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Census statistics published by ONS

The number of people living in England and Wales was 56.1 million during the last census.

The ONS has published more of the results of the 2011 census, which showed that the population had increased by 3.7 million, or 7% since 2001.

86% of the population in England and Wales is white, although this represents a 5 percentage point decrease since 2001. The number of residents belonging to the white ethnic group in London fell from 4.3 million to 3.7 million.

The number of Christians is 4m lower than in 2001, at 33.2m, while those who reported they belonged to ‘no religion’ rose by over 6m to 14.1m. The area with the highest proportion of Christians is the north east, while Wales had the most people with ‘no religion’.

Other statistics showed that in England and Wales, 81% of people reported they were in ‘good’ or ‘very good’ health, whilst the proportion of households owning their home through a mortgage or loan decreased from 39% to 33%.

The number of foreign-born residents living in England and Wales increased from 4.6 million in 2001 to 7.5 million in 2011 – 13% of the population.

Guy Goodwin, 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.”

Simon Dennis, central government director at SAS UK, commented: “The lives of average people have changed dramatically over the past 40 years and the make-up of the UK in 2011 is now markedly different to the way it looked back in 1971. Future changes to the UK population are likely to be just as dramatic, if not more so.

“The Government will increasingly need to rely on up-to-the-minute information, which it can use to make evidence-based decisions to inform policy-making.”

For a range of interactive data visualisations, visit

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