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The 2011 census and its impact on Latin Americans

“The challenge is clearly on: to accomplish the inclusion of Latinos in the official format of the ONS in the next census”.

Claudio Chipana Gutiérrez

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has published the results of the 2011 census for England and Wales.

The population amounted to 56.1 million people: 7% more than in 2001; its increase was mainly due to migration, which was in all regions.

The overall ‘White’ population decreased to 86% compared to 91% in 2001; in 2011, the White population is at 48.2 million, of which 45.1 million are White Brits.

Ethnically speaking, London is the most diverse city, Wales less so. In London, the White British population decreased from 58% in 2001 to 45% in 2011; 3.7 million of the total population of 8.2 million people are White British. For the first time, the White British population in a British city is less than 50%.

Another fact is that, the number of Christians has fallen by 13% to 59%; the non-religious have increased by 10% to 25% of the total, whilst Muslims have increased by 3% to 5% of the total.

With respect to ethnic minorities, Asians (Pakistanis, Hindus, Bengalis and others) represent 6.8% of the population, compared with 4.4% in 2001; the Black population is at 3.4% (2.2% in 2001); Chinese are at 0.7% (0.4% in 2001); Arabs 0.4% and ‘other’ ethnic minorities make up 0.06% (0.04% in 2001).

On the other hand, there was an increase in British residents born outside the UK from 4.6 million in 2001 to 7.5 million, which means 1 out of every 8 people.

Clearly, the Latin American population continues to be invisible in national statistics. In reality, there is no compelling reason for this to be the case.

According to 2011’s ‘No Longer Invisible’, the Latin population, including Brazilians, is nationally estimated at 186, 500 people: between 0.3% and 0.4% of the population. This is reason enough for the Latin American community to be included in official statistics at a national and local level! London harbours more than 60% of total Latin residents in the UK, therefore, their contribution to the capital and country’s economy and cultural diversity is something that should be recognized.

Latin American Recognition Campaign (LARC) and other groups in the community have been striving for such inclusion and recognition, encouraging Latinos to participate in the census and to ethnically identify themselves as Latin Americans.

Certainly, the significant achievement of the recent official recognition of the Latin community in the borough of Southwark in London should be highlighted. The Latin population tends to grow along with other ethnic minorities, and the growing immigration rate of Latinos with European passports, due to the crisis in the continent, is evident.

The challenge is clearly on: to accomplish the inclusion of Latinos in the official format of the ONS in the next census, and, at the same time, continue to make progress in the recognition of Latin Americans in the various London boroughs with a strong Latin presence.

Few conservatives – and certainly, none who rant about multiculturalism – will be glad to know that London has become the first British city with a white minority, but, as CP. Scott (The Guardian) would say: “facts are sacred”.

(Translated by Caroline Gutierrez – Email:

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