Based on results from the 2011 Census, Southampton has residents from over 55 different countries. 77.7% of residents recorded their ethnicity as white British, which is a decrease of 11% from 2001, suggesting the city has become more ethnically diverse. Just over 14% of Southampton's population are non-white British with the biggest change being seen in the ‘other white’ group (which includes migrants from Europe), which has increased by over 200% in last 10 years, from 5,519 to 17,461 residents (8.3%).
Within Southampton, there is a wide variation in ethnic diversity. In Bevois ward, over half of residents (55.4%) are from an ethnic group other than white British, compared to 7.6% in Sholing.
The 2020/21 annual school census of pupils in Southampton revealed that 39.7% of pupils were from an ethnic group other than white British. This has increased from 33.6% in 2015/16, a 6.0 percentage point change.
In 2020/21, just over 42.9% of live births in Southampton (where ethnicity was known) were non-White British or Irish. Trends in ethnicity of live births show the ‘Other White’ background has risen most significantly in recent years; from 10.7% (2008/09) to 18.9% (2020/21).
Based on the 2011 Census Southampton has a higher proportion than nationally of households where no-one has English as their main language (7.7% compared to 4.4% nationally). There are 7,522 households in the city that fall into this category. The school census in 2020/21 found that 28% of school pupils had a first language other than English; a rise of 3.2% percentage points from 2015/16.
Just under 12% of Southampton's resident population do not speak English as their main language, and this rose to nearly 24% in residents aged 25 to 34. The most common main language, other than English was Polish, accounting for 3.6% of the total population and 9.5% of the 25 to 34 population. High levels of economic migration into the city from Eastern Europe since 2004 have contributed to this. Only 2.8% of people aged 65 and over had a main language other than English (2011 Census).
According to the 2011 Census, 51.5% of the population reported their religion to be Christian, compared to just under 60% in England. This is a fall of approximately 14% from the 2001 Census. The number of people saying they have no religion rose from 21.6% to 33.5% between 2001 and 2011.
The second largest religion in Southampton is Islam. In 2011, 4.2% of Southampton's population were Muslim, although there was significant variation; in Bevois ward this proportion rises to 19.5% of the population, followed by 9.6% in Bargate. The smallest Muslim population live in Sholing Ward (0.7%). Further information and data on religion in Southampton can be downloaded from the resources section below.