General Article Migrants in the UK: an overview

Topic Selected: Expat or Immigrant? Book Volume: 429

How many migrants are there in the UK? Where do migrants live? What countries do migrants to the UK come from? This briefing provides an overview of the UK’s foreign-born population.

By Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva and Dr Cinzia Rienzo

Key Points

  • In 2021, people born outside the UK made up an estimated 14.4% of the UK’s population, or 9.5 million people.
  • Compared to the UK born, migrants are more likely to be aged 26 to 64, and less likely to be children or people of retirement age.
  • London has the largest number of migrants among all regions of the UK, 3,346,000 – or 37% of the UK’s total foreign-born population.
  • In the year ending June 2021, India was – once again – the most common country of birth for migrants (896,000) in the UK. It regained the top place from Poland, after a number of Polish-born people left the UK. Poles still represented the biggest non-British nationality (696,000).
  • About half of non-EU migrants in the year ending June 2021 said they came to the UK for family reas...

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