Based on results from the 2011 Census, Southampton has residents from over 55 different countries. In the 2011 Census, 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 22% 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 2018 annual census of school pupils in Southampton revealed that 37.2% of pupils were from an ethnic group other than White British. This has increased from 24.3% in 2010.
In 2017/18 (April to March), 39.2% 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’ ethnic group has risen most significantly in recent years from 10.7% in 2008/09 to 18.8% in 2017/18. From the 2011 Census, 17.6% of Southampton residents were born outside UK, compared to 13.8% for England.
Just under 71% of Southampton residents hold a UK passport, 17.4% hold no passport and 6.5% hold an EU passport. Of the 41,651 people not born in the UK, over 58% have lived here for more than 5 years. Just over 31% of those people born outside the UK are aged 25 to 34 (2011 Census). Further information and data on ethnicity in Southampton can be downloaded from the resources section below.
Based on results from the 2011 Census, 7,522 households (7.7%) in Southampton have no one in them who speaks English as their main language, compared to 4.4% nationally. 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).
The 2019 Southampton school pupil census shows that 149 different languages are spoken in Southampton's schools, with 9,004 (27.8%) pupils having a first language other than English. The top five languages spoken in Southampton's schools (apart from English) are Polish (8.3%), Panjabi (2.0%), Urdu (1.5%), Pashto/Pakhto (1.2%) and Bengali (1.1%). In 2013, there were 1,442 (5.1%) pupils with Polish as their first language; by 2019, this had risen to 2,677 (8.3%). Further information and data on languages spoken in Southampton can be downloaded from the resources section below.
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.
Population data compendium and tools
Data on Southampton’s population, including ethnicity, language and religion can be found in the data compendium, which can be downloaded below.
Population data compendium
Nomis - ONS 2011 Census data
The 2011 Census was taken on 27th March 2011. The full data from this census are available in several hundred separate datasets (or tables), covering the whole range of population characteristics and subject areas. These data tables can be queried through the 2011 Census Nomis website. A link to Nomis is provided below.
Nomis - ONS 2011 Census data
Eastern European Immigration Report (2007)
On 1st May 2004 ten countries, primarily from Eastern Europe, joined the European Union. Subsequently a large number of people, particularly those from the eight eastern European accession countries entered the UK seeking work. A large number of these people chose to come and live and work in Southampton. This report provides an overview of the local nature and impact of this in-migration to the city. It should be noted that much of the data in the report has now been superseded by information from the 2011 Census.
Eastern European nationals living in Southampton (2007)