White British

White British
Total population
White British
Regions with significant populations
United Kingdom
England42,279,236 (79.8%) (2011)[1]
Scotland4,863,000 (91.8%) (2011)[2]
Wales2,855,450 (93.2%) (2011)[1]
Northern Ireland (including all White people reporting at least one of British/Irish/Northern Irish/English/Scottish/Welsh national identities)1,738,604 (98.28%) (2011)[3][4]
Predominantly British English
Also: Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Scots, Ulster Scots, Cornish, Manx, British Sign Language
Predominantly Christianity (mainly Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Roman Catholic etc.)[1] with smaller Mormon or Latter Day Saint, other Nontrinitarian, Eastern or Oriental Orthodox and nondenominational groups
Also: Minorities adhering to Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Islam (esp. Isma'ilism and Sufism), Buddhism, Wicca or other Paganism and others; Non-religious

White British is an ethnicity classification used for indigenous white British (English, Scottish and Welsh), Irish/Northern Irish and Gypsy/Irish Travelers or "other" white immigrant groups used in the 2011 United Kingdom Census. In the 2011 census, the White British population was 51,736,290, 81.88% of the UK total population (NB: This total includes the population estimate for Northern Ireland, where only the term 'White' is used in ethnic classification. National identity is listed separately in NI, where 40% classified themselves as British, making up a significant portion of the population, along with those specifying their national identity as Irish[4]).[1][2][3]

Census classifications

For the 2011 census, in England and Wales, the White self-classification option included a subcategory of "English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British".[5][6] In Scotland, the White category included "Scottish" and "Other British" options.[7] In Northern Ireland, the White British classification did not appear, the only choice being 'White'.[8]

The 2011 census for England, Wales and Scotland also included additional White ethnic classifications of White Irish, White Gypsy/Irish Traveller and White Other. There were calls for the 2011 national census in England and Wales to include an extra subcategory so people could identify their ethnic group as Cornish.[9][10]


Population and distribution

The White British census classification have their ages more evenly distributed in their population pyramid and have the highest per cent female population of all ethnic-based classifications. The following numbers were based on the 2011 census conducted in each country. In England and Wales, about 64 per cent of the White British classification are between the ages of 16 and 64 while about 18 per cent are under 16 and 19 per cent are over 64. All other census classifications have a higher percentage of their population under 16 and a lower percentage over 64. Of those aged 65 or over, White British are 8 per cent male and 10 per cent female, making them have the lowest per cent male population among all census classifications defined as "ethnic" in the census.[11]

In Scotland, about 65 per cent of the White British classification are between the ages of 16 and 64 while about 17 per cent are under 16 and 18 per cent are over 64. Of those aged 65 or over, White British are 8 per cent male and 10 per cent female, the same percentages as in England and Wales.[12]

In Northern Ireland, about 13 per cent of the White classification are between the ages of 16 and 24 while about 21 per cent are under 16 and 65 per cent are over 24. Of those aged 25 or over, white people are 32 per cent male and 34 per cent female.[13]

According to the 2011 UK Census results, White British people make up the largest percentage of the population in rural areas, such as Allerdale (99.4%) and Copeland (99.3%) in Cumbria, Ryedale (99.4%) in North Yorkshire, North Norfolk (99.2%) and North Devon (99%). Cities across the UK regions with high White British populations include Swansea (91.5%), Kingston Upon Hull (89.7%), Plymouth (92.2%), Darlington (93.7%), Belfast (96.4% - NI classification "white"),[14] Norwich (84.7%), Liverpool (84.8%) and Chelmsford (90.0%). The highest unitary authority with a White British proportion is Redcar and Cleveland (97.6%) followed by Northumberland (97.2%), Hartlepool and County Durham (both 96.6%). The highest county county is Lincolnshire (93%) followed by Nottinghamshire, Norfolk and Worcestershire, all above 92%. Within the London region, Havering has the highest White British percentage with 83.3%, followed by Bromley with 77.4%, Bexley with 77.3% and Richmond upon Thames with 71.4%.[1]

Since the 2011 UK Census was returned, London contains by far the lowest percentage of English and other White British people of all the UK regions, where they make up less than half of the population in 24 of the 32 boroughs, including: Newham (16.7%), Brent (18.0%), Ealing (30.4%), Harrow (30.9%), Tower Hamlets (31.2%), Westminster (35.2%) and Hackney (36.2%). Despite this, the White British population in London is still higher in numbers than the entirety of Wales or Northern Ireland, owing to London's high overall population. The city with the lowest White British population as a percentage is Leicester (45.1%) - also the only city below 50% without counting Westminster - while the lowest for unitary authorities is Slough (34.5%), followed by Luton (44.6%).[1] The local ward with the lowest percentage is Southall Broadway in Ealing (3.5%), followed by Southall Green in Ealing; Green Street East, Green Street West, and East Ham North, all in Newham, which are the only wards below five percent.

UK Region‡White British populationPercentage of local populationYear
Northern Ireland1,738,60496.0%2011[3]
North East England2,431,42393.6%2011[1]
South West England4,855,67691.8%2011[1]
North West England6,141,06987.1%2011[1]
Yorkshire and the Humber4,531,13785.8%2011[1]
East of England4,986,17085.3%2011[1]
East Midlands3,871,14685.4%2011[1]
South East England7,358,99885.2%2011[1]
West Midlands4,434,33379.2%2011[1]
Greater London3,669,28444.9%2011[1]

(Note: though since 2001 census data for White British and White Irish have not been collected as a combined figure under the category of 'White’, new tables which cross-reference ethnicity with National Identity provide a comparable population estimate).[3]

Economic status and education

According to official UK Government figures from 2016, the employment rate for White British people stood at 75%, with the overall employment rate in the UK standing at 74%.[15] UK Government figures also demonstrate that 31% of White British people work in professional and managerial occupations, higher than the Mixed (30%), Pakistani/Bangladeshi (27%) and Black (25%) groups, but lower than the Indian ethnic group (43%).[16]

At GCSE level, official UK Government statistics state that 63% of White British pupils attained A* to C grades in English and Mathematics in the 2015–16 academic year, higher than Black Caribbean (51%) and Pakistani (58%) pupils, but lower than Bangladeshi (67%), Indian (77%) and Chinese (83%) pupils.[17] According to a report by the Sutton Trust, "White working class pupils achieve the lowest grades at GCSE of any main ethnic group, with just a quarter of boys and a third of girls achieving 5 good GCSEs."[18]

At A-Level, in the 2015–16 academic year, 11% of White British pupils achieved at least 3 'A' grades at A-Level; the only major ethnic groups to achieve the same benchmark at a higher rate were Indian (14%) and Chinese (24%) pupils.[19]


Statistically, White British are more likely to be Christian than other ethnic-based classifications. According to the 2011 UK Census, White British are 64% Christian in England and Wales, mostly Anglican in England, while the percentage for all groups is about 59%. The percentage of White British who are Christians is lower in Scotland, at 55% (mainly Presbyterian there), whereas at least 54% of all Scots are Christian. The British country with the highest percentage is Northern Ireland, where white people are 94% Christian, while 93% of all usual residents are. About 27% of the White British population in England and Wales, and 36% in Scotland reported having "no religion". In Northern Ireland, the lowest percentage of white people who reported "no religion" in the census is about 5%. The 27% and 36% per cent figures for "no religion" are about the same for all groups. About 7% of the White British in England and Wales, and Scotland declined to state any religion.[20][21][22]

Percentages of White population

ReligionEngland and Wales[20]Scotland[21]Northern Ireland[22]
Gold Christian Cross no Red.svg Christianity63.93%55.08%94.23%
No religion27.30%36.12%5.27%
Star of David.svg Judaism0.50%0.11%Counted under
"Other religion"
Star and Crescent.svg Islam0.44%0.12%
Dharma Wheel.svg Buddhism0.17%0.12%
Om.svg Hinduism0.02%0.01%
Khanda.svg Sikhism0.02%0.01%
Not Stated7.24%7.00%Not available
Other religions0.38%0.27%0.50%

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q United Kingdom census (2011). "Table KS201EW - Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d United Kingdom census (2011). "Ethnic groups, Scotland, 2001 and 2011 Scotlands Census published 30 September 2013" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e United Kingdom census (2011). "Table DC2206NI - National Identity (Classification 1) by Ethnic Group". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b "2011 Census - Key Statistics for Northern Ireland". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. 11 January 2017.
  5. ^ 2011-2001 Census questionnaire comparability, Office for National Statistics, Accessed 28 December 2012
  6. ^ Census 2011 Wales Household Questionnaire 2011, Accessed 28 December 2012
  7. ^ Scotland's Census 2011 Household Questionnaire 2011 Archived 19 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed 28 December 2012
  8. ^ NISRA 2011 census Questionnaire, Accessed 28 December 2012
  9. ^ "People urged to say they are 'Cornish' on census". BBC News. 21 March 2011.
  10. ^ "2006 local govt abstracts". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  11. ^ United Kingdom census (2011). "Table CT0476 - Sex by age by country of birth by ethnic group - England and Wales". Office of National Statistics.
  12. ^ United Kingdom census (2011). "Table DC2101SC - Ethnic group by sex by age". National Records of Scotland.
  13. ^ United Kingdom census (2011). "Table CT0392NI - Country of birth by ethnic group by age by sex". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
  14. ^ United Kingdom census (2011). "Table DC2201NI - Country of birth by ethnic group". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  15. ^ UK Government, "Ethnicity Facts and Figures: Work, pay and benefits: Employment" Archived 21 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ UK Government, "Ethnicity Facts and Figures: Work, pay and benefits: Employment by Occupation" Archived 20 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ UK Government, "Ethnicity Facts and Figures: Education, skills and training: A* to C in English and Maths GCSE attainment for children aged 14 to 16 (Key Stage 4)" Archived 21 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed 17 July 2018.
  18. ^ The Sutton Trust, "White working class boys have lowest GCSE Grades as disadvantaged Bangladeshi, African and Chinese pupils show dramatically improved results", 10 November 2016. Accessed 17 July 2018.
  19. ^ UK Government, "Ethnicity Facts and Figures: Education, skills and training: Students aged 16 to 18 achieving 3 A grades or better at A Level" Archived 21 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 17 July 2018.
  20. ^ a b United Kingdom census (2011). "Table DC2201EW - Ethnic group and religion". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 14 January 2016. Size: 21 Kb.
  21. ^ a b United Kingdom census (2011). "Table DC2201SC - Ethnic group by religion". National Records of Scotland.
  22. ^ a b United Kingdom census (2011). "Table DC2248NI - Ethnicity and religion or religion brought up in". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

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