and South west regions of England.

Nearly three quarters of the ethnic minority population live in the metropolitan counties of

         Greater London

         Greater Manchester

         West Yorkshire

         West Midlands

Compared with less than a quarter of the White population.

The concentration of individual ethnic groups is even more extreme. Greater London contains:

         over 80 per cent of the total Black African population

         nearly 60 per cent of the Black-Caribbean population

         less than 20 per cent of the Pakistani population

Nearly half of the Pakistani population live in the metropolitan counties of

         Greater Manchester

         West Yorkshire

         West Midlands

About 5 per cent of the Black-African and 20 per cent of the Black-Caribbean populations.

The three South Asian ethnic groups - Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi - show marked differences in their areas of residence. Almost half of all Bangladeshis and over 40 per cent of all Indians live in Greater London. Of the Indians who live in Greater London, only one in six live in Inner London. This contrasts with the Bangladeshi population, where four out of five of the Greater London residents live in Inner London.

The concentration of ethnic minority groups in particular areas has been explained in terms of 'choice' and 'constraint' theories. The choice theory argues that ethnic minorities may prefer to live within concentrations of their own group for reasons of social support and shared linguistic, cultural and religious traditions. The constraint theory argues that that minority groups have often been prevented from moving outside certain geographical areas by their economic position, by lack of information about housing opportunities elsewhere, and by discrimination or fear of discrimination. The different profiles of skills and experience found in different ethnic groups led the early migrants to seek employment in certain industries. The tendency of Pakistanis, for example, to settle in particular Northern and West Midland conurbations was related to the seeking out of employment opportunities within the textile and heavy engineering industries.

The table below (1998) gives an idea of the distribution of ethnic minority groups in some of the different regions of Great Britain. Figures given are in thousands.

 

REGION;

COUNTRY

BLACK-CARIBBEAN

BLACK-AFRICAN

INDIAN

PAKISTANI

CHINESE

NORTH EAST

1

4

4

12

5

NORTH WEST and MERSEYSIDE

 

20

 

14

 

64

 

105

 

21

YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE

 

22

 

7

 

53

 

112

 

6

LONDON

290

289

399

107

58

ENGLAND

496

347

929

541

147

REGION;

COUNTRY

BLACK-CARIBBEAN

BLACK AFRICAN

INDIAN

PAKISTANI

CHINESE

WALES

3

3

3

3

6

ENGLAND & WALES

 

499

 

350

 

932

 

544

 

153

SCOTLAND

2

4

12

24

13

GREAT BRITAIN

 

501

 

353

 

944

 

568

 

166

 

For more information on the patterns of ethnic diversity in the UK, click here.

For further and more detailed information on population and migration in the UK, click here.


Produced in Poland by British Council 2003. The United Kingdom's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We are registered in England as a charity.