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Population Trends

1.5. How many children of migrants are there in each local area?

Since the 2011 Census, there has been no up-to-date local-authority level data on the total population of either migrant children or UK-born children of migrants. However the data sources used in the two charts on this page provide some insight into numbers and trends of (1) children born in the UK to foreign-born mothers and (2) school pupils with English as an additional language.

Children born to non-UK born mothers

Data on children born in the UK to foreign-born mothers are available from ONS. They indicate how many children of migrants have been born in a given area, although they do not include babies with a UK-born mother and a non-UK born father. The figures will include foreign-born mothers who have lived in the UK for many years, even decades. Despite their limitations, these data provide some indication of how many such children will reach nursery or school age in subsequent years, although this will also be affected by families moving in and out of the local authority or leaving the UK. Nonetheless, this information can be a useful metric for local-level planning and resource allocation.

Figure 11 shows the overall share of live births to non-UK mothers for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The share of births to non-UK born mothers is higher than the share of migrants in the population, in large part  because the non-UK born are more likely to be in the peak childbearing ages (ONS, 2017). In 2018, the overall share of live births to non-UK mothers in England and Wales fell for the first time since 1990, from 28.4% in 2017, to 28.2% in 2018 (ONS, 2018)

Download the source data in this chart from ONS

More detailed data containing information on the characteristics of the mother are available for England and Wales, through NOMIS, although only at the regional level.

Figure 11: Percent of births to non-UK born mothers in the United Kingdom, by local authority (2019)

Data Notes ?

Includes live births only. Includes non-UK born mothers regardless of how long they have been in the UK and regardless of father’s place of birth. Percentages are rounded.


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Last updated: 2020-09-08

School pupils

Like education itself, the production of local authority level data on the first language of school pupils at state-funded schools is a devolved matter in the UK. This information can be accessed as follows:

Figure 12 shows the share of children in state-funded schools in whose first language is known or believed (by the school completing the school census) to not be English.

Download the source data in this chart for England from ONS

Download the source data in this chart for Northern Ireland 

DfE has also collected data on school pupils by nationality and country of birth for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 academic years in England. There were initial concerns about data quality as the country of birth information and to a lesser extent nationality information was missing for a substantial share of pupils. However, these figures can help to interpret the English as an Additional Language (EAL) data. Specifically:

Figure 12: Percent of primary and secondary pupils in state-funded schools in the UK whose first language is known or believed to be other than English (2019/20)

Data Notes ?

Please note that data do not indicate proficiency in English; children with a first language other than English may also be fluent in English. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Welsh data did not undergo the usual final validation process. Northern Irish data refer to newcomers: “A newcomer pupil is one who has enrolled in a school but who does not have the satisfactory language skills to participate fully in the school curriculum, and the wider environment, and does not have a language in common with the teacher, whether that is English or Irish”. Data include both UK and non-UK born children. Indigenous UK languages (e.g., Gaelic) are not counted as additional languages. Suppressed and unavailable data are marked with a hyphen (-).


share .csv .xls .image
Last updated: 2020-09-08