Romanians in the United Kingdom

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Romanians in the United Kingdom
Total population
Romanian-born residents
83,168 (2011 Census)
427,000 (2019 ONS estimate)
Regions with significant populations
London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester
English, Romanian
Romanian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Protestant, Jewish
Related ethnic groups

Romanians in the United Kingdom refers to the phenomenon of Romanian people moving to the United Kingdom as citizens or non-citizen immigrants, along with British citizens of Romanian ancestry. The number of Romanian-born people resident in the UK has risen from 83,168 at the time of the 2011 Census to an estimated 427,000 in 2019.

History, population, and settlement[edit]

The small number of Romanians that first arrived in Britain were primarily Jews fleeing persecution during the Second World War.[1] The activities of the Romanian exiles started in 1941, through the effort of individuals such as Ambassador Viorel Tilea, Major George Emil Iliescu, and legal counselor Ecaterina Iliescu. They founded the Anglo-Romanian Refugee Committee (ARRC) in 1948. The Free Romanian Orthodox Church was active in parallel to the ARRC between 1950–55, under the leadership of Father Gildau, with a Parish Committee chaired by Mihai Carciog. This later transformed into the 'Romanian Orthodox Women's Association in the UK', which, in turn, became in 1956 the British-Romanian Association - also known under its Romanian name of ACARDA ("Asociația Culturală a Românilor din Anglia") - through the initiative of a representative group of individuals from the small Romanian community, including Ion Rațiu, Horia Georgescu, George Ross, and Leonard Kirschen, Marie-Jeanne Livezeanu, Gladys Wilson, Sanda Cârciog, and Mihai Cârciog.[2]

Ion Rațiu was the President of the British-Romanian Association between 1965 - 1985, followed by Iolanda Stranescu Costide between 1985 until its closure in 1996, the organisation having fulfilled its aim to restore a democratic regime in Romania. At the time of the 2001 Census, 7,631 Romanian-born people were residing in the UK.[3] In the 2011 Census, the Romanian-born population grew to 83,168 people throughout the UK, with 79,687 in England & Wales,[4] 2,387 in Scotland,[5] and 1,094 in Northern Ireland.[6] The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that, in 2012, 101,000 Romanian-born people were resident in the UK.[7] By 2019, this estimate had risen to 427,000.[8]

A particularly concentrated community exists in the Edgware-London suburb of Burnt Oak which has gained the nickname "Little Romania".[9]

Historical population
2004 14,000—    
2005 17,000+21.4%
2006 17,000+0.0%
2007 24,000+41.2%
2008 42,000+75.0%
2009 59,000+40.5%
2010 82,000+39.0%
2011 83,168+1.4%
2012 106,000+27.5%
2013 136,000+28.3%
2014 170,000+25.0%
2015 220,000+29.4%
2016 310,000+40.9%
2017 390,000+25.8%
2018 392,000+0.5%
2019 427,000+8.9%
Note: Besides for 2011 when a census of the population took place, figures are ONS estimates of the number of Romanian-born residents. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
Source: [10]
Evolution of the number of Romanian nationals living in the UK (2010-2017)[11]


Most Romanians belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church religion and there are several Romanian Orthodox churches throughout the UK, such as those in Aberdeen, Ballymena, Birmingham, Boston, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Caterham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Luton, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, or Poole.[12]

Social issues[edit]

Around 75 per cent of women trafficked to the UK are from Romania, with the majority being victims of sexual exploitation.[13] In October 2020, an online summit was held to discuss the problem. Ahead of the event, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on commercial sexual exploitation, Dame Diana Johnson, argued that "The industrial-scale sexual exploitation of Romanian women by UK men is a national scandal".[14]

Romanians in the UK have faced discrimination and xenophobic abuse, and were targets of some hate crimes following the Brexit referendum.[15] In early 2020, the Romanian government launched a campaign to attract emigrants back to Romania, suggesting that a million jobs awaited them.[16]

Notable Britons of Romanian descent[edit]



  1. ^ Cesarani, David (1994). The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry, 1841-1991. Cambridge University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-521-43434-8.
  2. ^ Mazurkiewicz, Anna (2019). East Central European Migrations During the Cold War: A Handbook. De Gruyter Oldenbourg. ISBN 978-3-11-060753-6.
  3. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  4. ^ "2011 Census: Country of birth (expanded), regions in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Country of birth (detailed)" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Country of Birth – Full Detail: QS206NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  7. ^ "2012; Estimated overseas-born population resident in the United Kingdom, by country of birth (Table 1.3)". Office for National Statistics. August 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Table 1.3: Overseas-born population in the United Kingdom, excluding some residents in communal establishments, by sex, by country of birth, January 2019 to December 2019". Office for National Statistics. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Dataset: Population of the United Kingdom by Country of Birth and Nationality". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  11. ^ Baciu, Paula (10 September 2018). "What brings Romanians to the streets". VoxEurop/EDJNet. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Parohii din Regatul Unit al Marii Britanii şi al Irlandei de Nord" (in Romanian). Mitropolia Ortodoxǎ Românǎ a Europei Occidentale şi Meridionale. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
  13. ^ Sleigh, Sophia (26 October 2020). "UK has become a 'pimp's paradise' for sex traffickers, senior MP warns as she calls for website ban". Evening Standard. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  14. ^ Weaver, Matthew (26 October 2020). "Priti Patel urged to stop UK being 'pimp's paradise'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  15. ^ Touma, Ana Maria (1 March 2017). "Romanians in UK Worried by Suspected Hate Attack". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  16. ^ Nurse, Rachel (31 January 2020). "Romania encourages migrants to return as Brexit strikes". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  17. ^ "About the Romanian Cultural Institute". Retrieved 24 March 2015.

External links[edit]