White British is an ethnicity classification used in the 2011 United Kingdom Census. As a result of the 2011 census the White British population stood at 51,736,290 (81.9% of the UK total population).[1][2][3] (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])

Census classifications

For the 2011 census, in England and Wales, the White British self-classification option included the subcategories of: White English, White Welsh, White Scottish and White Northern Irish.[6][7] In Scotland, the White British category was broken down into two different categories: White Scottish and Other White British.[8] In Northern Ireland, the White British classification did not appear, the only choice being 'White'.[9]

The 2011 census for England, Wales and Scotland also included additional White ethnic classifications of White Irish, 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.[10][11]


Population and distribution

The White British census classification have their ages more evenly distributed in their population pyramid and have the highest percent female population of all ethnic-based classifications. About 64% percent of the White British classification are between the ages of 16 and 64 while about 19% percent are under 16 and 19% percent 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 41% percent male and 59% percent female, making them have the lowest percent male population among all census classifications defined as "ethnic" in the census.[12]

According to the 2011 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, Wales (91.5%), Plymouth (92.2%), Darlington, England (93.7%), Belfast (96.4% - NI classification "white"),[13] Norwich, England (84.7%), Chelmsford, England (90.0%) and Lichfield, England (94.6%). Within London, Havering (83.3%) has the highest White British percentage, followed by Bromley (77.4%), Bexley (77.3%) and Richmond upon Thames (71.4%).[1]

As at 2011 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%). The city with the lowest White British population as a percentage is Leicester (45.1%). The Unitary Authority with the lowest White British percentage is Slough (34.5%), followed by Luton (44.6%).[1]

UK Region ‡White British population Percentage of local population Year
Northern Ireland 1,738,604 96.0% 2011[3]
Scotland 4,863,000 91.9% 2011[2]
Wales 2,855,450 93.2% 2011[1]
North East England 2,431,423 93.6% 2011[1]
South West England 4,855,676 91.8% 2011[1]
North West England 6,141,069 87.1% 2011[1]
Yorkshire and The Humber 4,531,137 85.8% 2011[1]
East of England 4,986,170 85.3% 2011[1]
East Midlands 3,871,146 85.4% 2011[1]
South East England 7,358,998 85.2% 2011[1]
West Midlands 4,434,333 79.2% 2011[1]
Greater London 3,669,284 44.9% 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]


Based on data published in 2004 derived from the 2001 UK Census, the unemployment rates for White British, at about 4%, were below those for other ethnic groups, including the Indian ethnic group at 7%, and other ethnic minority groups which were around 15%. The proportion of White British who were self-employed - around 13% - was similar to the level in the Indian (14%) ethnic group, significantly lower than the proportions in the Pakistani (22%) and Chinese (18%) groups, and higher than in the Black Caribbean and Bangladeshi ethnic groups (both 10%), and Black Africans (6%). A higher proportion of White British (12%) worked in professional occupations, compared with the Black Caribbean group (8%); the proportion was comparable to that in the Black African, Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups (both 10%), but lower than in the Indian and Chinese ethnic groups (about 18%).[14]


Statistically, White British are more likely to be Christian than other ethnic-based classifications. According to the 2011 Census, White British are 64% Christian, mostly Anglican in England (or Presbyterian in Scotland), while the percentage for all groups is about 59%. About 27% of the White British population reported having "no religion". The 27% percent figure for "no religion" is about the same for all groups. About 7% percent of the White British declined to state any religion.[15]

Religion Percentage of White population in England and Wales[15]
Gold Christian Cross no Red.svg Christianity 63.93%
No religion 27.30%
Star of David.svg Judaism 0.50%
Star and Crescent.svg Islam 0.44%
Dharma Wheel.svg Buddhism 0.17%
Om.svg Hinduism 0.02%
Khanda.svg Sikhism 0.02%
Not Stated 7.24%
Other religions 0.38%
Total 100%


In 2001, the average size of 2.3 people in White British households is tied for the second smallest of all ethnic groups.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Accessed 13 June 2014
  2. ^ a b c d Table 2 - Ethnic groups, Scotland, 2001 and 2011 Scotlands Census published 30 September 2013, Accessed 13 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d National Identity (Classification 1) by Ethnic Group DC2206NI (administrative geographies), Accessed 13 June 2014
  4. ^ a b "2011 Census - Key Statistics for Northern Ireland". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. 11 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Table DC2206NI: National identity (classification 1) by ethnic group". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  6. ^ 2011-2001 Census questionnaire comparability, Office for National Statistics, Accessed 28 December 2012
  7. ^ Census 2011 Wales Household Questionnaire 2011, Accessed 28 December 2012
  8. ^ Scotland's Census 2011 Household Questionnaire 2011, Accessed 28 December 2012
  9. ^ NISRA 2011 census Questionnaire, Accessed 28 December 2012
  10. ^ Fight goes on to include Cornish ethnicity and language in Census 2011 options [dead link]
  11. ^ "2006 local govt abstracts". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on May 5, 2009. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  12. ^ National Statistics. "Age/Sex Distribution". 2001. 18 August 2001.<http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget777.246.6840>
  13. ^ Table DC2201NI: Country of Birth by ethnic Group 2011 Census NISRA, Retrieved 8 October 2013
  14. ^ Focus on Ethnicity and Religion March 2005 National Statistics, Accessed 30 March 2012
  15. ^ a b DC2201EW - Ethnic group and religion (Excel sheet 21Kb) ONS. 2015-09-15. Retrieved on 2016-01-14.
  16. ^ National Statistics. "Households". 2001. 18 August 2006. <http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=458>.