East Asians in the United Kingdom

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East Asians and Southeast Asians in the United Kingdom
Total population
Over. 1,000,000
1.6% of the UK population

Chinese - 466,000[1]
Filipino - 150,000[2]
Hongkonger - 96,445[3]
Japanese - 63,017[4]
Vietnamese - 55,000[5]
Malaysian - 50,000[6]
South Korean - 44,749[7]
Singaporean - 40,000[8]
Thai - 36,000[9]
Burmese - 10,000[10]
Other East Asians - Unknown
All figures except the Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Thai communities are from the 2001 UK Census, with that country as a reported birthplace (i.e. doesn't include British born people of East Asian origin)

Regions with significant populations
London, Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, Edinburgh
Cantonese - 44,404
Mandarin Chinese - 22,025
all other Chinese - 141,052
Tagalog/Filipino - 70,342
Japanese - 27,764
Thai - 27,366
Korean - 15,218
Vietnamese - 15,168
Malay - 12,576
all other East Asian languages - 11,914
Number of speakers in England & Wales as a main language, of all usual residents aged 3 and over, from the 2011 census[11]
Buddhism, Christianity, East Asian religions, Islam, Non-religious, others
Related ethnic groups

East Asians in the United Kingdom are East and Southeast Asian living in the United Kingdom. They have been present in the country since the 17th century and primarily originate from countries and territories such as Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. They are called "East Asian" or "Oriental", although – dependent upon the context – the use of the term "Oriental" might be considered by some to be derogatory or offensive.[12][13] In the 2001 British census, the term Chinese or Other is used.

Population history[edit]

The first settlement of Chinese people in the United Kingdom dates from the early 19th century. In particular were port cities such as Liverpool and London; particularly the Limehouse area in East London. Today, most of the British Chinese are people or are descended from people who were themselves overseas Chinese when they entered the United Kingdom. The majority are from former British colonies, such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and also other countries such as Vietnam. People from mainland China and Taiwan and their descendants constitute a relatively small proportion of the British Chinese community. Hong Kong people in the United Kingdom are people from Hong Kong resident in the United Kingdom, or British nationals of Hong Kong origin. At the time of the 2001 British census, 96,000 people born in Hong Kong were residing in the UK, while 2009 estimates suggest that 78,000 Hong Kong-born people are resident in the UK.

The United Kingdom only had a small population of Filipinos until the late 20th century. The number started to grow in the 1970s after the passage of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act and its amendment in 1968 which curtailed extensive rights to immigrate to the UK for Commonwealth citizens. This Act had the effect of more immigration from non-Commonwealth countries, such as the Philippines.

The first Japanese settled in the 1960s, mainly for business and economic purposes. In recent decades this number has been growing; including immigrants, students, and businessmen. Parts of the United Kingdom, in particular London, have significant Japanese populations; such as Golders Green and East Finchley North London. There are approximately 100,000 British Japanese, mostly settled in London and the surrounding South East.

Large numbers of South Koreans began to settle in the U.K. in the 1980s, mostly near London; the highest concentration can be found in the town of New Malden, where estimates of the South Korean population range from 8,000 to as high as 20,000 people.[14][15][16] There are also a few North Koreans; they form the ninth-largest national group of asylum seekers, with a total of 850 applicants, including 245 applications in the first seven months of the year alone, thirteen times the number in all of 2007.[17]

The 2001 UK Census recorded 9,924 Burmese-born people residing in the United Kingdom.[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chinese in England in 2006". neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Profile of the Filipino Community in the UK". The Philippine Embassy London. 2007. Archived from the original on 16 July 2007. There is a significant Filipino population in the United Kingdom. Over the past twenty years, the number of Filipinos living and working in the UK has increased by more than 833% from roughly 18,000 in 1986 to more than 150,000 in 2006. Of thin [sic] number, about 70% live in Greater London area.
  3. ^ 2001 census
  4. ^ "Japan-UK relations". Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. October 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Vietnamese Community in Great Britain". Runnymede Trust. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  6. ^ "Born Abroad: Malaysia". bbc.co.uk. 2005. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  7. ^ 재외국민/단체 (Overseas citizens/groups). Seoul, South Korea: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Born Abroad: Singapore". bbc.co.uk. 2005. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  9. ^ Tripathi, Manote (19 June 2006). "Royal Anniversary: UK Thais throng to celebration". London: nationmultimedia.com. Archived from the original on 2 July 2006.
  10. ^ a b "Country-of-birth database" (XLS). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Main Language in England & Wales by Proficiency in English 2011". Office for National Statistics. 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  12. ^ Verkaik, Robert (13 May 2004). "Judges given new advice on political correctness". The Independent. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Language matters: the vocabulary of racism in health care". Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. 10 (1): 57–59. 2005. doi:10.1258/1355819052801769.
  14. ^ Yi, David (19 July 2008). "Livin' in London". KoreAm Journal. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
  15. ^ Benedictus, Leo (21 January 2005). "'This restaurant is a little bit of Korea brought into a very English town': Koreans in New Malden". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
  16. ^ Marlow, Peter (2006). "Occupational Health and Safety Factors in the Korean Community" (PDF). United Kingdom: Health and Safety Executive, Department for Work and Pensions. Retrieved 10 September 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ Jang, Yong-hun (25 July 2008). "英, 한국 국적 탈북자 추방 방침: RFA (U.K. North Korean refugees with South Korean nationality to be expelled: Radio Free Asia)". Yonhap News. Retrieved 10 September 2008.

External links[edit]