Other White

Other White
Districts of England by Other White percent.svg
Distribution by District(2011).
Total population
4.25% of the total population (2011)

England England: 3,585,003 (2021)[1]
Wales Wales: 82,994 (2021)[1]
Scotland Scotland: 102,117
(2011 census)
Regions with significant populations
London, East of England, Greater Manchester, Peterborough, Nottingham, Reading, Boston
British English, Polish, Romanian, Italian
Predominantly Christianity, Minorities practice Irreligion, Judaism and Islam
Related ethnic groups
White British, White Polish, Romanians in the United Kingdom

The term Other White is a classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom and has been used in documents such as the 2011 UK Census to describe people who self-identify as white (chiefly European) persons who are not of the English, Welsh, Scottish, Romani or Irish ethnic groupings.

The category does not comprise a single ethnic group but is instead a method of identification for white people who are not represented by other white census categories. This means that the Other White group contains a diverse collection of people with different countries of birth, languages and religions. In 2011, the Scottish Government introduced the category White Polish to differentiate Polish Britons, and Polish residents, living in Scotland from this broad grouping.

The categorisation was primarily intended to cover people with ancestry from Continental Europe, with the largest represented ethnic groups being Poles (except in Scotland since 2011), Germans, Romanians, Italians and the French.[2][3] It also appears that people with European ancestry (or who otherwise identify as white), born outside of the continent, are significantly represented in the White Other category. In 2001, the United States, South Africa and Australia were in the top ten birthplaces, together representing over 15 percent of the category.

Along with White British and White Irish, the category does not appear in Northern Ireland, where only one single "White" classification was presented to respondents.[4]

According to the 2021 United Kingdom census, those identifying as Other White in England & Wales enumerated 3,667,997, or 6.2% of the population[5][6][7]


Population pyramid of Other Whites in 2011 (in England and Wales)
Birthplace of "Other White" in England and Wales as of the 2001 Census[8]


In the 2001 UK Census, the majority of people living in England and Wales ticking the 'Other White' ethnic group specified their ethnicity as European.[8] Four out of five of the 'Other White' category (i.e. not British or Irish) were born overseas. A third were born in a Western European country other than the UK, and one in seven were born in an Eastern European country.[8][dead link]

Outside of Europe, countries derived from former British colonies such as the United States, South Africa and Australia were among the top ten birthplaces (which included the UK itself). This suggested that, in 2001, significant numbers of American Britons, South African Britons, and Australian Britons, such as those born abroad to British parents and returned to the UK as minors, identified as White Other. It may also be that those who identify as white Americans, white South Africans, or white Australians have migrated to the country as adults.[8]

According to 2016 ONS Estimates, Other Whites enumerated 4,167,000, or 6.3% of the population in the United Kingdom[9]. However their numbers, in line with a slight population decline in Polish and Romanian citizens in Britain, fell to 3,667,997 in England & Wales at the 2021 United Kingdom census [10][11].

Economic status

The Other White group is largely of working age, with only one in ten aged over 65 and one in seven under 16 at the time of the 2001 census. This does vary according to the stated country of birth, with people born in the UK being disproportionately young. Polish and Italian respondents had a larger proportion of over 65s,[8][dead link] which reflects the migration of Poles and Italians to Britain after the Second World War.[citation needed] A wide number of religions are represented in the Other White group.


In the census, the largest faith group, 63 per cent, identified themselves as Christian, with 16 per cent defining themselves as without religion, nine per cent as Muslims, and two per cent as Jewish.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b "2021 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in the United Kingdom". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  2. ^ 2011 Census: KS202EW National identity, local authorities in England and Wales, Accessed 22 December 2012
  3. ^ "Population of the UK by Country of Birth and Nationality: 2015". Office for National Statistics – Table 2: Five most common non-UK countries of birth and non-British nationalities for usual residents of the UK, 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Harmonised Concepts and Questions for Social Data Sources: Primary Standards – Ethnic Group" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. April 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Ethnic group, England and Wales - Office for National Statistics". www.ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  6. ^ "Ethnic group, England and Wales - Office for National Statistics". www.ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  7. ^ "Ethnic group - Census Maps, ONS". www.ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Gardener, David; Connolly, Helen (October 2005). "Who are the 'Other' ethnic groups?" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  9. ^ "Research report on population estimates by characteristics - Office for National Statistics". www.ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  10. ^ "Ethnic group, England and Wales - Office for National Statistics". www.ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  11. ^ "UK Loses EU Nationals in a Year of Brexit and Pandemic Shocks". Bloomberg.com. 2022-05-26. Retrieved 2022-11-30.