The white British population has stayed the same since 2001; there has been an increase in births, but there has also been a similar number of people migrating.
The non-white British population has grown by 4.1% a year, adding up to 37.4% growth – 2.5 million – over the whole period. The only group to shrink is the white Irish population – down from 646,600 in 2001 to 574,200, due to falling birthrates and migration.
A rise in the “other white” population from 1.4 million to 1.9 million is not simply due to eastern Europeans arriving, said the ONS statistician responsible for the report, but also because of the arrival of people from Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
The mixed-race population is up nearly 50% to almost a million for the first time – up from 672,000 in 2001 to 986,600 in 2009. A third are mixed African-Caribbean and white, followed by Asian/white. The ONS said this was not a result of increasing birthrates but because “the population is mixing up more”. Haringey, north London, has the highest proportion, at 4.4%.
In 225 local authority areas, more than 90% of the local population is white. That figure is highest in Wales and north-east England. The whitest borough is Blaenau Gwent in Wales, where 96.5% of the population is white British, followed by Copeland in Cumbria, where 96.3% of the population is white.
But some groups expressed fears about the “changing face of Britain”. Sir Andrew Green, of MigrationWatch UK, said: “If immigration continues at this rate, our population will hit 70 million within 20 years and immigrants will account for half of new households. We are already feeling the pressures on maternity units and schools. This rise is part of Labour’s legacy. Whether they meant to or not, they changed the face of Britain forever.”
The figures, published for the third year running, are based by the ONS on fertility rates and death rates, and migration around the country and abroad.
The ONS does not compile figures for Scotland or Northern Ireland, which have their own statistics bodies.