What can Census 2021 tell us about ethnic diversity in England?

An illustration of a magnifying glass looking at a person - symbol of Census 2021

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published small area data for the topic summary ethnic group, national identity, language and religion, and already there are some big stories for local areas emerging from the datasets. 

This blog focuses on two datasets: “Ethnic group” and “Multiple ethnic Group”. Whereas “Ethnic group” classifies usual residents in England and Wales by ethnic group, “Multiple ethnic group” classifies households in England and Wales by the diversity in ethnic group of household members in different relationships. By integrating these two measures, we are able to see a broad picture of ethnic diversity in each area.

Brent, Newham and Tower Hamlets have the highest percentage of non-White British residents and the highest proportion of households with multiple ethnic groups

Investigating the number of residents in ethnic minority groups (residents who are non-White British) in each local authority reveals that Newham, Brent and Harrow have the highest proportion, with 85.24%, 84.81% and 79.49%, respectively. 

However, not all local authorities high in ethnic minority residents also show high proportions of multi-ethnic households. The table below lists the local authorities that fall within the “top 30 local authorities with the highest proportion of non-White British residents” and the “top 30 local authorities with the highest proportion of households with multiple ethnic groups.” 

As we can see, all of the local authorities high in both of these measures are in London Boroughs, with Brent, Newham and Tower Hamlets having the highest average of ethnic minority residents and ethnically diverse households.

Local Authority% in ethnic minority group (non-White British)% ethnically diverse households
Brent84.81


22.68
Newham85.2421.84
Tower Hamlets77.0621.89
Ealing75.6823.10
Redbridge76.8418.11
Haringey68.1026.62
Westminster72.0122.46
Hackney66.0727.21
Hounslow71.5720.51
Enfield68.7423.12
Waltham Forest65.9625.22
Southwark64.4925.91
Kensington and Chelsea67.3022.52
Lambeth62.4127.02
Camden64.6224.25
Lewisham62.8325.80
Barnet63.8423.18
Hammersmith and Fulham61.7225.20
Islington60.2526.02
Croydon62.5622.43
Merton58.7925.16
Greenwich58.6022.08
City of London57.4919.23

In contrast, the table below lists the local authorities that fall within the “top 30 local authorities with the highest proportion of non-White British residents” but not the “top 30 local authorities with the highest proportion of households with multiple ethnic groups.”

As we can see, 3 out of 7 of these are still London Boroughs, yet areas outside of London (Slough, Luton, Leicester and Birmingham) also show high levels of non-White British residents, yet do not show a high proportion of multi-ethnic households.

Local Authority% in ethnic minority group (non-White British)% ethnically diverse households
Harrow79.4917.94
Slough75.9616.91
Barking and Dagenham69.1417.75
Luton68.24
16.70
Hillingdon62.9418.08
Leicester66.7912.73
Birmingham57.1013.51

The 10 most ethnically diverse MSOAs are all in the local authorities of Ealing, Birmingham and Leicester

The table below shows the ten Middle-Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) with the highest proportion of non-White British residents. All of these MSOAs are in the local authorities of Ealing, Birmingham and Leicester. Southall West in Ealing has the highest proportion of ethnic minority residents (97.88%), followed by Southall Green West in Ealing (97.34%) and Sparkhill North in Birmingham (97.32%).

MSOA (Local Authority)% in ethnic minority group (non-White British)
Southall West (Ealing)97.88
Southall Green West (Ealing)97.34
Sparkhill North (Birmingham)97.32
Southall Green East (Ealing)97.26
Sparkbrook South (Birmingham)97.20
Small Heath Park (Birmingham)97.13
Spinney Hill Road (Leicester)97.11
Crown Hills (Leicester)97.09
St Matthews & Highfields North (Leicester)97.01
Handsworth South (Birmingham)96.14

All local authorities had an increase in non-White British residents between 2011 and 2021

Whilst all local authorities showed increased ethnic diversity between 2011 and 2021, the table below lists the ten local authorities with the biggest percentage point difference between these timepoints.

As we can see, Barking and Dagenham had the greatest difference in the proportion of non-White British residents between 2011 and 2021 (18.60 point difference), followed by Havering (16.81 point difference) and Watford (16.08 point difference). 

Local Authority% in ethnic minority group (non-White British) 2011% in ethnic minority group (non-White British) 2021% point difference
Barking and Dagenham50.5469.1418.60
Havering16.7033.5116.81
Watford38.1254.2116.08
Dartford17.3632.7215.36
Hillingdon47.8362.9415.11
City of London42.4757.4915.02
Thurrock19.1033.8414.75
Sandwell34.1647.9513.79
Sutton29.0842.7513.67
Cambridge34.0147.0113.00

Visualising the spread of these 10 local authorities on the map shows a slight suburbanisation effect, with the largest increases in ethnic minority groups shown in areas on the fringes of London or just outside of London. There are notable shifts eastwards from London and just outside of Birmingham.

Allerdale is the local authority with the highest proportion of White British residents (96.7%)

The table below lists the local authority with the highest proportion of each ethnic group. Lewisham has the highest proportion of both ‘Caribbean’ and ‘Other Black’ residents (10.61% and 3.58%, respectively), whilst Islington has the highest proportion of both ‘Other Mixed or Multiple ethnic groups’ and ‘White: Irish’ (2.79% and 3.26%. respectively). Allerdale has the highest proportion of White British residents (96.7%).

IndicatorLocal Authority with highest %% of total residents
Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh: BangladeshiTower Hamlets34.59
Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh: ChineseCity of London6.35
Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh: IndianLeicester34.3
Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh: PakistaniPendle25.59
Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh: Other AsianHarrow10.93
Black, Black British, Black Welsh, Caribbean or African: AfricanBarking and Dagenham16.04
Black, Black British, Black Welsh, Caribbean or African: CaribbeanLewisham10.61
Black, Black British, Black Welsh, Caribbean or African: Other BlackLewisham3.58
Mixed or Multiple ethnic groups: White and AsianRichmond upon Thames2.17
Mixed or Multiple ethnic groups: White and Black African Lambeth1.26
Mixed or Multiple ethnic groups: White and Black CaribbeanWolverhampton3.22
groups: Other Mixed or Multiple ethnic groupsIslington2.79
White: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or BritishAllerdale96.7
White: IrishIslington3.26
White: Gypsy or Irish TravellerSwale0.61
White: RomaHammersmith and Fulham0.81
White: Other WhiteKensington and Chelsea28.28
Other ethnic group: ArabWestminster7.56
Other ethnic group: Any other ethnic groupEnfield11.37

More information

Take a look at our Census 2021 public site to explore:

  • All the indicators used in this analysis
  • Other indicators from this data release including population by religion, national identity and household language
  • Indicators from previous Census 2021 data releases (demography and migration, UK armed forces)

As part of our offer in providing Census 2021 support and resources, we are offering a free data download for one topic summary for up to three areas of your choice. Find out more here.

Both the public site and the data downloads are powered by our Local Insight tool. If you need instant access to place-based data for the communities you care about, get in touch for a demo. 

 

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