Notes: This series of Migration Trends Reports was updated on a six-monthly basis for the duration of the Migration Services in Wales project, which ended in March 2017. This version represents the final revision of this report.
This report is the second of three migration trends reports to be produced as part of the Migration Services in Wales project, providing quantitative analysis on migration in Wales. The report provides an overview of non-UK born households in Wales, with an emphasis on local area variations as well as national comparisons with migrant households in England. The first and third reports in this series focused on migrants in the Welsh labour market and an overview of migration flows over time, respectively.
The first section of the report focuses on key characteristics of non-UK born people who live in Wales using data from the 2011 Census. The discussion covers family composition among residents of private households, household size, home ownership, and information on residents of non-private or institutional establishments (i.e. university accommodation, hospitals, prisons, shelters, accommodation for asylum seekers). The discussion includes comparisons between UK and non-UK born people who live in Wales as well as variations by Welsh local area and breakdowns for migrants born in different regions of the world (EU14, EU Accession, non-EU).
The second section draws on the ONS Annual Population Estimates to highlight trends in the number and share of non-UK born residents of private households in Wales between 2004 and 2015 at national and local levels. This subsection identifies the top individual countries of birth among non-UK born people in Wales over that time period as well as trends in the numbers and shares of migrants born in various world regions (EU14, EU Accession, Asia, Africa, Oceania, Americas). This section concludes with trends in the number and share of non-UK born for each local area in Wales (2004/2010/2014/2015).
The third section of the report provides information on the number of people in Wales who are in receipt of asylum related accommodation and/or financial support. This section uses Home Office Immigration statistics between 2004 and 2016 and includes breakdowns by top regions of nationality and by local authority.
This briefing focuses on the characteristics of migrants and of migrant households in Wales with an emphasis on local area variations and trends over time. To provide this information using suitable sources of data with reliable local area statistics, this report draws on the 2011 Census for England and Wales, the official ONS annual population estimates and the Home Office Immigration Quarterly Statistics.
Although there is no consensus on a single definition of 'migrant', this discussion defines migrants as those who are born outside the United Kingdom. The only exception is in the case of asylum seekers, where nationality is used instead and migrants are defined as those who are non-British (Home Office definition). Different analyses use a variety of definitions of 'migrant', including (1) country of birth, (2) nationality, (3) passports held, (4) length of stay, (5) reason for migration and (6) being subject to immigration control. For example, not all foreign-born people are also foreign nationals; some foreign nationals may have lived in the UK for decades while others may have resided in the UK for only a year. Perhaps most importantly, not all non-UK born UK residents are subject to immigration control, such as nationals of EEA countries and their dependents, or people born abroad to UK citizen parents. There is no information on place of birth within the UK for the UK-born or place of first arrival for those born outside of the UK. Therefore, those born outside of Wales but within the UK are considered UK-born in this analysis.
In UK immigration debates, mobile EU citizens are considered as a distinct group because they can move freely within the European Union. The UK or devolved governments cannot limit their rights to live and work in the United Kingdom in the same way as for migrants from outside the EU. The boundaries of the EU have changed significantly since 2004. A brief recent timeline of EU expansions is as follows:
Members pre-2004: EU15 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom)
2004 expansion: A8 plus Malta and Cyprus (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia)
2007 expansion: A2 (Bulgaria and Romania)
2013 expansion: Croatia (after the 2011 Census took place)
To facilitate the analysis and allow for more consistent classifications, breakdowns by country of birth include: a) EU14 (EU15 except UK), b) Accession (joined 2004-2013), and c) other non-EU countries grouped together.
The analysis uses information from the Census for England and Wales for 2011, the ONS annual population estimates, and the Home Office quarterly release of immigration statistics (see the ‘Evidence Gaps and Limitations’ section of the briefing to understand challenges associated with these data sources).
The Census is the most complete source of information about the Welsh population. It is particularly useful for obtaining demographic information for small geographical areas. The census is based on a count of people and households, with efforts to include all residents, and supplemented by a survey to detect and estimate those who are missed at first. In England and Wales the latest census took place on the 27th March 2011 and was conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Statistics based on the census refer to usual residents of England and Wales. A usual resident is defined as anyone in the UK on census day who had stayed or intended to stay in the UK for 12 months or more (or were outside the UK but had a permanent UK address and intended to stay outside the UK for less than 12 months). See the Migration Observatory video interview of Peter Stokes, 2011 Census Statistical Design Manager, for further discussion. For more information on the migrant population in Wales, please see the Wales 2011 Census Profile. The Maps section of the Migration Observatory website also provides a wide range of maps at local authority level using 2011 Census data for England and Wales.
Information on asylum seekers who reside in Wales is drawn from the Home Office Immigration Statistics. Asylum related statistics specifically for Wales are limited to those in receipt of state support under section 95 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (section 95). Asylum seekers and their dependents are excluded from most welfare benefits in the UK. Exceptions to this rule include support under section 95 for asylum seekers whose claims are on-going, or support under section 4 for asylum seekers whose application has been refused. Applicants for support must satisfy a ‘destitution’ test. Under section 95, the financial support can be for subsistence only, or for subsistence and accommodation (mostly in a dispersal area on no-choice basis). Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham are four key dispersal areas in Wales.
The ONS Annual Population Estimates are based on the Annual Population Survey (APS). The APS is made up of wave 1 and wave 5 of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) in addition to annual sample boosts which are included to enhance geographical coverage and allow for local area population estimates to be produced. Due to the nature of the survey, the population estimates refer to those living in private households. An adjustment is made for those who live in some NHS accommodation and halls of residence whose parents live in the UK. For this reason the sum of those born in the UK and outside the UK may not mirror the published population estimate.
 The Immigration Bill 2015 proposes the repeal of Section 4 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
This section provides an overview of the characteristics of migrant households in Wales using data from the 2011 Census of England and Wales. The analysis includes information on family composition, household size, home ownership, and residents in non-private accommodation, such as institutional and other communal establishments.
In 2011, the most common living arrangement among non-UK born usual residents in Wales was households with three or more adults and no children (22%), followed by households with two working-age adults and no children (19%). When grouping together all types of households with no dependent children, 61% of non-UK born residents in Wales reported living with no children present (Figure 1). This is similar to the share among UK-born residents in Wales. About 19% of UK-born in Wales were living in a household with three or more adults and no children, while 59% in total were in a household with no children present.
Non-UK born and UK-born residents in Wales were about equally likely to be living in one-person households at 13% (Figure 1). Among those in one-person households, non-UK born people in Wales were more likely to be of working-age than UK born residents (10% non-UK born, 7% UK-born). UK-born people in Wales are more likely than non-UK born people to live in a lone parent household (3% non-UK born, 6% UK-born). The more traditional household format comprised of two adults and one or two children was reported among 18% of non-UK born and 19% of UK-born people.
In Cardiff, Newport, and Wales as a whole, residents born outside the EU were statistically more likely than EU-born and UK-born residents to live in households with five or more members in 2011 (Figure 2). Cardiff was the local area with the largest share of non-EU born households with 5 or more members at 29% of non-EU born residents, followed by 17% of UK-born, and 16% of EU-born. Newport had the second largest share of non-EU born who lived in large households at 28%, compared to 17% among the EU-born and 15% among UK-born residents. In most other local areas differences were smaller and not statistically significant.
Home ownership among non-UK born residents differs across local areas in Wales. In Cardiff, Swansea, and Wrexham, between 34%-37% of non-UK born residents owned their house either outright or with a mortgage (Figure 3). In the Vale of Glamorgan, Neath Port Talbot, Conwy, and Denbighshire home ownership ranged between 61%-65% among non-UK born residents.
In addition to people who live in private households with family or friends, there are also residents in Wales who live in other types of accommodation, such as university residences, institutional accommodation, hospitals, prisons, or other communal establishments (Table 1). The Census is a particularly suitable source of information on people who are in institutional accommodation, since most other population and labour market surveys exclude them. Types of communal accommodation taken into account here are hospitals, asylum centres, homeless shelters, prisons, places that provide respite care and care of ill/disabled people, residences for seasonal workers, University students, schoolchildren, and others.
About 2% of UK-born and 4% of non-UK born usual residents in Wales lived in some form of communal establishment in 2011. Non-UK born people made up about 15% of all residents of non-private accommodation in Wales on Census day. Most migrants in communal accommodation reported an educational type of establishment that caters to University Students or schoolchildren (80%). People who were born outside the UK made up almost one in three residents of educational establishments in Wales in 2011 (Table 1).
Usual residents in communal establishments
% Non-UK born
% Total who are non-UK born
% Living in a communal establishment
Nature of establishment
Other care establishment
Travel or temporary accommodation
Staff accommodation, including religious and defence
Source: 2011 Census for England and Wales, author calculations using micro-data 5% subsample.
The second section of this briefing focuses on trends over time in the numbers and shares of non-UK born residents in Wales, using the official annual population estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In 2004, an estimated 100,000 residents in Wales were born outside the UK (Figure 4). This increased to 121,000 in 2006, 148,000 in 2009, and to 172,000 in 2015. Wales’s resident population born in EU14 countries has remained largely stable at about 36,000-40,000 residents. Increases in the number of non-UK born residents can be mostly attributed to those born in EU Accession countries and Asia (includes the Middle East, Central Asia, India, China, and other regions in Asia) moving to Wales during this period.
In 2015, approximately 38,000 residents in Wales were born in EU Accession countries, up from 13,000 residents in 2006. The number of residents born in Asian countries also increased between 2006 and 2015 by 21,000 to a total of 57,000 residents.
When looking at the top 4 countries of birth among non-UK born residents in Wales over time, we can see that the increases in Accession born residents are most likely related to people born in Poland (Figure 5). The number of Polish-born residents in Wales stood at 5,000 residents in 2006 ,16,000 in 2008, and 23,000 in 2015.
Based on official ONS population estimates between 2006 and 2015, the countries of birth among non-UK born residents in Wales that can consistently be found among the top 5 are the Republic of Ireland, Germany, India, and Poland.
Changes in migrant populations over time vary depending on the local area in question. Figure 6 shows the number of residents in Wales who are born outside the UK for each local area for 2004, 2010, and 2015. To highlight trends in non-UK born residents relative to the whole resident population in Welsh local authorities, Figure 7 shows the share of the local population who are born outside the UK.
Cardiff, Newport, and Swansea are the three areas in Wales with the largest number and share of non-UK born residents throughout the 2004-2015 period. Based on the ONS population estimates, there were about 27,000 non-UK born people living in Cardiff in 2004, and 45,000 in 2015 (an increase of 18,000). Swansea had an estimated 9,000 migrant residents in 2004 and 20,000 in 2015. In Newport, the number of migrants stood at 7,000 in 2004 and 13,000 in 2015. Another area with a growing number of non-UK born population in 2015 was Carmarthenshire, with 13,000 migrant residents in 2015, up from 6,000 in 2010.
In 2015 across local areas in Wales, the percentage of residents who were born outside the UK ranged from about 2% in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Neath Port Talbot, and Bridgend, 5% in Ceredigion and Flintshire, to 13% in Cardiff.
The third section of this briefing continues with information on people in Wales who receive asylum related accommodation and/or financial support. The analysis uses Home Office quarterly immigration data on the number of people who are in receipt of asylum support under Section 95. This form of support is managed by the Home Office and is provided to asylum seekers who are destitute. It can include subsistence-only support or both the provision of subsistence and accommodation.
As of the second quarter of 2016 (April-June), a total of 2,871 asylum seekers (main applicants) in Wales were in receipt of support under section 95 (Figure 8).
Only 26 of those claiming support were receiving subsistence only, the vast majority were located in dispersal area accommodation. About 95% of claimants were resident in Cardiff, Swansea, and Newport; three key areas in Wales with asylum seekers’ dispersal accommodation. In more detail, 1,326 or 46% of asylum seekers were in Cardiff, followed by 913 or 32% in Swansea, and 498 or 17% in Newport. The fourth most common dispersal area was Wrexham, with 123 people or 4% of claimants in quarter two, 2016.
Between 2004 and 2016, an average of 2,000 people were in receipt of section 95 support in Wales, consistently below 5% of all non-UK nationals who resided in Wales in this period.
Based on the latest available data, in the second quarter of 2016 the largest groups of asylum seekers in receipt of support under section 95 in Wales were nationals of China (364 people), Pakistan (293 people), and Iran (269 people) (Table 2). In Wales, 55 Syrian nationals were receiving support in the second quarter of 2016, compared to 101 in quarter two of 2015, and 24 in quarter two of 2010. In the UK as a whole, 892 Syrian nationals were receiving this form of support in the second quarter of 2016, compared to 986 Syrian nationals in the second quarter of 2015 (April to June).
|Sri Lanka||133||Sri Lanka||1,543|
Source: Home Office Immigration Statistics (Aug. 2016), Asylum table as_17.
The individual nationalities of asylum seekers in receipt of support are subject to substantial change over time, depending on global events. In terms of broader world regions, the largest group of asylum seekers in receipt of section 95 support in Wales in quarter two of 2016 were nationals of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (754 in Q2/2016, Figure 9), followed by countries in South Asia (493 people in Q2/2016), and the Middle East (556 people in Q2/2016).
Taking into account the second quarter of each year, between 4% (2004) and 8% (2016) of all asylum seekers who are in receipt of section 95 support in the UK resided in Wales. This percentage is fairly evenly distributed across different nationalities, albeit slightly higher among nationals of countries in Central Asia (10% Q2/2016) and East Asia (12% Q2/2016).
The Census is the most reliable source of information about the population. Nonetheless, it remains subject to certain limitations. Firstly, it is only conducted every 10 years. Secondly, there are only a limited number of questions included in the census, limiting the breadth of information available. While the census aims to include the entire population, it does have a certain margin of error. For England and Wales as a whole, the relative confidence interval at the 95% confidence level published by the ONS was 0.15% (83,000 more or less people than the estimate). To give an example at a more local level, for Cardiff’s usually resident population, the relative confidence interval at the 95% level was 1.76%, suggesting the true value of the population is somewhere between 339,999 and 352,181 persons (ONS, 2012). Specific confidence intervals are not currently available for census data relating to country of birth. For further discussion see the data sources and limitations section of the Migration Observatory website.
The information shown in the first and second sections of the briefing is based on a 5% subsample of the 2011 census in micro-data format (safeguarded sample at grouped local area level). It includes more than 2 million observations selected especially to be representative of census totals. Therefore estimated statistics based on the Census subsample have smaller margins of error compared to other survey based population estimates.
Statistics related to the number of asylum seekers who are in receipt of section 95 support are published by the Home Office. Home Office data is collected in the process of managing entries into the UK and other changes in the legal status of persons subject to immigration control (i.e. non EEA/Swiss nationals entering the UK). This data is administrative and differs from counts of the population (census) and from population estimates (surveys). It also excludes nationals from EEA and EU countries who are not subject to immigration control.
The third section of the report uses the ONS annual population estimates to highlight trends over time. The ONS population estimates from the APS are based primarily on the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS excludes some residents of communal establishments, such as students in halls who do not have a UK resident parent, or people in most other types of communal establishments (hotels, boarding houses, hostels, mobile home sites, and others). Since some groups of the population are excluded from the coverage of this survey, the estimates are different from the standard ONS mid-year population estimates, which cover all usual residents. Moreover, the LFS weighting system does not adjust for non-response bias related to respondents’ country of birth.
Migration Services in Wales - http://migration.wales
The Wales Migration Portal - http://wmp.infobasecymru.net/IAS/
 Currently, asylum seekers with dependent children continue to receive Section 95 support after their claim is refused as all appeal rights-exhausted. However, the Immigration Bill 2015 proposes to cease the automatic continuation of support under section 95 for these families and replace it with a provision under section 95a Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 for refused asylum seeking families who are ‘unable to leave the UK’.