White British

This article is about the United Kingdom census classification. For the classification of other white people in the United Kingdom, see Other White (United Kingdom ethnicity category). For the cattle breed, see British White.
White British
Total population
(White British
Regions with significant populations
 United Kingdom
England England 42,279,236 (79.8%) (2011)[1]
Scotland Scotland 4,863,000 (91.8%) (2011)[2]
Wales Wales 2,855,450 (93.2%) (2011)[1]
Northern Ireland (including all White people reporting at least one of British/Irish/Northern Irish/English/Scottish/Welsh national identities) 1,738,604 (98.28%) (2011)[4][5]
Predominantly English
Also: Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scots, Ulster Scots, Cornish

White British is an ethnicity classification used in the 2011 United Kingdom Census. As a result of the 2011 census the White British population was estimated 51,736,290 (81.9% of the UK total population).[1][2][3] (NB. This total includes the population estimate for Northern Ireland, where only the term 'White' is used in ethnic classification. National identity is listed separately in NI, where 40% classified themselves as British, making up a significant portion of the population, along with those specifying their national identity as Irish.[4])

Census classifications

For 2011, in England and Wales, the White British self-classification option included the subcategories of: White English, White Welsh, White Scottish and White Northern Irish.[6][7] The 2011 questionnaire for Scotland the White British category was broken down into two different categories: White Scottish and Other White British.[8] For Northern Ireland in 2011 the White British classification did not appear, the only choice being ‘White’.[9]

The 2011 census for England, Wales and Scotland also included additional White ethnic classifications of White Irish, Gypsy or Irish Traveller and White Other.


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.[10]

According to the 2011 Census results, White British people make up the largest percentage of the population in rural areas, such as Allerdale (99.4%) and Copeland (99.3%) in Cumbria, Ryedale (99.4%) in North Yorkshire, North Norfolk (99.2%) and North Devon (99%). Cities across the UK regions with high White British populations include Swansea (91.5%), Plymouth (92.2%), Darlington (93.7%), Belfast (96.4% - NI classification "white"),[11] Norwich (84.7%), Chelmsford (90.0%) and Lichfield (94.6%). Within London, Havering (83.3%) has the highest White British percentage, followed by Bromley (77.4%), Bexley (77.3%) and Richmond upon Thames (71.4%).[1]

As at 2011 London contains by far the lowest percentage of English and other White British people of all the UK regions, where they make up less than half of the population in 24 of the 32 boroughs, including Newham (16.7%), Brent (18.0%), Ealing (30.4%), Harrow (30.9%), Tower Hamlets (31.2%), Westminster (35.2%) and Hackney (36.2%). The city with the lowest White British population as a percentage is Leicester (45.1%). The Unitary Authority with the lowest White British percentage is Slough (34.5%), followed by Luton (44.6%).[1]

UK Region ‡White British population Percentage of local population Year
Northern Ireland 1,738,604 96.0% 2011[3]
Scotland 4,863,000 91.9% 2011[2]
Wales 2,855,450 93.2% 2011[1]
North East England 2,431,423 93.6% 2011[1]
South West England 4,855,676 91.8% 2011[1]
North West England 6,141,069 87.1% 2011[1]
Yorkshire and The Humber 4,531,137 85.8% 2011[1]
East of England 4,986,170 85.3% 2011[1]
East Midlands 3,871,146 85.4% 2011[1]
South East England 7,358,998 85.2% 2011[1]
West Midlands 4,434,333 79.2% 2011[1]
Greater London 3,669,284 44.9% 2011[1]

(Note:- though since 2001 census data for White British and White Irish have not been collected as a combined figure under the category of ‘White’, new tables which cross-reference ethnicity with National Identity provide a comparable population estimate).[3]


Based on data published in 2004 derived from the 2001 UK Census, the unemployment rates for White British, at about 4%, were below those for other ethnic groups, including the Indian ethnic group at 7%, and other groups which were around 15%. The proportion of White British who were self-employed - around 13% - was similar to the level in the Indian (14%) ethnic group, significantly lower than the proportions in the Pakistani (22%) and Chinese (18%) groups, and higher than in the Black Caribbean and Bangladeshi ethnic groups (both 10%), and Black Africans (6%). A higher proportion of White British (12%) worked in professional occupations, compared with the Black Caribbean group (8%); the proportion was comparable to that in the Black African, Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups (both 10%), but lower than in the Indian and Chinese ethnic groups (about 18%).[12]


Statistically, White British are more likely to be Christian than other ethnic-based classifications. According to the 2011 Census, White British are 64% Christian, mostly Anglican (or Presbyterian in Scotland), while the percentage for all groups is about 59%. About 27% of the White British population reported having "no religion". The 27% percent figure for "no religion" is about the same for all groups. About 7% percent of the White British declined to state any religion.[13]

Religion Percentage of White population in England and Wales[13]
Christianity 63.93%
No religion 27.30%
Judaism 0.50%
Islam 0.44%
Buddhism 0.17%
Hinduism 0.02%
Sikhism 0.02%
Not Stated 7.24%
Other religions 0.38%
Total 100%


In 2001, the average size of 2.3 people in White British households is tied for the second smallest of all ethnic groups.[14]

See also


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