Census 2011: Variations, Anomalies, Worries


A great deal has already been written about the findings of the 2011 Census; some bloggers have dug deep into the data and burned the midnight oil analysing and collating said data. Among those deserving of special mention are Oggy Bloggy Ogwr, Syniadau and Welsh Not British. I’ve even had a go once or twice myself, despite an aversion to numbers and figuring.Welsh born

(Left click on images to enlarge.)

In addition to those on the side of the angels we have also seen desperate attempts to put a positive gloss on some pretty damning and disheartening findings. You know just how desperate, when some are reduced to suggesting that large numbers of elderly English people moving to Wales is to be welcomed. Or that Ceredigion on the point of becoming an English county is somehow compensated for by a couple of Welsh schools in Cardiff, or the Welsh Government being given power over yellow lines.

Over the past few days I’ve done a bit of fresh delving into the findings of the 2011 census, specifically into these two tables: QS203EW Country of Birth and KS202EW National Identity. (Download to open in Excel.) They have provided me with some interesting facts, one of which I have not previously read mentioned anywhere else. In fact, a statistic I find rather disturbing.

Welsh only

Anyway, to begin with, here are three maps showing, by local authority unit, and percentages those, 1/ Welsh born, 2/ Welsh identifying, 3/ Rejecting all Welsh identity. Click to enlarge on all three. Two more things need to be said. Yes, the maps are hand drawn, by me, but they aren’t that bad. (I had thought of blaming the grandchildren, but they would probably have done a better job!) I’ve already confessed to not being enamoured of figures so I ask you to check with the original table if you’re in any doubt about my interpretations. I could have made a mistake (it’s not unknown). I have also tried to present the figures in table form. My attempt can be found below right. (Again, click to enlarge.)

Now a lot has been made of the number choosing to describe themselves in 2011 as ‘Welsh only’, rejecting other identities including British. Up to a point, I can agree, this is encouraging . . . but only up to a point. I say that because looking at the bigger picture, nationally, or even more so, locally, tends to take the gloss off the fact that the vast majority of our people describe themselves as ‘Welsh only’. For example, in Table 1, there’s the fact that only 49.8% of Powys’s population is Welsh born. Yes, I know it’s a border county, with no major hospital, and many locals are born over the border. But even so . . . And what about Ceredigion? Even allowing for the large numbers of students –No Welsh and even the recent activities of Dai Lloyd Evans’ gang – only 55.3% Welsh born is frightening.

The local authority area with the highest percentage of Welsh born is Blaenau Gwent, with 90.3%. Which looks good . . . but only when compared to the other Welsh local authorities. Blaenau Gwent’s figure is just normal, or even low, when set against roughly comparable English local authorities. For example, 95.2% of Barnsley’s population was born in England; St Helens’ (Merseyside) figure is 95.9%; even the figure for Sunderland, in the Tyne-Wear conurbation, is 94.4%. For a deprived, post-industrial, high unemployment area like Blaenau Gwent, 90.3% born in Wales is, in reality, remarkably low. For despite there being little employment in the area it seems people are still moving – or being moved – in to Blaenau Gwent. Going back to the worrying anomaly I mentioned earlier, it was Blaenau Gwent that first alerted me.

For if we look more closely at the figures for Blaenau Gwent we see that while 90.3% of the population is Welsh born we see the following figures for identification: Welsh only 72.4, Welsh and British 8.2, Welsh Combined – e.g. Welsh-Russian if your Mam is from Omsk (or even Tomsk) – 0.8. If we total up these three it gives us 81.4%. Deduct that from 90.3 and we are left with 8.9% . . . that was born in Wales, lives in Wales, but does not regard itself as being in any way Welsh! Struck by this figure I decided to look at the national picture. I soon Full Tablefound that Blaenau Gwent is not unique.

The national picture tells us that out of a total population of 3,063,456 only 2,226,005 is Welsh born. Of this Welsh-born population 1,761,673 (79.1% of Welsh born) considers itself to be Welsh only. A further 217,880 (9.8%) Welsh and British. With a final 38,128 (1.7%) of ‘combined’ identity. Total up the three designations and deduct them from the total Welsh born and we are left with 208,324 people who were born in Wales, live in Wales, but reject any Welsh identification. How do we explain this?

I can understand someone born to Chinese parents describing themselves as Chinese. This could apply to other non-European groups with a strong sense of cultural or religious identity. But there are relatively few members of such groups in Wales. The vast majority of the non-Welsh in Wales are English. So does this anomaly mean that we have over two hundred thousand people living among us, born in our country, who have chosen to reject any identification with us or our country? If so, what a worryingly colonialist or racist attitude this suggests.

The more I look at the Census 2011 findings the more I see a divided country. Due entirely to Wales being systematically and deliberately colonised. To realise the truth of this one only needs to study the recent activities of the Planning Inspectorate, council chief executives and other senior officers, the Third Sector, assorted civil servants (supposedly answering to the Welsh Government), social housing providers, etc., etc.

A policy of colonisation so pervasive and successful that we might already be living alongside an entrenched and growing colonist population, our own Anglo-Irish or pieds-noirs. While we Welsh become poorer and more marginalised. Leading us to reject in ever increasing numbers any political or national label other than ‘Welsh’. How long will it be before this growing resentment and polarisation finds expression beyond the census form, the Eisteddfod Maes, and the rugby stadium?

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Robert Tyler

“the percentage of Welsh born in the population dropped from 75.4% to 72.7% between 2001 and 2011”
Don’t forget the estimated 60,000 Welsh who refused to fill in the form in 2001. Another 2% of the population.


And of course, don’t forget that in the next decade, there are plans to build 320,000 houses in Wales most of which will not be going to the Welsh; our natural population is falling. In England in particular, the ‘left’ ie Labour want multiculturalism; a kind of rainbow ‘nation’. On the other hand, the Tories want cheap labour. I’m not saying that immigration is bad but to the levels of the last few years? Anyway, this will have an effect on Wales with the ‘white flight’ brigade and vastly cheaper houses and land here for them and the retiring boomers to mop up.


Building new houses, of itself, need not be a bad thing, but of course WE don’t need 320,000. Not least because in the rural areas there is an oversupply of housing. By which I mean, more than enough to cater for local demand for 30 years or more.

I say that building new houses need not be bad because in the village where I live (Snowdonia National Park) no new houses have been built for years, council houses have been bought, yet the external demand has grown, which results in rising prices that effectively excludes most locals. Result: the village is reaching the tipping point when it will soon be majority English. So the real problem is the external demand for housing in Wales, and how to deal with it.

There is no doubt that Wales has suffered because of policies pursued to make England multicultural or multiracial. There has definitely been an element of White Flight. No one wil admit it publicly, and neither politicians nor media will discuss it. But even if the UK does curb immigration it won’t stop the decay of many English cities. Which results in those who can afford to ‘escaping’ to Wales, and many of those who can’t afford to, being dumped here.

El T

Has anyone tried to calculate when we’ll become a minority in our own country?

There’s still a large number of unambiguously Welsh people living in the Valleys, Swansea Bay and eastern Carmarthenshire but we’re totally seperated from our brothers in Gwynedd by the ‘Greater Mercia’ that has formed in Ceredigion & Powys!


I’m sure it could be done by basing a projection on the figures from the censuses of 1991, 2001 and 2011. But of course in 2001 we weren’t allowed to describe ourselves as Welsh. But it should still give country of birth. Will give it some thought.

UPDATE: Have e-mailed ONS for info, but I can tell you now that the percentage of Welsh born in the population dropped from 75.4% to 72.7% between 2001 and 2011. A drop of 2.7% in a decade might suggest that we Welsh will remain a majority in our own country for another 80 years.

But of course that doesn’t take into account those born in Wales – especially to English parents – who regard themselves as ‘British’, ‘English’, or ‘English and British’. This why only 57.5% of the population in 2011 identified as ‘Welsh only’. (And a further 7.1% as ‘Welsh and British’.) So the ‘Welsh Only’ element of the population could be in a minority by the next census.


Agreed, Jac. The biggest wave of colonists has washed over our shores since 1979, and they’re still coming. I’m so glad we’ve been able to achieve as much as we have in terms of devolution and language status. If we started today we’d get nowhere quickly.

leigh richards

i appreciate that youre a ‘glass half empty’ guy jac and perhaps on occasions suffer from that historical welsh tendency to undue pessimism, but given the absence of any previous figures on this question its difficult to know if the 200,00 welsh people who seem to reject any kind of welsh identity is a sign of a growing trend or in fact a declining one?….

certainly i cant help but feel that lthe figure for those welsh people who appear to reject any form of welsh identity might have been greater in 1979 (when the welsh virtually voted themselves out of existence) than in the 2011 census……similarly i suspect that the numbers who would have described themselves as welsh rather than british would have been far lower in 1979 than in the 2011 census….. so perhaps you neednt be quite so worried as you appear to be about this matter….


The figure I’ve highlighted might be acceptable, even encouraging, if it could be viewed against the backdrop of an overwhelmingly Welsh Wales. But when we consider this figure in the context of a Wales in which the Welsh are an ever reducing percentage of the population then it offers no comfort.

Even if you’re right about the percentage having possibly been higher in 1979, bear in mind that the percentage of the Welsh in the population would have been a hell of a lot higher too.


At least as important as the incomers is the emigration of our most talented young people. The majority of the graduate children of my friends and colleagues have left to work away, usually in England, as there is nothing here for them .Of course, it has always happened but never to this extent. It is starting to parallel de Valera’s Ireland and it bodes very badly for the future.


Very true, and made worse by a Welsh Government that subsidises Welsh students in England while encouraging ‘Welsh’ universities to become degree factories where size matters more than anything else. Though there is a great difference between Wales today and Dev’s Ireland. Ireland had a very high birthrate to help maintain population levels, and did not suffer waves of English retirees in Sligo, goodlifers taking over Galway, or riff-raff from English cities being dumped in Mayo.


Of course the census form will have been completed by an adult head of household. There has to be a chance that many of the 208,324 will be the children of incomers, born in Wales but listed as English by their Beckham supporting dads. Will those kids grow up feeling the same way as pater, hopefully not.

It’s the UK wide central and local government service apparatchiks and their third sector equivalents who pose the greatest threat to Wales. Because they are backed by the powerful public sector unions or involved in charity type projects they are seen as being “all right” by our nervous nats. They’re not.


I know quite a few of the people you’re talking about. Fanatically English, dismissive of all things Welsh, you have to wonder why they moved to Wales. I remember going to watch my grand-daughter in her school Nativity play a couple of years ago. Two of the kids in the play were wearing England football shirts! Kept trying to remember which of the Wise Men played for England.

I also agree about the Third Sector but, as I explain in my previous post, the days of unlimited funding are over. When you think about it, what we’ve seen in Wales since 1999 is very much like a corrupt third world country in which the regime dishes out cash to its supporters and hangers-on.

The big threat remains civil servants taking orders from London, openly or otherwise.

MH @ Syniadau

I like the maps, well done.

One thing that strikes me is that you’ve used the terms “reject any Welsh identification” and “not regard itself as being in any way Welsh”.

I’d just point out that these census figures are specifically about national identity. I think there is probably a small but significant percentage of people, born and bred in Wales, who would happily and proudly describe themselves as Welsh, but who would think of their nationality as British only. For them, being “Welsh” is the equivalent of someone in Sheffield thinking of themselves as a “Yorkshireman” … i.e. an identity they are proud of, but not a national identity.

From our perspective as Welsh nationalists, it is all too common to make the mistake of thinking that when people talk about Wales, they are talking about a nation. We assume that everyone else thinks of Wales in the same way as we do. However some people (albeit a fairly small minority) don’t think of Wales as a nation. The United Kingdom.is their nation, and Wales is just a region within it.


Yes, but I did include Welsh and British. The group I’m isolating is those born in Wales, living in Wales, but denying any Welsh identity, even Welsh and British. I think we need to ask why. Especially as, 12 years into devolution, Welshness had a legal and constitutional validity that makes the comparison with Yorkshire invalid.