KNOWLEDGE BASE Population - Ethnicity - Language In The UK

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.




Brexit Update:

Since the UK officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, the relationship between the two has evolved and continues to be shaped by the ongoing implementation of the withdrawal agreement.

Key Dates:

  • January 31, 2020: UK officially left the EU and entered a transition period that ended on December 31, 2020.

  • December 31, 2020: The transition period ended, and the UK fully exited the EU single market and customs union.

  • January 1, 2021: The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement came into effect, outlining the post-Brexit relationship between the two entities.

  • 2023/2024 Current: The UK and EU are still navigating the ongoing implementation and potential revisions of their post-Brexit relationship.

It's crucial for businesses operating in either the UK or the EU to stay informed about the latest developments and adjust their operations accordingly.

Resources for Further Information:     


Population - Ethnicity - Language In The UK


The United Kingdom's total population and broken out by country

As of mid-2023, the UK's estimated total population is 67,841,869, with 50.8% females and 49.2% males.


Never refer to someone in the UK as English unless you are absolutely sure they are from England!  People from Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales will not appreciate being referred to as English!



Ethnicity in the United Kingdom

While the UK has a mix of ethnic groups and cultures, it is overwhelmingly white. According to the 2021 census, the breakdown of ethnicities in the UK is as follows:


  • 87.2% of the UK population is white, including people of various European ancestries, such as English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, and Polish.


  • 7.5% of the UK population is Asian, including people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and other Asian origins.


  • 3.3% of the UK population is Black, including people of African, Caribbean, and other Black African backgrounds.


  • 2.4% of the UK population is Mixed, including people with heritage from two or more ethnic groups.


  • 0.6% of the UK population belonged to other ethnic groups 


Language in the United Kingdom

English remains the official language, spoken by a vast majority. However, several regional languages exist:

  • Scots: Spoken by roughly 1.5 million people in Scotland (27% of the population).

  • Scottish Gaelic: Around 57,000 people in Scotland speak Gaelic (1.1% of the population).

  • Welsh: While 29.5% of Wales identifies as Welsh-speaking, daily use varies. Around 732,000 people have some knowledge, and 326,000 consider it their main language.

  • Irish: In Northern Ireland, around 10% of the population (200,000 people) have some ability in Irish, with around 7,000 using it daily.

  • Cornish: In Cornwall, approximately 5,600 people identify as Cornish speakers (0.2% of the population).

And as this entertaining video will show you, there are many accents across the United Kingdom.  


Based on the latest UK 2021 census data, around 1.5% (880,000) of the total population reported not speaking English well.


UK Resources

For a summary of UK population statistics: Statistical Bulletin: Annual Mid-year Population Estimates, mid -2021

UK 2021 Census Results

Video Summary of 2021 UK Census 

Population information on Scotland from the National Records of Scotland

Population information on Wales from the Welsh Government

Population information on Northern Ireland from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

World Factbook - UK

UK population and migration statistics from the Office for National Statistics

Office for National Statistics

KNOWLEDGE BASE Population - Ethnicity - Language In The UK