Census 2011 – Second Release:
Ethnicity and identity
20% of GM’s population belong to a non-White British ethnic group, fractionally
higher than the rate for England & Wales, of which Pakistanis are the largest
ethnic group at 4.8% of the total population.
The largest absolute increase since 2001 occurred amongst the Pakistani
community, which has grown by 55,000. The largest percentage rise (336%)
occurred amongst Black Africans. Five other ethnic groups have more than
doubled in size. These changes mirror what has been observed nationally.
Manchester, and to a lesser extent Trafford, are amongst the most ethnically
diverse localities in England and Wales. The remaining 8 localities are more
ethnically concentrated than the national population.
More than twice as many non-UK born GM residents arrived in the UK during
this period as in the whole of the 1990s. But since 2010 rates of in-migration
have halved. This change is seen both in GM and nationally, but has been
especially noticeable in the northern boroughs.
There are 50,000 households in GM where no one speaks English as a first
language; 40% of these households are in Manchester.
Analysis of the first release results revealed that from mid-year 2001 to Census 2011
the population of Greater Manchester had increased by 6.6% (166,000). This
population growth has been mainly concentrated in the centre of the conurbation
(Manchester 19% and Salford 7.8%) but also to the south (Trafford 7.8%) and
northwest (Wigan 5.4% and Bolton 5.9%). Boroughs elsewhere in the conurbation
have seen lower rates of population growth of 2-3%.
The in-migration of young people and families to the conurbation core has been a
key factor in GM population growth. In addition, Greater Manchester is currently
experiencing a mini baby-boom, with an 18% increase in the conurbation’s 0-4
population since 2001 and nearly 1-in-4 of these births being to mothers born outside
the UK.
Size of GM ethnic populations, 2011
The 2011 Census asked respondents to state their ethnicity, choosing from 18
possible categories, an increase of two categories on 2001 with “Gypsy or Irish
Traveller” and “Arab” being the ethnic groups added this time.
White British (which includes English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish) is, by some
distance, the largest ethnic group within Greater Manchester, with 80% of GM
residents (2.14million) identifying themselves as such. The Pakistani population
(which includes people of Asian British heritage) is the next most numerous (4.8%).
Other White (2.6%), Indian (2.0%, including Asian British heritage), African (1.7%,
including Black British heritage), Irish (1.3%), Bangladeshi (1.3%, including Asian
British heritages), Other Asian (1.1%, including Asian British heritage) and Chinese
(1%, including Asian British heritage) are the other ethnic groups that account for at
least 1% of the population.
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Figure 1: Greater Manchester’s non-White British ethnic profile, 2011
The ethnic profile for Greater Manchester is similar to that of England & Wales. Two
areas are difference are: the Other White population accounts for 4.4% of the
England & Wales population compared to 2.6% in Greater Manchester; and the
Pakistani community account for 4.8% of Greater Manchester’s population compared
to 2% in England & Wales.
Different ethnic groups are concentrated within different Greater Manchester
localities. Figure 2 provides a high level summary of where different ethnic groups
live within Greater Manchester.
Figure 2: Authorities with the largest ethnic communities
More detailed data also reveals local concentrations of some of the smaller groups
such as Iranians (in Manchester), Kurds (Bolton and Manchester), Kashmiris
(Oldham and Rochdale), Indonesians, Vietnamese and Malaysians (Manchester),
Afghans (Manchester) and Latvians/Lithuanians/Estonians (Wigan and Manchester).
Manchester is the most ethnically diverse district in GM, with populations of 16 of the
18 possible categories accounting for at least 1% of the district’s total population.
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Indeed, Manchester is the only authority outside London with residents within each of
the 90 groups. Moreover, the ethnic populations in these 90 groups are more evenly
distributed in Manchester than in London, with no ethnic minority group in
Manchester accounting for more than 10% of the total population. Trafford is also
highly ethnically diverse, with residents from all bar three of the groups in the detailed
Census category listings. Other GM localities tend to have concentrations of specific
ethnic groupings in them.
Change in GM ethnic populations, 2001-‘11
Greater Manchester’s population has become more ethnically diverse since 2001. In
2001 the three most populous groups accounted for 93% of GM’s population,
compared to 87% in 2011. The White British count has decreased by 41,000 (-2%);
at the same time there have been large increases in the Pakistani (55,000, +73%),
Other White (36,000, +103%) and Black African (34,000, +336%) populations. GM’s
Chinese and Mixed race populations have also grown strongly since 2011, albeit
from relatively low bases. The doubling of the Other White group has occurred mainly
since the EU enlargement in 2004 and 2008. These results confirm that the
population growth has been driven by immigration and births to non-White British
There has been a large percentage decrease in GM’s White Irish (-8,000/-19.1%)
population. Deaths amongst post-war Irish emigrants exceeding births and inmigration from the Republic, plus the new category of traveller and the possibility of
emigrants’ offspring classifying themselves under a different ethnic grouping are the
most likely reasons for the reduced White Irish population. However, Manchester is
still home to the third largest ethnic Irish population (12,000) in England & Wales.
The changes from 2001-’11, both in terms of percentage rises (or decreases) in
populations of ethnic groups and the changes in proportion of the total composition of
the Greater Manchester population, are similar in pattern to what has happened
nationally. Between 1981 and 2011 the proportion of the population born outside the
UK has more than doubled from 6.6% to 13.8%, with the change in Greater
Manchester from 5.8% (150,400 residents) to 12.1% (323,000).
The 2011 Census looked at two key variables to develop a picture of international
migration to the UK: country of birth and passports held.
In 2011, 13% (7.5million) of the usual residents of England & Wales were born
outside the UK; in 2001 this was just 9% (4.6million). The most common non-UK
countries of birth for usual residents of England & Wales in 2011 were India, Poland
and Pakistan. Within Greater Manchester, 12% of usual residents (323,000) were
born outside the UK, compared to 7% in 2001. As at the national level, Pakistan,
India and Poland are the most common countries of birth outside the British Isles.
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Table 1: Country of birth of residents
GM %
UK %
GM Total
Middle East but not Iran
Northern Ireland
EU accession countries
but not Lithuania, Poland or Romania
Country of birth
England and Wales
The Census also asked when non-UK born residents arrived to live in the UK.
Overall the results in terms of rates for Greater Manchester are similar to that
calculated for England & Wales. The post war decades (1940s-60s) saw relatively
greater migration to GM in percentage terms of total present population, whilst
Greater Manchester’s industrial decline in the 1970s-90s meant migrants had a
greater propensity to settle elsewhere. There has been a slight reversal in recent
years. Of those born outside the UK and now resident in Greater Manchester, 53%
(171,000 people) arrived within the last decade. For England & Wales it is 50%.
In relation to the analysis, recent immigrants will form a larger proportion of total
immigrants partly because the immigrants from earlier decades are reducing in
number as the cohort ages and partly because some will have decided to return to
their country of origin or elsewhere in the intervening years.
Figure 3: Time period of arrival of those born outside the UK
As is the case nationally, immigration into GM boomed during the period 2004-2009.
More than twice as many non-UK born GM residents arrived in the UK during this
period as in the whole of the 1990s. Since 2010 rates of in-migration have halved,
both locally and nationally. The downturn in in-migration rates has affected GM
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localities to differing degrees. In boroughs such as Bury, Tameside, Wigan, Rochdale
and Oldham the tail-off since 2009 in arrivals is greater than in the City of
Manchester, Salford and Trafford.
The 2011 Census was the first time that information has been collected on household
language and English language skills.
It revealed that in almost 96% of England & Wales households, all or at least one of
the usual residents (this could include a child) speaks English as their main language
(compared to almost 95% in GM and 97% in the NW). Manchester (88%) is the only
GM local authority to show significant variation from the regional and national figures.
In 9% of UK households there is at least one resident whose main language is not
English (compared to 9% in GM and 6% in the NW). On this measure there is greater
variation at the GM locality level. For instance, 18% of City of Manchester
households (39,000) include somebody for whom English is not their main language.
The figure is 11% in Oldham (10,000) and 10% in Rochdale (8,000) and Bolton
(11,000). However, in Wigan, Tameside and Stockport the comparable rates are
below 5% of households.
The presence within a household of somebody for whom English is not their main
language does not automatically mean that this household will need extra support to
understand the services that are available to them. It may be that other household
members, for instance children, do speak English as their main language and hence
can support those family members who struggle to speak/understand English. A
greater demand for support may come from those households where no one speaks
English as their first language. Nationally this figure stands at 4.3%. The Greater
Manchester rate is slightly higher at 4.4% (50,000 households) but the rate is
significantly higher in the City of Manchester at 10.3% (21,000 households). Salford
is next highest at 5% (5,000 households), with Bolton and Oldham also just above
the national rate.
For further information on New Economy’s Census work please contact Mike
Data produced in this briefing have been reproduced with the permission of the
Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and are © Crown Copyright.
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