People And Places
Census results on ethnicity, marriage and families
The 2001 Census reveals the changing size and nature of the population in England and Wales, with a number of new questions shedding new light on aspects of our society.
The population of England and Wales shows a 2.5 per cent increase on mid-1991 figures, standing at 52.042 million. But the rise was not spread evenly: London and the East, South East and South West of England grew by around 5 per cent, but the North East and North West both showed a fall.
Married couples make up 50.7 per cent of the population of adults (aged 16 and over) and occupy around 45 per cent of households. However the percentage of married couples in the population is declining. In 1991 it was 55 per cent, in 1981 it was 64 per cent and in 1971 it was 68 per cent. This is in marked contrast to the increase in the percentages of single (never married) people and divorced people.
Just under one in ten households in England and Wales are lone-parent (9.6 per cent) and more than nine out of ten of these are headed by a woman. Two thirds of lone-parent households have dependent children and the remaining third contain only grown up children.
Almost 30 per cent of household in England and Wales contain dependent children and one in nine have children under-five. Of all households with dependent children, 59 per cent are married couple households, 11 per cent cohabiting couples and 22 per cent lone-parent families (London 26.2 per cent).
Eighty-seven per cent of the population of England and 96 per cent of the population of Wales gave their ethnic origin as White British. The proportion of minority ethnic groups in England rose from six per cent to nine per cent - partly as a result of the addition of Mixed ethnic groups to the 2001 Census form. In two London boroughs, Brent and Newham, the White group accounts for less than 50 per cent of the population.
There are 37.3 million people in England and Wales who state their religion as Christian. In England, 3.1 per cent of the population state their religion as Muslim (0.7 per cent in Wales), making this the most common religion after Christianity. 7.7 million people state they have no religion.
Further details on all these aspects are contained in area profiles, thematic maps and commentaries on our Census 2001 pages.