That's me in the corner
December 13, 2012 5:37 AM   Subscribe

The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts.

The headlines:

The UK has more immigrants, especially from India, Poland and Pakistan and most clearly in London and the South East. In 2011 13% (7.5 million) residents of England and Wales were born outside the UK; in 2001 this was 9% (4.6 million). Data

England and Wales have become more ethnically diverse. The White ethnic group accounted for 86.0% of the usual resident population in 2011, a decrease from 91.3% in 2001 and 94.1% in 1991. Data

Fewer people describe themselves as Christians. Between 2001 and 2011 people who identify as Christian fell from 71.7% to 59.3% and an increase in those reporting no religion rose from 14.8% to 25.1%. Data

Women have become more important in the labour market. The Census estimates that there are 602,000 more people who are employed than the Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicates. Most of the observed differences are for women, with the Census estimating that there are 538,000 more economically active women than the LFS and 272,000 fewer economically inactive women than the LFS. Data

Notable points:

The resident population in England and Wales was 56.1 million in 2011, a rise of 3.7 million from 52.4 million in 2001. Married people are now in the minority. The number of people renting from a private landlord has nearly doubled in 10 years. There are 8,259 Jedis in Wales and 176,632 across the UK. There are 1,893 Satanists, 2,400 Scientologists and 7,906 Rastafarians. Fewer than 1 in 5 people in Wales are Welsh speakers. Boston, Lincolnshire, has the highest proportion of Eastern Europeans. Oxford has the most agnostics. Four out of five people said they were in good or very good health. But Wales, where a quarter of adults are unqualified, dominates the poor health league. 84,000 people consider themselves Cornish, more than double the figure for 2001. More than 1m people identify as mixed race.

Some quirks of the survey:

Blackpool is the divorce capital. Kensington is a hub of miners. Rushmoor, Hampshire has the most Buddhists. More than a quarter of people in the Isles of Scilly do not have central heating, apparently. Islington has the most singletons. King's Lynn has a lot of caravans. People work hard in the Lake District. A third of people in Blaenau Gwent, southeast Wales do not travel abroad. Norwich is godless. People in South Buckinghamshire have the most cars.
posted by MuffinMan (18 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I too was going to post MuffinMan's link. Says so much about the UK that Kensington has more people working in the mining industry than Gateshead.
posted by DanCall at 6:00 AM on December 13, 2012

I was hoping for a bigger drop in religious belief, although I do think that many people still automatically put "C of E" on these forms without really thinking about it or meaning it. I would be genuinely shocked if more than about a third of us were real believers.
posted by Decani at 6:00 AM on December 13, 2012

This is an excellent post and summary. Thanks MuffinMan!

One thing about the ethnicities is that there are basically three categories in Britain: White, Asian, Black.

So dark Southern Europeans and people from the Middle East are "White". This means that confusingly for me, a dark-skinned person of Mexican descent (which basically means mixed Native American/European), I am White too.
posted by vacapinta at 6:10 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

From the BBC take on godless Norwich:
Keith Morris, editor of Network Norfolk, which reports on the Norwich and Norfolk Christian community, says his experience contradicts the census findings.
Says it all, really.
posted by ninebelow at 6:18 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

The growth in atheism surprised me, especially in Norwich (I lived there for a year, there are a crapload of churches). Census data has been displaying increasing secularisation for a few decades now (I think). Essentially, most Britons view themselves as Christian, but do not attend Church save for Christmas and Easter. The swing toward no religion at all is a large one.

In case the international readership were not aware, in 2001 there was a viral movement for writing down 'Jedi' in the freeform box for 'other' religious affiliation. If I remember correctly, if a certain percentage of the population writes down the same 'other' religion, then it has to be included as a tick box option the next time around. For some, this was the equivalent of spoiling a ballot paper - it was a way of expressing distaste at being asked to disclose religion. For most, though, it was for a larf. As the HuffPo article says, in 2001 Jedi was the fourth largest religion in Britain, but obviously the Census did not make it a tick-box option.
posted by dumdidumdum at 6:31 AM on December 13, 2012

I'm not especially surprised about the "godlessness" of Norwich. I grew up nearby and it's always been surprisingly liberal (the city has 14 Green Party councillors, making it one of the largest Green Party hubs in England). I think it might have something to do with the influx of students coming to the universities and people from London moving out to the countryside (the Norwich-London commute is only an hour and a half by train, although it's a PITA).

(I lived there for a year, there are a crapload of churches).

Heh, one of my favourite Norwich sayings is that within the city walls there's a pub and a church for "every day of the week".
posted by fight or flight at 6:46 AM on December 13, 2012

What, like, seven?
posted by MuffinMan at 6:48 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Christ, the Jedi people were a bunch of teeds.

It would make sense if atheism was as controversial a topic here as it is in the US, for example (by and large in the UK issues such as abortion are seen as moral rather than religious issues, where one has a personal rather than political view) but nobody actually cares here unless they're one of those swivel-eyed anti-Muslim people that post below the line comments on the Daily Mail site.

Nobody thinks you're funny and clever for claiming to be an adherent of a made-up race in a thirty-year old sci-fi blockbuster. You could have just written 'none' and then gone back to quoting Monty Python in the pub to your long-suffering girlfriend as she tightly smiles at the thirteenth request for 'flacons of foaming ale' for your next round.
posted by mippy at 6:51 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Percentage of Jedi knights in England and Wales. 6,242 people also subscribe to the Heavy Metal religion.
posted by elgilito at 6:59 AM on December 13, 2012

Yes, but how many worship the false god Baal?
posted by mippy at 7:11 AM on December 13, 2012

(Note that this is the census for England and Wales. It does not include Scotland or Northern Ireland. This is important: for example, abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland because of a greater role of religion in politics. This does not apply to this census.)

"Between 2001 and 2011 there has been a decrease in people who identify as Christian (from 71.7 per cent to 59.3 per cent) and an increase in those reporting no religion (from 14.8 per cent to 25.1 per cent). There were increases in the other main religious group categories, with the number of Muslims increasing the most (from 3.0 per cent to 4.8 per cent)."

Other religions are doing fine: it's only Christianity that is declining. (And Jedi Knight, but it's not old enough to count as a religion yet.) I'm really not sure that is the most interesting thing in the census!
posted by alasdair at 8:40 AM on December 13, 2012

84,000 Cornish is a whopping figure. Look out for that to come into play in a few years when Scotland votes to leave the UK. The thought of a breakaway Cornwall is almost crazy now, but it will be part of a new reality soon.
posted by Jehan at 8:43 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not going to happen, Jehan, despite the rhetoric, public support and intense lobbying from Lisa Simpson. Cornwall is so dependent economically it's a non-starter. The momentum for Cornish belief in independence was historically based on having a strong economy based on tin exports. I suspect now it is based on the belief that an autonomous Cornwall could manage its own economy better and huge resentment at the impact of second homes on local housing stock. Before it came to a head, the UK government could apply economic pressure to kill the proposals, or economic relief and/or regulation on second homes to remove support. The latter two options, I suspect, are part of the Cornish Independence movement's strategy.

The language is officially dead, by the by. Cornwall would also probably be forced to apply to join the EU and given that there are separatist movements in Belgium, Spain etc the UK could conceivably gather significant support to make Cornwall's entry into the EU a non-starter.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:13 AM on December 13, 2012

Not to mention that a huge fraction of the Cornish population are not native born Kernewek so may not be so keen on leaving the union. The ones who do identify as Cornish do not necessarily have any problem with identifying as English also.

Heh, one of my favourite Norwich sayings is that within the city walls there's a pub and a church for "every day of the week".

I think the phrase is a pub for every day and a church for every Sunday.
posted by biffa at 9:39 AM on December 13, 2012

Cornwall is one of those places where those who are born and grow up there can rarely afford to buy homes, because second-home buyers have driven up the costs to an extent that the local economy can't pay enough to allow a resident to buy their own home. That probably does a lot of damage in terms of creating a county that could sustain itself in the event of independence.

Much fewer people can afford to buy homes in London than in the previous census, and it's becoming common now for people even on above-average incomes to not just rent but to flatshare well into their thirties, as the cost of renting is becoming as unsustainable as buying, but part of this is because people have moved to where the jobs are and housing prices reflects this. I'm not so sure this is the case in Cornwall which is heavily dependent on tourism these days.
posted by mippy at 9:47 AM on December 13, 2012

Like I said, it's going to take a lot of getting used to. The idea of Cornwall asking for greater autonomy, or even seeking to build a new nation, seems crazy today but will be part of the norm tomorrow. I means, folk scoffed at Welsh becoming independent, and even though such a thing is still some way off, it is wholly reasonable to talk about as a possibility. Bear in mind that Cornwall has a bigger population than Iceland, Malta, and Luxembourg, so it's not impossible to have a country on that scale. The economy is a worry, but it's something that an independent country would be better at handling than otherwise.
The language is officially dead, by the by.
The UN's remarks didn't acknowledge the situation on the ground, and the category was shifted to "critically endangered" a little later. Even so, Cornish has made huge leaps on the last ten years. It now has a single standard, for one. I don't know if any language statistics have been recorded on the new census, but it would be interesting to see.
Not to mention that a huge fraction of the Cornish population are not native born Kernewek so may not be so keen on leaving the union. The ones who do identify as Cornish do not necessarily have any problem with identifying as English also.
Well, it wouldn't be leaving the union so much as leaving England. The thought that Cornwall isn't "English" has been growing for some time now, and will soon stick in folks' minds. How that will unfold is anybody's guess, but bear in mind that Cornwall now has a single council and avoids calling itself a "county". It's a small thing, but will grow into something bigger.
posted by Jehan at 10:30 AM on December 13, 2012

Where does Cornwall avoid calling itself a county? I've never heard of that and I've just come from a meeting with various councillors and council reps. The council sits in County Hall!

You don't address the point that many inhabitants aren't Cornish, and most incomers will be English and with little interest in independence.

Regarding the language, there was a debate a few years ago about a budget for facilitating its usage and the general response was pretty critical, most locals seemed to think it not money well spent.
posted by biffa at 11:23 AM on December 13, 2012

You don't address the point that many inhabitants aren't Cornish, and most incomers will be English and with little interest in independence.
It's not for me to address. I'm simply saying that support for Cornwall is growing, which is reflected in the census results, and we should get used to that. Even if settlers manage to outvote natives in Cornwall, it doesn't mean that there's no movement for greater autonomy.
posted by Jehan at 12:53 PM on December 13, 2012

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