'British whites' are the minority in London for the first time as census shows number of UK immigrants has jumped by 3 million in 10 years
Just 3.7million Londoners described their ethnicity as 'White British' in 2011 - down from 4.3million in 2001, and making up 44.9 per cent of the city's population. It is believed to be the first time that British whites have become a minority in any region of the UK.
Hugo Gye | DailyMail.UK | 11 December 2012
* Just 44.9% of Londoners are White British, according to census data
* 7.5 million residents of England and Wales were foreign-born in 2011
* Census data reveal just 59% now call themselves Christian as a quarter say they have no religion and 5% are Muslim
* Less than 90% of country is white for the first time ever
* Home ownership declines but more people have paid off their mortgages
* Marriage rate dips to record low as fewer than half are hitched
Foreign-born: This map shows the number of British-born people living in England. Darker areas indicate a higher number of British-born individuals living in an area, while lighter areas have a higher number of foreign-born residents. The figures - the ranges of which are found in the bottom right-hand corner - are taken from the 2011 census, conducted by the Office for National Statistics
White British people are now in a minority in London for the first time, it emerged today as census data revealed that the immigrant population of England and Wales went up by 3 million over the past decade.
Just 3.7 million Londoners described their ethnicity as 'White British' in 2011 - down from 4.3 million in 2001, and making up 44.9 per cent of the city's population.
It is believed to be the first time that British whites have become a minority in any region of the UK.
Another major change to the nation came in the decreasing number of Christians - 4 million fewer people claimed to belong to the faith as a quarter of Britons said they had no religion.
In 2011, 7.5 million residents were foreign-born, making up 13 per cent, or one in eight of the population - up from 4.6 million people in 2001.
The total population of England and Wales was 56.1 million, a seven per cent increase on 2001 - and 55 per cent of the increase is due to migration.
There were 33.2 million people claiming to be Christian, down from 37.3 million in 2001 and making up just 59 per cent of the population.
25.1 per cent of people said they had no faith, up from 14.8 per cent a decade earlier, while the proportion of Muslims rose from 3.0 per cent to 4.8 per cent.
The third most popular religion was Hinduism, with 1.5 per cent of the population, while 0.8 per cent were Sikhs and 0.5 per cent Jewish.
Nearly 180,000 claimed to be followers of the Jedi religion featured in Star Wars - down from 2001, when around 400,000 jokingly put the faith down on their census form.
The statistics emerged as the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that English cathedral congregations had grown dramatically in recent years, debunking the 'cliché' that the Church of England is fading away.
Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said the decline in religion was 'really significant', adding: 'In spite of a biased question that positively encourages religious responses, to see such an increase in the non-religious and such a decrease in those reporting themselves as Christian is astounding.
'Of course these figures still exaggerate the number of Christians overall - the number of believing, practising Christians is much lower than this and the number of those leading their lives with no reference to religion much higher.'
But Nick Spencer, research director at theology think-tank Theos, argued 'Religion is difficult to define and difficult to measure.
'The census measures religious identification, not beliefs or practice. It's about what people call themselves, and which group they wish to identify with.
'These figures show that we have a plural religious landscape, but that doesn't mean we're atheists. Digging deeper, we see that even those who say they have no religion often have a variety of spiritual beliefs, but they don't want to associate these to religious institutions.'
The data on religion showed considerable national variation - Knowsley, in Lancashire, is the most Christian town in England with 80.9 per cent of residents following the faith, while in London's Tower Hamlets 34.5 per cent of the population are Muslims.
Norwich is the most godless place in the country, as 42.5 per cent said they had no religion - despite the presence of one of England's most spectacular cathedrals.
Britain's increasing diversity was emphasized by the data released by the Office of National Statistics, as it emerged that the proportion of the nation that is white has fallen below 90 per cent for the first time.
48.2 million people described themselves as being white, making up 86.0 per cent of the population of England and Wales, down from 91.3 per cent a decade earlier.
Within this ethnic group, the 'White British' category was the largest at 45.1 million, or 80.5 per cent of the population, a fall compared to 87 per cent in 2001.
7.5 per cent of the population is Asian, while 3.4 per cent described themselves as black.
Unsurprisingly, London was found to be the most ethnically diverse region, while Wales was the least.
London is also home to the most immigrants, as 37 per cent of its residents were born abroad and 24 per cent are not citizens of the UK.
One major reason for the explosion in the foreign-born population is the accession of 12 countries in central and eastern Europe to the EU, giving them the right to live and work in the UK - the population of Poles in England and Wales has grown nine-fold over the decade.
Apart from Poland, the other leading countries of origin for British immigrants were India, Pakistan, Ireland and Germany.
The largest increase in ethnic group over the last decade was seen in the 'White: Other' category where an increase of 1.1 million was recorded. This reflects more than half a million Poles who migrated into England and Wales during these years, the ONS said.
Around 2 million respondents listed their partners or fellow household members as being of different ethnic groups - 47 per cent more than in 2001.
For the first time fewer of half of Britons - 46.6 per cent - are married, the data revealed, with nine per cent divorced and seven per cent widowed.
Over a third have never married, while 105,000 people - 0.2 per cent of the population - are in a same-sex civil partnership.
The census results reveal that the mean age of people in England and Wales is 39.4, with 21.3 per cent of the population under 18 and 16.6 per cent aged 65 or over.
Good news for the country came from the data on education, which revealed that for the first time more of us have a bachelor's degree or higher than have no academic qualifications - 27 to 23 per cent.
There are also encouraging signs in the fact that 81 per cent of people claim to be in good or very good health - however, 10 million people say they are struggling with some sort of disability or long-term illness.
And 10 per cent of the population is forced to provide unpaid care to a disabled friend or relative, with 2 million people spending over 20 hours a week as a volunteer carer.
Further data show some 4.8 million people now hold a non-UK passport. Of these, 2.3 million have EU passports.
In 91 per cent of households, everyone's main language is English - but in four per cent, there is no one who was brought up speaking the language, which could harm the children of immigrants as they attempt to integrate into British society.
The statistics also offer a snapshot of how people live.
Since 2001, the proportion of people owning properties through a mortgage or loan has decreased from 39 per cent to 33 per cent, but the number of people who own homes outright increased from 29 per cent to 31 per cent.
The census also showed a rise in the number of tenants who rent their homes - a figure which increased from nine per cent to 15 cent.
Ownership of cars and vans has also gone up by 14 per cent.
Last year there was an average of 12 cars for every 10 households - up on 11 cars per 10 households in 2001.
London was the only region where the number of vehicles was lower than the number of households.
Guy Goodwin, the ONS's director of census, said: 'These statistics paint a picture of society and help us all plan for the future using accurate information at a local level.
'This is just the tip of the iceberg of census statistics. Further rich layers of vital information will be revealed as we publish more detailed data for very local levels over the coming months.'
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