Demography of Wales

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Map of population density in Wales at the 2011 census.

Demographics of Wales include the numbers in population, place of birth, age, ethnicity, religion, and number of marriages.

Historical population[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1801 587,128 —    
1811 673,337 +14.7%
1821 789,271 +17.2%
1831 904,312 +14.6%
1841 1,045,958 +15.7%
1851 1,163,139 +11.2%
1861 1,286,413 +10.6%
1871 1,412,583 +9.8%
1881 1,604,821 +13.6%
1891 1,788,639 +11.5%
1901 2,012,876 +12.5%
1911 2,420,921 +20.3%
1921 2,656,474 +9.7%
1931 2,593,332 −2.4%
1951 2,596,850 +0.1%
1961 2,644,023 +1.8%
1971 2,731,204 +3.3%
1981 2,790,500 +2.2%
1991 2,811,865 +0.8%
2001 2,910,200 +3.5%
2011 3,063,456 +5.3%
2017 3,113,200 +1.6%
Source: [1] [2]
Year Population of Wales  
1536     278,000  
1620     360,000  
1770     500,000  
1801     587,000  
1851  1,163,000 
1911  2,421,000  
1921  2,656,000 
1939  2,487,000 
1961  2,644,023 
1991  2,811,865 
2011  3,063,456 
source: John Davies (1993). A History of Wales. pp. 258–59, 319. ; Census 2001, 200 Years of the Census in ... Wales (2001)

The population of Wales doubled from 587,000 in 1801 to 1,163,000 in 1851 and had reached 2,421,000 by 1911. Most of the increase came in the coal mining districts especially Glamorganshire, which grew from 71,000 in 1801 to 232,000 in 1851 and 1,122,000 in 1911.[3] Part of this increase can be attributed to the demographic transition seen in most industrialising countries during the Industrial Revolution, as death-rates dropped and birth-rates remained steady. However, there was also a large-scale migration of people into Wales during the industrial revolution.

Current population[edit]

The resident population of Wales in 2011 increased by 5% since 2001 to 3,063,456, of whom 1,504,228 are men and 1,559,228 women, according to the 2011 census results. Wales accounted for 4.8% of the UK population in 2011.[4]

The population in 1972 stood at 2.74 million and remained broadly static for the rest of the decade. However, in the early 1980s, the population fell due to net migration out of Wales. Since the 1980s, net migration has generally been positive, and has contributed more to population growth than natural change.[5]

Vital statistics[edit]

[6]

Average population (x 1000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Fertility rates
1940 39 319 35 585 3 734
1941 39 886 35 837 4 049
1942 43 130 31 360 11 770
1943 43 270 31 496 11 774
1944 46 730 30 987 15 743
1945 41 515 31 892 9 623
1946 47 566 31 547 16 019
1947 51 163 33 291 17 872
1948 47 175 30 095 17 080
1949 44 337 32 109 12 228
1950 42 776 33 295 9 481
1951 41 270 36 005 5 265
1952 41 388 31 005 10 383
1953 41 528 31 392 10 136
1954 40 256 32 822 7 704
1955 38 876 33 938 4 938
1956 40 915 32 438 8 477
1957 41 645 32 696 8 949
1958 42 460 32 642 9 818
1959 42 262 32 134 10 128
1960 44 147 32 715 11 432
1961 44 923 33 705 11 218
1962 45 382 33 781 11 601
1963 47 038 34 763 12 275
1964 47 502 32 746 14 756
1965 46 292 33 062 13 230
1966 44 866 34 643 10 223
1967 43 706 33 160 10 546
1968 44 207 34 892 9 315
1969 43 082 35 953 7 129
1970 42 487 34 998 7 489
1971 2 740 43 056 34 817 8 239 15.7 12.5 3.0
1972 2 755 39 955 36 000 3 955 14.5 13.1 1.4
1973 2 772 37 597 35 826 1 771 13.6 12.9 0.7
1974 2 785 36 206 35 634 572 13.0 12.8 0.2
1975 2 795 33 972 35 610 -1 638 12.2 12.7 -0.5
1976 2 799 33 738 36 345 -2 607 11.9 13.0 -1.1
1977 2 800 31 765 35 205 -3 440 11.3 12.6 -1.3
1978 2 804 33 308 35 963 -2 665 11.9 12.8 -0.9
1979 2 810 36 174 36 087 87 12.9 12.8 0.1
1980 2 815 37 357 35 149 2 208 13.3 12.5 0.8
1981 2 813 35 842 35 015 827 12.7 12.4 0.3
1982 2 804 35 720 35 152 568 12.7 12.5 0.2 1.86
1983 2 803 35 494 35 242 252 12.7 12.6 0.1 1.83
1984 2 800 35 861 33 652 2 209 12.8 12.0 0.8 1.83
1985 2 803 36 771 35 536 1 235 13.1 12.7 0.4 1.86
1986 2 811 37 038 34 712 2 326 13.2 12.3 0.9 1.86
1987 2 822 37 816 33 919 3 897 13.4 12.0 1.4 1.88
1988 2 841 38 824 33 981 4 842 13.7 12.0 1.7 1.91
1989 2 855 38 019 35 134 2 885 13.3 12.3 1.0 1.86
1990 2 861 38 866 33 963 4 903 13.6 11.9 1.7 1.91
1991 2 873 38 079 34 136 3 943 13.3 11.9 1.4 1.88
1992 2 877 37 523 33 792 3 731 13.0 11.7 1.3 1.87
1993 2 883 36 578 35 826 752 12.7 12.4 0.3 1.84
1994 2 887 35 366 33 824 1 542 12.2 11.7 0.5 1.79
1995 2 888 34 477 35 306 -829 11.9 12.2 -0.3 1.77
1996 2 891 34 894 34 802 92 12.1 12.0 0.1 1.81
1997 2 895 34 520 34 886 -366 11.9 12.1 -0.2 1.81
1998 2 899 33 438 33 905 -467 11.5 11.7 -0.2 1.78
1999 2 900 32 111 34 929 -2 818 11.1 12.0 -0.9 1.72
2000 2 907 31 304 33 501 -2 197 10.8 11.5 -0.7 1.68
2001 2 910 30 616 33 249 -2 633 10.5 11.4 -0.9 1.66
2002 2 923 30 205 33 314 -3 108 10.3 11.4 -1.1 1.64
2003 2 937 31 400 33 810 -2 410 10.7 11.5 -0.8 1.71
2004 2 957 32 325 32 317 8 10.9 10.9 0.0 1.76
2005 2 969 32 593 32 162 431 11.0 10.8 0.2 1.78
2006 2 985 33 628 31 083 2 545 11.3 10.4 1.1 1.82
2007 3 006 34 414 32 148 2 266 11.4 10.7 0.7 1.86
2008 3 026 35 650 32 066 3 584 11.8 10.6 1.2 1.91
2009 3 039 34 937 31 066 3 871 11.5 10.2 1.3 1.87
2010 3 050 35 952 31 197 4 755 11.8 10.2 1.6 1.92
2011 3 063 35 598 30 426 5 172 11.6 9.9 1.7 1.90
2012 3 074 35 238 31 502 3 736 11.5 10.2 1.3 1.88
2013 3 082 33 747 32 138 1 609 10.9 10.4 0.5 1.80
2014 3 092 33 544 31 439 2 105 10.8 10.2 0.6 1.78
2015 3 099 33 279 33 198 81 10.7 10.7 0.0 1.77
2016 3 113 32 936 33 047 -111 10.6 10.6 -0.0 1.74

Place of birth[edit]

According to the 2011 census 2.2 million (73%) of the usual residents were born in Wales, a reduction of two percent since 2001. In 2001, 590,000 (20%) of the population of Wales was born in England. By 2011, the proportion of English-born citizens of Wales had increased by one percent to 21%. In 2011, 27% (837,000) of the total population of Wales were born outside Wales, and of these immigrants 636,000 (76%) were born in England.[7]

Map showing the percentage of the population born in England according to the 2011 census.
Country of birth 2001[8] 2011[9]
Number % Number %
 Wales 2,188,754 75.39% 2,226,005 72.66%
 England 589,828 20.32% 636,266 20.77%
 Scotland 24,389 0.84% 24,346 0.79%
 Northern Ireland 7,851 0.27% 8,253 0.27%
 UK not otherwise specified 715 0.02%
 Republic of Ireland 12,718 0.44% 12,175 0.40%
Other  European Union Member Countries 23,694 0.82% 55,360 1.81%
Other  European Union Member Countries (joined pre 2001) 26,343 0.86%
Other  European Union Member Countries (joined post 2001) 29,017 0.95%
Other countries 55,851 1.92% 100,336 3.28%
Total 2,903,085 100.00% 3,063,456 100.00%

Below are the 5 largest foreign-born groups in Wales according to 2014 ONS estimates.[10]

Country of birth Estimated population, 2013 Estimated population, 2014 Estimated population, 2015
 Poland 20,000 22,000 23,000
 Republic of Ireland 11,000 12,000 10,000
 India 10,000 12,000 13,000
 Germany 11,000 11,000 11,000
 South Africa 7,000 6,000 6,000

Age[edit]

According to the 2011 census, some 563,000 of the population were aged 65 and over, an increase of 56,700 or one percent since 2001. As in 2001, six per cent (178,000) of the population in Wales were children under five, an increase of 11,300.[9]

Population pyramid for Wales as at the 2011 census.
Ages attained
(years)
Population  % of total
0–4 178,301 5.82
5–9 163,079 5.32
10–14 177,748 5.80
15–19 199,120 6.50
20–24 211,924 6.92
25–29 185,728 6.06
30–34 174,694 5.70
35–39 183,045 5.98
40–44 213,155 6.96
45–49 213,155 7.20
50–54 201,599 6.58
55–59 186,923 6.10
60–64 204,885 6.69
65–69 166,007 5.42
70–74 134,543 4.39
75–79 108,202 3.53
80–84 79,232 2.59
85–89 49,360 1.61
90+ 25,200 0.82
Source: 2011 Census: Usual resident population by five-year age group and sex, local authorities in the United Kingdom, Accessed 23 December 2012

Ethnicity[edit]

According to the 2011 census, 2.2 million (73%) of usual residents of Wales were born there, two percent less than in 2001. The change can be attributed to both international and internal migration. In 2001, 590,000 (20%) of the population of Wales was born in England. In 2011, this had increased by one percent.[9] Nearly 418,000 people identified themselves as Welsh in 2001.

The 2001 and 2011 census estimated the following ethnic groups:

Ethnic group 2001 population 2001 percentage 2011 population 2011 percentage
White: British 2,786,605 96.0 2,855,450 93.2
White: Irish 17,689 0.6 14,086 0.5
White: Irish Traveller/White Gypsy[note 1] 2,785 0.1
White: Other 37,211 1.3 55,932 1.8
White: Total 2,841,505 97.9 2,928,253

95.6

Asian or Asian British: Indian 8,261 0.3 17,256 0.6
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 8,287 0.3 12,229 0.4
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 5,436 0.2 10,687 0.3
Asian or Asian British: Chinese[note 2] 6,267 0.2 13,638 0.4
Asian or Asian British: Asian Other 3,464 0.1 16,318 0.5
Asian or Asian British: Total 31,715 1.1 70,128

2.3

Black or Black British: Caribbean 2,597 0.1 3,809 0.1
Black or Black British: African 3,727 0.1 11,887 0.4
Black or Black British: Other 745 <0.1 2,580 0.1
Black or Black British: Total 7,069 0.2 18,276

0.6

Mixed: White and Caribbean 5,996 0.2 11,099 0.4
Mixed: White and African 2,413 0.1 4,424 0.1
Mixed: White and Asian 5,001 0.2 9,019 0.3
Mixed: Other Mixed 4,251 0.2 6,979 0.2
British Mixed: Total 17,661 0.7 31,521

1.0

Other: Arab[note 1] 9,615 0.3
Other: Any other ethnic group 5,135 0.2 5,663 0.2
Other: Total 5,135 0.2 15,278

0.5

Total 2,903,085 100 3,063,456

100

Notes for table above

  1. ^ a b New category created for the 2011 census
  2. ^ In 2001, listed under the 'Chinese or other ethnic group' heading.
Source: Census 2001 Key Statistics - Urban area summary results for local authorities KS06 Ethnic group, Retrieved 18 June 2013
Source: Census 2011: Ethnic group, unitary authorities in Wales, Accessed 23 December 2012

Religion[edit]

According to the 2011 census, there has been a 14 percent decrease since 2001, when 2.1 million (72% of usual residents) stated their religion as Christian. It is the only group to have experienced a decrease in numbers between 2001 and 2011 despite population growth. The second largest response group for this question in 2011 was no religion. This increased from 538,000 (19%) of residents in 2001 to 983,000 (32%) in 2011, a larger rise than in any region of England.[9]

Religion 2001[11][12] 2011[11][13]
Number % Number %
Christianity 2,087,242 71.9 1,763,299 57.6
Islam 21,739 0.7 45,950 1.5
Hinduism 5,439 0.2 10,434 0.3
Buddhism 5,407 0.2 9,117 0.3
Sikhism 2,015 0.1 2,962 0.1
Judaism 2,256 0.1 2,064 0.1
Other religion 6,909 0.2 12,705 0.4
No religion 537,935 18.5 982,997 32.1
Religion not stated 234,143 8.1 233,928 7.6
Total population 2,903,085 100.0 3,063,456 100.0

Language[edit]

The 2011 census collected information about English and Welsh language proficiency. In 2011, 2.9 million (97%) of residents, age three and over, spoke English or Welsh. In a further 18,000 households, at least one adult spoke English or Welsh. In 22,000 households, no resident spoke either language. There were 562,000 (19%) residents, over age three, proficient in at least speaking the Welsh language. This was a reduction of approximately 2 per cent compared to 2001, though the method of analysis differed between the two censuses. There was also a 2% increase in those, over three years of age, who had no Welsh language skills.[9]

The proportion of respondents in the 2011 census who said they could speak Welsh.
Welsh language skills 2001 number (,000) 2001% 2011 number (,000) 2011% change (,000) change %
No skills in Welsh 2,008 71.6 2,168 73.3 160 1.7
Can speak, read and write Welsh 458 16.3 431 14.6 -27 -1.7
Can understand spoken Welsh only 138 4.9 158 5.3 19 0.4
Can speak but cannot read or write Welsh 79 2.8 80 2.7 1 -0.1
Other combination of skills in Welsh 84 3.0 73 2.5 -10 -0.5
Can speak and read but cannot write Welsh 38 1.4 46 1.5 7 0.1
Source: 2011 Census: KS207WA Welsh language skills, unitary authorities in Wales, Accessed 23 December 2012

The most common main languages spoken in Wales according to the 2011 census are shown below.[14]

Language Usual residents aged 3+ Proportion
English or Welsh 2,871,405 97.14%
Polish 17,001 0.58%
Arabic 6,800 0.23%
Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya) 5,207 0.18%
Tagalog/Filipino 2,749 0.09%
Portuguese 2,451 0.08%
Urdu 2,350 0.08%
French 2,073 0.07%
German 2,050 0.07%
Italian 1,694 0.06%
Other 42,061 1.42%

Marriage and civil partnership[edit]

In 2011 those who were married were still the largest marriage / civil partnership status group in Wales for residents aged 16 and over though since 2001 this group has decreased by 37,000 (over 5%). In contrast, single people (i.e. those who have never married or been part of a same sex partnership), have increased by 190,000 (6%) in the ten-year period. Civil partnerships, which were given legal status in 2005, appear for the first time in the census results. The number of widows, widowers and surviving partners is 20,000 lower than in 2001. The final groups, relating to separation and divorce / legal dissolution of civil partnerships, have both seen an increase in both numerical and relative terms since 2001.[9]

Status 2001 number (,000) 2001% 2011 number (,000) 2011%
Married 1,204 52.0 1,167 46.6
Single 650 28.1 840 33.5
Divorced / legally dissolved 201 8.7 242 9.7
Widowed or surviving partner 218 9.4 198 7.9
Separated 44 1.9 55 2.2
Civil partnership n/a n/a 5 0.2

Table key

  • Single = Single never married or registered a same-sex civil partnership)
  • Divorced / legally dissolved = divorced or formerly in a same-sex civil partnership which is now legally dissolved
  • Widowed or surviving partner = Widowed or surviving partner from a same-sex civil partnership
  • Separated = Separated (but still legally married or still legally in a same-sex civil partnership)
  • Civil partnership = In a registered same-sex civil partnership
Source: 2011 Census: KS103EW Marital and civil partnership status, unitary authorities in Wales, Accessed 23 December 2012

Miscellaneous data[edit]

  • Population density (2006): 143 people per square kilometre[15]
  • Fertility rate: 1.90 (2007)[16]
  • In 2010, 58% of births were outside marriage in Wales.[17] Currently, Wales and Scotland are the only countries of the United Kingdom where the majority of births are outside of marriage (51.3% of births in Scotland in 2012 were outside of marriage).[18] Wales (along with Scotland) also had the highest death rate (10.9 per thousand) in 2005.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "200 years of the Census in Wales" (PDF). Gov.uk. Retrieved 21 October 2017. 
  2. ^ "Population estimates". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 October 2017. 
  3. ^ Brian R. Mitchell and Phyllis Deane, Abstract of British Historical Statistics (Cambridge, 1962) pp 20, 22
  4. ^ "2011 Census: Population Estimates for the United Kingdom, 27 March 2011" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  5. ^ a b "Wales's Population: A Demographic Overview 1971-2005" (PDF). New.wales.gov.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  6. ^ "Vital Statistics: Population and Health Reference Tables". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  7. ^ "O2011 Census: Key Statistics for Wales, March 2011". Ons.gov.uk. March 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Census 2001 Key Statistics - Local Authorities KS05 Country of birth" (XLS). Ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "2011 Census: Key Statistics for Wales, March 2011" (PDF). Ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Table 1.3: Overseas-born population in the United Kingdom, excluding some residents in communal establishments, by sex, by country of birth, January 2014 to December 2014". Office for National Statistics. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.  Figures given are the central estimates. See the source for 95 per cent confidence intervals.
  11. ^ a b "2011 Census: Key Statistics for Wales, March 2011". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "Religion (2001 Census)". Data.gov.uk. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  13. ^ "2011 Census: KS209EW Religion, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  14. ^ "View:Wales". NOMIS. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Stats Wales". Statwales.wales.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  16. ^ "Live births by local authority 2007". Statistics.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  17. ^ "Detailed official data on Wales". Statwales.wales.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-17. Retrieved 2013-04-17.