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White British
Total population
50,366,497 (2001)
85.7% of the UK population
Regions with significant populations
Throughout the United Kingdom

British English, Cornish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, others.


Primarily Christianity (75%).

White British was an ethnicity classification used in the 2001 United Kingdom Census. As a result of the census, 50,366,497 people (85.7% of the population) in the United Kingdom were classified as White British.[1] In Scotland the classification was broken down into two different categories: "White Scottish" and "Other White British"[2]. The classification did not appear in Northern Ireland where the comparable classification is described simply as "White".[3] As such, a single "White British" choice only existed in the census in one of the three census areas of the United Kingdom, England and Wales. The two subcategories used in the census in Scotland are grouped within "White British" for the purposes of UK-wide statistical analysis.

The 2001 census included the category "White Irish" as an ethnic classification in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). Non-British and non-Irish respondents in Great Britain could choose "White Other". Neither of these classifications appeared in Northern Ireland.

64.4 per cent of children born in England and Wales in 2005 were recorded as "White British".[4] The "White British" population is one of the few UK ethnic classifications that is decreasing in size, as well as percentage of the overall population.[5]




Population and distribution

The "White British" census classification have their ages more evenly distributed in their population pyramid and have the highest percent female population of all ethnic-based classifications. About 64% percent of the "White British" classification are between the ages of 16 and 64 while about 19% percent are under 16 and 19% percent are over 64. All other census classifications have a higher percentage of their population under 16 and a lower percentage over 64. Of those aged 65 or over, "White British" are 41% percent male and 59% percent female, making them have the lowest percent male population among all census classifications defined as "ethnic" in the census.[6]

As a general rule[citation needed], "White British" people make up the largest percentage of the population in rural areas, as well as a few large cities particularly in Northern Ireland, North East England, Wales and Scotland. London contains by far the lowest percentage of "White British" people of all the UK regions, where they make up less than half of the population in two of the 32 boroughs and some areas of others. The city with the lowest "White British" population as a percentage is Leicester. Slough is also comparable to Leicester, whilst not being a major city. Outside London, the highest densities of non-white classifications are found in Greater Birmingham, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, South Yorkshire, the larger cities of the East Midlands and satellite-towns of London, such as Luton. There are also significant numbers of non-white people in most major British cities, while the far northern, western and eastern rural fringes of the UK contain the largest percentage of "White British" people anywhere in the UK.

As of 2007, every UK region has a White British majority population, although over 40% of Greater London's population does not classify as White British. There are however seven London boroughs where White British individuals represent a minority of the overall local population (including Brent, Ealing, Hackney, Harrow, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Westminster).

UK Region White British population Percentage of local population Year
Northern Ireland <1,671,000
(White British was not an option
on the N.I. census. The above figure
is for all Caucasian people in the country, including White Irish)
99.2% 2001[7]
Wales 2,786,600 95.9% 2001[8]
Scotland 4,832,800 95.5% 2001[9]
North East England 2,402,300 93.7% 2007[10]
South West England 4,763,100 92.0% 2007
North West England 6,137,800 89.4% 2007
Yorkshire and The Humber 4,556,000 88.0% 2007
East Midlands 3,873,200 88.0% 2007
South East England 7,246,700 87.2% 2007
East of England 4,920,400 86.9% 2007
West Midlands 4,474,800 83.1% 2007
Greater London 4,361,800 57.7% 2007


"White British" have a lower self-employment rate and lower percent in managerial or professional occupations compared to all ethnic-based classifications. "White British" are about 13% percent self-employed with Irish 16% percent self-employed. "White British" with 27% percent have a slightly lower percent of their population in managerial and professional positions compared to all ethnic groups. Among "White British", Irish with about 35% have a greater percent of their population in managerial or professional positions.[11]

The census group "White British" have unemployment rates of about 4% percent with less unemployment for women. Smaller ethnic-based classifications who marked "Other White" have a slightly higher unemployment rate.[12] "White British" have an economic inactivity of 20% percent with higher rates for women. Among "White British", the smaller ethnic-based classifications who marked "Other White" have a slightly higher economic inactivity.[13]


Statistically, "White British" people in the United Kingdom are more likely to be Christian than other ethnic-based classifications. "White British" are 75% Christian, mostly Anglican, while the percentage for all "ethnic" groups is a little less than 75%. About 17% of the "White British" population reported having "no religion". The 17% percent figure for "no religion" is about the same for all groups. About 7% percent of the "White British" group declined to state any religion.[14]


"White British" people in the United Kingdom have an average household size smaller than comparable census groups, with an average of 2.3 people per household.[15] According to Dr. Erini Flouri, indigenous British boys have less social behaviour than British Indians who attended the same school in South England. The "White British" girls in the study have a similar social adjustment compared to British Indian girls. Unlike the British Indians in the study, "White British" children attribute their social adjustment difficulties to less parental involvement.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Demographics: British people
  2. ^ Equality and Human Rights Commission - home page
  3. ^ Microsoft Word - P3 - Ethnic Group - amended contact detailsNov06.doc
  4. ^ Moser, Kath; Stanfield, Kristina M. and Leon, David A. (2008). "Birthweight and gestational age by ethnic group, England and Wales 2005: Introducing new data on births". Health Statistics Quarterly 39: 22–31. 
  5. ^ Only two in three babies born in England and Wales are white British, Daily Mail
  6. ^ National Statistics. "Age/Sex Distribution". 2001. 18 August 2001.<>.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ National Statistics. "Employment Patterns". 2004. 18 August 2006. <>.
  12. ^ National Statistics. "Ethnicity and Identity". 2004. 18 August 2006. <>.
  13. ^ National Statistics. "Ethnicity and Identity". 2004. 18 August 2006. <>.
  14. ^ National Statistics. "Religion". 2001. 18 August 2006. <>.
  15. ^ National Statistics. "Households". 2001. 18 August 2006. <>.
  16. ^ Flouri, Erini. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Volume 10, No. 1. 2005. 19 August. 2006. <>.


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