|Over 120 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
(81.9% of population)
(59.0% of population)
(46.0% of population)
(30.6% of population)
(10.7% of population)
Also: Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Scots, Ulster Scots, Cornish, Manx, British Sign Language
|Predominantly Christianity (Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Roman Catholic etc.);Other|
The British diaspora consists of people of British ancestry and their descendants who emigrated from the United Kingdom. The largest concentrations of people of self-identified British descent in the world outside of the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories are found in New Zealand (59%), Australia (46%), Canada (31%), the United States (11%) and parts of the Caribbean. Additionally, countries with over 100,000 British expatriates include Spain, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, France, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates.
History of British diaspora
Up to the 19th century
After the Age of Discovery, the various peoples of the British Isles, and especially the English, were among the earliest and by far the largest communities to emigrate out of Europe. Indeed, the British Empire's expansion during the first half of the 19th century saw an extraordinary dispersion of the British people, with particular concentrations in Australasia and North America.
The British Empire was "built on waves of migration overseas by British people", who left Great Britain, later the United Kingdom, and reached across the globe and permanently affected population structures in three continents. As a result of the British colonisation of the Americas, what became the United States was "easily the greatest single destination of emigrant British", but in what would become the Commonwealth of Australia the British experienced a birth rate higher than anything seen before, which together with continuing British immigration resulted in a huge outnumbering of indigenous Australians.
In colonies such as Southern Rhodesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jamaica, Barbados, British East Africa, and the Cape Colony, permanently resident British communities were established, and while never more than a numerical minority, these Britons exercised a dominant influence upon the culture and politics of those lands. In Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, people of British origin came to constitute the majority of the population, contributing to these states becoming integral to the Anglosphere.
The British emigrated not only to parts of the British Empire, but they went to settle in large numbers in parts of the Americas as well, particularly in the United States and with sizeable numbers to Mexico, Chile and Argentina.
The United Kingdom Census 1861 estimated the size of the overseas British to be around 2.5 million. However, it concluded that most of these were "not conventional settlers" but rather "travellers, merchants, professionals, and military personnel". By 1890, there were over 1.5 million further British-born people living in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.
British diaspora today
According to The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, there were 13.1 million British nationals living abroad in 2004–05. These figures are taken from the consular annual returns from overseas posts. There is no requirement for UK citizens to register with British missions overseas, so these figures are therefore based on the most reliable information that can be obtained, e.g. from host government official statistics.
In terms of outbound expatriation, in 2009 the United Kingdom had the most expatriates among developed OECD countries, with more than three million British living abroad, a figure followed by Germany and Italy. On an annual basis, emigration from Britain has stood at about 400,000 per year for the past 10 years.
Living abroad as an expatriate can affect certain rights. In particular:
- British expatriates can only vote in general elections if they have been on a British electoral register at some point in the past 15 years. Otherwise, they are not eligible to vote.
- The British Mental Health Act 1983 rules that persons resident abroad do not qualify as "nearest relative" of a person who is ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
British people by country
List of countries and territories by population of self-reported British ancestry
|Country or Territory||British ancestry||% of population|
|Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha||1,408||25%|
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) estimates
This article needs to be updated.March 2015)(
In 2006, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a British think tank, published a report on the British diaspora, entitled Brits Abroad. The following table lists the estimated number of British people (defined as people who are British Subjects, such as British citizen, British National Overseas or British Overseas Citizen) living overseas in countries with more than 100 British people, according to the IPPR's report:
|Rank||Country||Number of British residents, 2006||Region(s)||Group(s)|
|1||Australia||1,300,000||Asia Pacific||Anglo-Celtic Australian, Cornish Australian, English Australian, Scottish Australian, Welsh Australian|
|2||Spain||761,000||Europe||Britons in Spain|
|3||United States||678,000||North America||British American, Cornish American, English American, Welsh American, Scottish American, Scotch-Irish American|
|4||Canada||603,000||North America||English Canadian, Scottish Canadian, Welsh Canadian, Cornish Canadian|
|7||New Zealand||215,000||Asia Pacific||British New Zealander, Scottish New Zealander|
|8||South Africa||212,000||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|9||France||200,000||Europe||Britons in France|
|10||Germany||115,000||Europe||British migration to Germany|
|13||UAE||55,000||Mid East||Britons in the United Arab Emirates|
|14||Pakistan||47,000||Asia||Britons in Pakistan|
|15||Singapore||45,000||Asia Pacific||Eurasians in Singapore|
|18||Netherlands||44,000||Europe||English in the Netherlands|
|20||China (including Hong Kong)||36,000note||Asia Pacific||Britons in China, Britons in Hong Kong, Shanghailander|
|21||Turkey||34,000||Mid East||Britons in Turkey|
|22||Kenya||29,000||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|25||Saudi Arabia||26,000||Mid East|
|28||Japan||23,000||Asia Pacific||Britons in Japan|
|31||Nigeria||16,000||Africa||British Nigerian, British diaspora in Africa|
|33||Egypt||14,000||Africa||Britons in Egypt|
|36||Trinidad and Tobago||11,000||Caribbean|
|37||Brazil||11,000||South America||English Brazilian, Scottish Brazilian|
|39||Gaza & West Bank||11,000||Mid East|
|44||Mexico||8,500||North America||British Mexican|
|46||Argentina||8,300||South America||English Argentine, Welsh Argentine, Scottish Argentine|
|49||Malawi||7,400||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|56||Zimbabwe||6,100||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|58||Ghana||5,900||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|61||Tanzania||5,500||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|63||Chile||5,200||South America||British Chilean, English Chilean, Scottish Chilean, Welsh Chilean|
|65||Botswana||5,000||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|66||Costa Rica||4,800||North America|
|67||Peru||4,600||South America||British Peruvian|
|69||Sri Lanka||4,400||Asia||Burgher people|
|76||South Korea||3,400||Asia Pacific|
|78||Antigua and Barbuda||2,800||Caribbean|
|82||Uganda||2,500||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|101||Gambia||1,500||Africa||British diaspora in Africa|
|110||British Virgin Islands||1,000||Caribbean|
|114||Papua New Guinea||940||Asia Pacific|
|116||Falkland Islands||930||South America||Falkland Islanders|
|120||St Kitts & Nevis||880||Caribbean|
|133||Myanmar (Burma)||460||Asia Pacific||Anglo-Burmese|
|134||Nicaragua||410||North America||English settlement in Nicaragua|
|135||El Salvador||390||North America|
|144||Madagascar||300||Africa||Britons in Madagascar|
|-||Turks & Caicos||<100||Caribbean|
|-||US Virgin Islands||<100||Caribbean|
|-||Central African Republic||<100||Africa|
|-||Cook Islands||<100||Asia Pacific|
|-||French Polynesia||<100||Asia Pacific|
|-||New Caledonia||<100||Asia Pacific|
|-||Norfolk Island||<100||Asia Pacific|
|-||North Korea||<100||Asia Pacific|
|-||Solomon Islands||<100||Asia Pacific|
^ Note: A different estimate puts China (incl. Hong Kong) ahead with a population of 3,750,000 British citizens, most of which are those in Hong Kong who have continued to possess British nationality, particularly the British nationals (overseas) status, which numbered 3.4 million, through their connection with the former crown colony (see British nationality and Hong Kong for further details).
- Richards, Eric (2004). Britannia's Children: Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland Since 1600. A&C Black. p. 255. ISBN 9781852854416.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- British ethnicity
- 2006 Census Data
- "Cultural Diversity". Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Canada Census
- "Selected social characteristics in the United States: 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 13 February 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Accessed 13 June 2014
- Statistics New Zealand (4 February 2009), QuickStats About Culture and Identity, stats.govt.nz, archived from the original on 19 February 2008, retrieved 18 May 2009
- "CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA, 2016". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on 12 August 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- "Census Profile, 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- "The other special relationship: the UAE and the UK - The National".
- Sriskandarajah, Dhananjayan; Drew, Catherine (2006). Brits Abroad: Mapping the scale and nature of British emigration. London: Institute for Public Policy Research. ISBN 1-86030-307-2.
- Ember 2004, p. 47.
- Marshall 2001, p. 254.
- Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 22 Mar 2006 (pt 15)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "Expatriates worldwide". JustLanded.com. 2009.
- "Working Abroad". whichoffshore.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 22 March 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "British citizens living abroad - About my vote, produced by The Electoral Commission". Aboutmyvote.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 January 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- Government of the Pitcairn Islands, Repopulation, retrieved 2 December 2018
- Falkland Islands Government, 2016 Census Report (PDF), stats.govt.nz, retrieved 2 December 2016
- "2016 Census QuickStats - Norfolk Island". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- "The World Factbook". CIA.
- Edward G. Archer (2006). "Ethnic factors". Gibraltar, identity and empire. Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-415-34796-9.
- "NORTH AMERICA :: BERMUDA". CIA.
- "AFRICA :: SAINT HELENA, ASCENSION, AND TRISTAN DA CUNHA". CIA.
- "Bahamas Population 2019". World Population Review.
- "The World Factbook". CIA.
- "Brits Abroad". BBC News – Special Reports. BBC. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
- "Historia de Chile, Británicos y Anglosajones en Chile durante el siglo XIX". Retrieved 11 January 2010.
- "The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons put the size of the British expatriate community in Hong Kong at over 3 million". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "The FCO had the figure for Hong Kong and China combined at 3,752,031 : Both figures cover all British nationals, including those who are not British citizens". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "Lords Hansard, 22 March 2007". UK Parliament.
- Ember, Carol R.; et al. (2004). Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures Around the World. Springer. ISBN 978-0-306-48321-9.
- Marshall, Peter James (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00254-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)