Census 2021 Reveals Insights into International Migrants Living in England and Wales

The latest release of Census 2021 data sheds light on the social characteristics of international migrants residing in England and Wales. This report provides valuable insights into various aspects of their lives, including housing, family, language, health, qualifications, religion, national identity, and ethnicity.

Main Findings:

1. Housing:

  • 43% of non-UK-born residents lived in owner-occupied accommodation, compared to 67% of UK-born residents.
  • Among those who had been in the UK for at least 10 years, 57% of non-UK-born residents lived in owner-occupied accommodation.

2. Language:

  • The majority of non-UK-born residents had high levels of English proficiency, with 87% of recent arrivals between 2011 and 2021 reporting proficiency in English.

3. Health:

  • Non-UK-born residents between the ages of 16 and 49 reported better health than their UK-born counterparts.

4. Education:

  • Non-EU-born residents were more likely than EU-born residents to hold higher education qualifications (Level 4 or above) until the age of 54, while for EU-born residents, this trend continued until the age of 80.

5. National Identity:

  • Non-EU-born residents were more likely to identify with a UK identity only compared to EU-born residents.


International migration significantly influences population changes in England and Wales. The focus of this analysis is on country of birth, defining international migrants as residents born outside the UK who have migrated to the UK at some point. This group includes individuals who were British at birth but born abroad, as well as those who were born abroad and later obtained UK citizenship.

Census 2021 data reveals that there were 10.0 million people born outside the UK, comprising 36% EU-born and 64% non-EU-born residents. Importantly, 43% of those born outside the UK held UK passports.


Population pyramids highlight the age-sex distribution differences between UK-born, EU-born, and non-EU-born residents. The UK-born population has a distinct age structure, with EU-born and non-EU-born residents predominantly of working age.

The median age for UK-born residents was higher than for those born abroad, with EU-born residents being younger and non-EU-born residents older. Females in all country of birth groups had an older median age than males.


Regarding residence type, in 2021, 58,555,850 residents lived in households, while 1,041,690 lived in communal establishments. Non-EU-born residents (47%) were more likely to own their accommodation than EU-born residents (35%), compared to 67% of UK-born residents.

Private rented housing levels were highest among EU-born residents at 53%, followed by non-EU-born residents (36%), while UK-born residents had the lowest levels at 16%.


Living arrangements differed among residents by country of birth. Approximately 60% of residents lived in couples, with non-EU-born residents more likely to be in married couples (53%) than EU-born residents (35%). EU-born residents had a higher proportion in cohabiting couples (21%) compared to non-EU-born residents (7%).

Family status revealed that both EU-born and non-EU-born residents had a smaller proportion of dependent and non-dependent children than UK-born residents. They also had a higher proportion of residents under 66 years who were not part of a family.


The Census 2021 data provides essential insights into the lives of international migrants in England and Wales, highlighting differences in housing, family structures, language proficiency, health, and education compared to UK-born residents. Understanding these social characteristics is crucial for informed policy-making and addressing the needs of this diverse population.