Londoners born outside the UK

Date 31 August 2017
Date updated 19 January 2018

Only a limited amount of data about London includes information about people's migration status. However, on this site we do have indicators about international immigration and emigration to/from London, data about rates of worklessness and some information about rough sleepers who are migrants. 

Net migration into London increased to 60,000 in 2014/2015. This is the highest figure since 2010/2011, and reflects international immigration of almost 140,000. (Please note these figures pre-date the EU referendum.) However, the greatest driver of London's population growth remains an increased birth rate and reduce death rate, rather than migration. 

38% of Londoners were not born in the UK, compared to 11% in the Rest of England. The highest proportion of  Londoners born overseas are in Inner West, Outer West and Northwest London.

Education data does not reflect children's migration status but it does record whether children speak English as a first language, which may reflect their parents' migration. 40% (and 51% in Inner London) of London's pupils do not speak English as a first language. It is one of London's successes that pupils who do not speak English as their first language have similar GCSE attainment to those who do. Find out more here.

The likelihood of being in paid work varies hugely by country of birth, often reflecting whether people are economic migrants or seeking sanctuary.  Men born in Romania have the lowest rates of worklessness (4%) compared to 37% of men born in Somalia. For women, those most likely to be in paid work are born in Lithuania; least likely were born in Afghanistan. Find out more here

Rough sleeping in London has doubled since 2010, with a notable rise among Londoners from Central and Eastern Europe - from 300 in 2007 to 2,900 by 2015/16. The figure dropped to 2,300 in 2016/17, the first fall in over a decade. 

 Some very vulnerable migrants - such as asylum-seekers, undocumented migrants or trafficked people - are extremely unlikely to be visible in the figures we cover here. You can find out more about Trust for London's other work on migration issues here

You may also be interested in data about BME Londoners, which will include some migrants. 

Migrants: Indicators

10.3 Demographics and attainment gaps

This graph shows that pupils in London of every ethnicity have better attainment than their counterparts in the rest of England, as do pupils who speak English as a second language, and pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

At 39%, Black pupils have the highest proportion of pupils not achieving A* – C in English and maths GCSEs in London, followed by White and Mixed (34%) ethnicities. 

Pupils who do not speak English as their first language have similar attainment as those who do. This is particularly important to attainment levels in London, where 40% (and 51% in Inner London) of pupils do not speak English as a first language. In the rest of England, only 10% of pupils do not speak English as a first language.

In 22 London boroughs, pupils who do not speak English as a first language are more likely to achieve GCSEs than those who…

Worklessness by country of birth

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This graph shows the proportion of working-age men and women who are workless (unemployed or economically inactive) by their country of birth. The countries shown are the ones with the largest populations in London. In all countries of birth apart from Ireland, including the UK, female workless rates are higher than for males. The differences between genders are explained by levels of economic inactivity rather than unemployment, which suggests that caring responsibilities are a reason for this disparity. There is, however, a large difference between countries. The female workless rate among those born in Afghanistan is 62 percentage points higher than for men, while it is 3 percentage points higher for those born in Jamaica, Germany and Italy. For those born in Ireland the female workless rate is lower than the male worklessness rate by…

Rough sleeping over time

8,100 people were seen sleeping rough at least once by a homeless outreach team in London in 2016/17, the same number as the previous year. The number of people sleeping rough in London has increased dramatically since 2007, and in 2015/16 was almost three times the number a decade ago in 2006. 

Over the period where rough sleeping has risen, the number of new rough sleepers has also risen, from 1,600 in 2007 to 5,100 in 2016/17. There is a high turnover, with 77% of rough sleepers seen sleeping out only once or twice. 

Only 15% of people recorded as sleeping rough in London in 2016/17 were women. However, many homeless women are ‘hidden homeless’ (for example they are sofa surfing or being sexually exploited in exchange for shelter) in order to avoid sleeping on the streets (where they also face a very high risk of sexual violence and exp…

Map of London's sub-regions
Image: London is divided into these 5 sub-regions for some administrative and data purposes.
Population of London's sub-regions
Image: London's population by sub-region.

The map and table show London's sub-regions and the breakdown of its population.

Inner East & South London’s population grew the fastest of any of London’s sub-regions over the last decade, by 24%. Inner West’s population grew the slowest, at 8%, the same rate as the rest of England. However, the Inner West still has a similar population density to the Inner East & South.

Inner East & South London has the highest population density of all of London’s sub-regions, 11,200 people per square km. The London average is 5,590 people per square km and the lowest density sub-region is Outer South with 3,600 people per square km. London’s overall p…

People moving to and from London

The graph shows how the number of people migrating in and out of London both domestically and internationally has changed over time.

The grey bars show net migration to and from London. That is how many people have moved to London, minus how many people have moved away. This is for both domestic and international migration. It shows that in 2014/15 there was a net inflow of just under 60,000 people to London. The last time there was a net in ow this large was in 2010/11, when it was just over 60,000. The following year there was a significant drop to below 20,000. However the net migration inflow has increased every year since.

The yellow and orange lines show domestic migration, that is migration to and from other parts of the UK. For all years since 2004/05 more people have moved from London to other…

Internal movements graph

This graph looks at how internal migration affects London’s age structure. It shows net internal migration by age group. That is how many people in each age group moved in from other parts of the UK, minus how many people in the same age group moved out to other parts of the UK. London is a net importer of certain young adult age groups, and a net exporter of others.

The figures for Inner London show net migration to and from all other parts of the UK, including Outer London. Negative numbers mean more people in that age group moved out of Inner London than moved in. Positive numbers mean more people moved in. The same principles apply to the figures for Outer London.

The only age groups in which Inner London had a net internal migration inflow are the age groups between 15 and 29. There is a peak in the age group 20 to 24 where 20,000 mor…

Country of birth of London's population - piechart

Here we look at where Londoners were born. The graph shows that a large majority of people living in London were born in the UK.

In the graph below, we have excluded the UK-born population so that it is possible to see more clearly the numbers and change in Londoners born in the next 20 most common countries. The population for most countries has increased over the past decades but there were significant falls in Londoners born in Australia, Ireland, Jamaica and the United States.

The main driver behind London's population growth continues to be an increase in births and longer life expectancy, rather than migration. 

More data on this is available from the London datastore hosted by the GLA.