Since 1991, the census for Wales and England has included an ethnic identity question. The ethnic group categories, including the "other" categories of the written responses, were grouped into five high-level ethnic group categories.
- "Mixed or multi-ethnic groups"
- "Asian, Asian Welsh or Asian British"
- "Negro, Welsh Negro, British Negro, Caribbean or African"
- "Other Ethnic Group"
In 2021, respondents could choose to identify themselves through one of the "checkbox" answer options provided on the form or fill in their ethnic identity through one of six answer options.
- "African Background"
- "Any other Asian origin"
- "Any other black, black British or black Caribbean origin"
- "Any other mixed or multiple fund"
- "Any other white background"
- "Any other ethnicity"
In 2021, 155,000 people in Wales (5.0% of the population) chose to write with an ethnic identity.
There are many factors that can contribute to the changing ethnic composition of Wales, such as differing patterns of ageing, fertility, mortality and migration. The changes may also be due to differences in the way people identify themselves in the censuses.
Non-Wales ethnic groups
Figure 1: Main categories of ethnic groups in Wales, 2011 and 2021
This bar chart shows how the proportions of average residents identifying with all high-ranking ethnic group categories except "white" increased between 2011 and 2021.
Source: Census 2021
[Note] We have excluded the white high-ranking category from Figure 1 to more clearly see the differences between the four high-ranking groups, which represent a smaller percentage of the total population. 'Asian Welsh' and 'Black Welsh' ethnic groups were only included in the census questionnaire in Wales, these categories were new for 2021.
The proportion of people in Wales who identify themselves in the highest classification category, 'white' (2.9 million, 93.8% of the population) was lower than in 2011 (95.6%). As in 2011, this was much higher than the proportion of people identifying as 'white' in England (81.0%).
Within the top ranked 'white' category, 2.8 million people in Wales identify as 'Welsh, English, Scottish, Northern Irish or British' (90.6% of the total population). This was a drop compared to 2011 (93.2%).
The most common response after "White: Welsh, English, Scottish, Northern Irish or British" was "any other white origin", with 2.7% of the population (83,000) choosing this option. This is an increase compared to 2011 (1.8%). This option allowed respondents to type in their ethnicity, with the most common responses being "Polish" (22,000, 0.7%) and "Romanian" (5,000, 0.2%). In part, the increase in these ethnic groups can be explained by the newSearch as you type functionality (Office of National Statistics)for the 2021 census, making it easier for people to define themselves by completing the census online.
13,000 common Welsh residents reported an 'Irish' ethnicity within the top ranked 'White' category in 2021 (0.4% of the population), fewer than in 2011 (14,000 people, 0.5%).
4,000 Common Welsh residents (0.1%) identified as having a 'Gypsy or Irish Traveler' ethnicity within the larger 'White' category, up from 2011 when nearly 3,000 Common Welsh residents (0.1%) responded to this group ethnic.
In 2021, 'Roma' was listed for the first time as a checkbox category within the senior category 'Whites' on a census form, with nearly 2,000 ordinary Welsh residents (0.1%) identifying with this group. ethnic.
Asian, Asian Welsh or Asian British
The second largest category of senior ethnic groups in Wales was 'Asian, Welsh Asian or British Asian' (89,000, 2.9%), up from 2.3% in 2011. A smaller proportion of people in Wales were classified as 'Asian, identified Asian British Welsh or Asian as in England (9.6%).
The largest ethnic group within the first-tier category of Asian, Welsh Asian, or British Asian was Indian, with 0.7% of common residents (21,000) reporting this ethnicity in 2021. This represents an increase over to 2011, when 17,000 people (0.6%) reported Indian ethnicity.
A similar number of people chose Any Other Asian Origin, allowing them to write in their ethnic group. 21,000 ordinary residents (0.7%) chose this answer in 2021, compared to 2011 (16,000, 0.5%). The most common written responses included "Filipino" (6,000, 0.2%) and "Sri Lankan" (2,000, 0.1%).
The second most common ethnic group within this top-ranked category was 'Pakistani', with 0.6% of the population of Wales (18,000) selecting this ethnic group in 2021. This is an increase of 12,000 (0.4%) in 2011.
15,000 ordinary Welsh residents (0.5%) identified as the 'Bangladeshi' ethnic group in 2021 (up from 0.3% in 2011) and the proportion of people identifying as 'Chinese' increased from 0.4 to 0.5% (14,000 ordinary residents). % in 2011.
Mixed or multiple ethnic groups
49,000 ordinary Welsh residents (1.6%) identified with the senior ethnic group category 'Mixed or Multi-Ethnic Groups' (an increase from 1.0% on 2011). A smaller proportion of people in Wales in 2021 identified as "mixed race or multiracial" than in England (3.0%).
Within the upper-end category, 14,000 ordinary Welsh residents (0.5%) identified themselves as "White and Asian", an increase from 0.3% (9,000) on 2011.
The second most common racial group within the senior mixed or multiple racial category was the Black and White Caribbean. 14,000 (0.4%) of Welsh residents identified with this group in 2021, more people than in 2011, although a similar proportion (11,000, 0.4%).
13,000 people (0.4%) answered “Any other mixed or multiple origin” in 2021, nearly double the 7,000 (0.2%) in 2011. This answer allowed respondents to write in their ethnicity, and the answer most written indicative of ethnicity was “white and Arab” (800 people).
8,000 people (0.3%) identified as "black and white Africans" in 2021, an increase from 4,000 (0.1%) in 2011.
Negro, Welsh Negro, British Negro, Caribbean or African
28,000 ordinary residents of Wales (0.9%) placed themselves in the superior ethnic group category of 'Black, Black Welsh, Black British, Caribbean or African' (an increase from 0.6% on 2011). This was a lower proportion than in England (4.2%), where 'black, British black, Caribbean or African' was the third largest senior ethnic group.
The largest ethnic group within this top-ranked category was the "African" written response, with 20,000 people (0.6%) choosing this option in 2021. By comparison, 0.4% of the population (12,000 ) selected "African" in the 2011 census, although there was no enrollment option for this checkbox in 2011. The most common enrollment responses for the African ethnic group were Nigerian (3,000, 0.1%) and Somali ( 2000, 0.1%). 0.1%).
Nearly 4,000 ordinary Welsh residents (0.1%) chose the written response "Any other Black, British or Black Caribbean origin" in 2021. For comparison, 0.1% of people (3,000) identified with " Any other black, African or Caribbean origin." Fund” in 2011.
4,000 ordinary residents of Wales chose "Caribbean" as their ethnic group in 2021, 0.1% of the population. The number of people who identify themselves in this way has slightly decreased since 2011.
other ethnic group
In 2021, 0.9% of Welsh residents (26,000) identified themselves as belonging to an ethnicity not included in the other senior ethnic group categories, up from 0.5% in 2011 (15,000). This is a lower proportion than in England (2.2%).
Figure 2: Ethnic minority groups in Wales, 2011 and 2021
This bar graph shows how the proportions of average residents who identify as ethnic minorities changed between 2011 and 2021, with the proportions increasing for most ethnic minorities during this period.
Source: Census 2021
[Note] In 2011 there was no Roma checkbox. "White: Welsh, English, Scottish, Northern Irish or British" has been excluded from this table to make differences between ethnic groups more apparent, which make up a smaller proportion of the total population.
Within the high-end category, 15,000 ordinary Welsh residents (0.5%) chose the written response 'Any other ethnicity'. The number of people choosing this option has more than doubled since 2011 (6,000, 0.2%). The most common recorded response was "Kurdish" (2000, 0.1%). The second most common responses (per 1,000 residents) were “Turkish,” “Iranian,” and “Hispanic or Latino” (less than 0.1% each).
0.4% of Welsh residents (12,000) identified with the 'Arab' ethnic group in 2021. This is an increase from 0.3% (10,000) in 2011.
How ethnic group varied in Wales
In almost all local authorities in Wales, more than 80% of the total population identified as high-level 'white', with the exception of Cardiff (79.2%). The Isle of Anglesey (98.1%) had the highest proportion of people identifying with the senior 'white' ethnic group, followed by Blaenau Gwent (97.8%), Caerphilly and Powys (97.7%) , as well as Flintshire and Pembrokeshire (97.6%). ). .
Cardiff (73.6%) was also the only borough where less than 80% of the population identified with the largest ethnic group being 'White: Welsh, English, Scottish, Northern Irish or British'. The Isle of Anglesey again had the highest turnout (96.3%).
Figure 3: Percentage of ordinary Welsh residents who identify with an ethnic minority group, by local authority, 2021
This map shows how the proportion of ordinary residents who identify with an ethnic minority varies by local authority, with urban areas tending to have the highest proportions.
The local authorities with the highest proportions of people identifying with higher-ranking ethnic groups other than "white" tend to be urban areas. Cardiff had the highest proportions of people who classified themselves in the high-level categories of 'Asian, British Asian or Welsh Asian' (9.7%), 'Black, British Black, Welsh Black, Caribbean or African' (3, 8%). Mixed or Multiple “identified ethnic groups” (4.0%) and “other ethnic groups” (3.3%). Newport had the second highest ratio for each of these major ethnic categories. Swansea had the third highest proportion for these categories, with the exception of 'mixed or multiracial' for which the Vale of Glamorgan (2.3%) had the third highest proportion.
The largest minority ethnic group in any parish in Wales was 'White: Other White'. The proportion of the population identifying with this ethnic group was highest in Wrexham (4.8%) and also exceeded 3% in Cardiff, Newport, Flintshire, Ceredigion, Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea local authorities.
Within the senior 'white' ethnic group, the local authority with the highest proportion of people reporting an 'Irish Gypsy or Traveler' ethnic group was Pembrokeshire (0.5%), while Conwy had the highest proportion of people reporting they identified themselves as "Irish". . (0.7%) and Newport of those who identify as “gypsies” (0.3%).
While Newport had the highest proportion of people identifying as "Pakistani" (3.0%), Cardiff had the highest proportion of people identifying with other ethnic groups within the top ranked category of "Asian, Welsh Asian or British Asian". groups identified in the categories of high level black, Welsh black, British black, Caribbean or African, mixed or multiple ethnic groups and other ethnic groups. The largest ethnic groups in Cardiff within these senior categories were 'African' (2.9%), Indian and Pakistani (2.4% each).
Outside of Cardiff, Swansea had the highest proportion of people identifying as "Arabs" and "Chinese". The largest proportions of the remaining ethnic groups within the top-level categories of Asian, Asian Welsh or Asian British, Black, Black Welsh, Black British, Caribbean or African, Mixed or Multi-Ethnic and Other Ethnic groups were in Newport.
Identification of ethnic groups within families in Wales
The census also provides information on the identification of ethnic groups within the 918,000 households of more than one person in Wales (68.1% of all occupied households). For the most part, all household members identified with the same ethnic group in the 19-category classification (847,000 households, 62.9% of all households). a slightly higher proportion in 2011 of households all had household members who identified with the same ethnic group (65.0%). This does not include the almost 430,000 single-person households in 2021 (31.9%).
In Wales, 5.3% of households were multi-ethnic in 2021, up from 4.2% in 2011 and below the proportion of English households (10.4%).
The 2021 census provides information on three combinations of ethnic group identification and relationships in households with more than one person.
- Ethnic groups differ between generations, but not within associations (0.9% of all households)
- Ethnic groups differ in associations (3.2%)
- Any other combination of multiple ethnic identities (1.2%)
In Wales, the percentage of multi-ethnic households ranged from 2.5% of all households in Blaenau Gwent to 11.6% in Cardiff.
The issue of the national identity census was introduced in 2011 due to increased interest in "national" consciousness and the need for people to be able to recognize their national identity. Respondents can check all identities applicable to the question.
In our2021 Census Bulletin on Demography and Migration in WalesWe summarize data on demographics and migration in Wales, including an overview of the non-UK-born population. In this newsletter we show that more ordinary Welsh residents were born outside the UK in 2021 than in 2011 and that a higher percentage of people born in England live in Wales. These demographic trends may explain some of the trends discussed below in how people describe their national identity.
National identity in Wales
55.2% of the Welsh population (1.7 million) chose only a 'Welsh' identity in 2021, up from 57.5% (1.8 million) in 2011. 8.1% of the population ( 251,000) in Wales chose both a 'Welsh' identity and a 'Welsh identity. "British identity", up from 7.1% (218,000 people) in 2011. Wales had a higher proportion of the population associated with a British identity (95.8%) than England (90.0%), although this proportion has declined since 2011 (96.6%). ).
18.5% of the population of Wales identified with a 'British only' identity (574,000 people), up from 16.9% in 2011. This is a significantly lower proportion than in England (56.8%), which nearly tripled in the decade. This may have been the result of social, legal or demographic changes, but it may also be an artifact of changes in the structure of the national identity question in England. In England, the 'British' checkbox was the first answer choice on the 2021 census questionnaire, whereas in 2011 it was the penultimate answer choice. In Wales, "British" remained the second to last answer choice, while Welsh was the first. For more information, see theNational Identity, Ethnicity, Language, and Religion Issues Development Report for the 2021 Census (Office of National Statistics).
Figure 4: UK national identities in Wales, 2011 and 2021
This bar chart shows the proportion of ordinary Welsh residents identifying with British national identities in 2021 and how this has changed since 2011.
Source: Census 2021
The most common British identity in Wales in 2021, other than 'Welsh only' or 'British only', was only 'English' at 9.1% of the population (283,000 common residents), up from 11.2% in 2011 1.8% of the population selected 'English' and 'British' identities (55,000 common residents), an increase from 1.5% on 2011. 1.9% of the population identified with other British identities or combinations of identities British in 2021, compared to 1.5% in 2011.
Overall, 168,000 ordinary residents (5.4%) in Wales chose at least one non-British national identity. This has increased since 2011, when 118,000 people (3.8%) in Wales chose at least one non-British national identity. This group includes ordinary residents of Wales who have not identified as British, ie H. who have associated themselves with only one non-British identity or several non-British identities. The proportion of the population that does not identify with a British identity has also increased, from 3.4% in 2011 to 4.2% in 2021.
Figure 5: Top 10 non-British identities in Wales, 2021
This bar chart shows the 10 most common non-British identities reported by average Welsh residents in 2021. As of 2011, "Polish" was the most common non-British national identity.
Source: Census 2021
In 2021, the most common non-British identity among people without a British identity in Wales was "Poland" (21,000, 0.7%). This is up from 2011 (19,000, 0.6%) when it was also the most common identity outside the UK. The second most common non-British identities were "Irish" (9,000, 0.3%), "Romanian" (7,000, 0.2%) and "Indian" (6,000, 0.2%).
The identities with the largest relative increases over the decade were “Romanians” (7,000 people in 2021, more than five times the number in 2011) and “Hong Kong Chinese” (900 people, more than seven times the number in 2011). 2011). These increases are likely due to the lifting of work restrictions for Romanian citizens in 2014 and the change in UK government policy on visas for UK citizens (overseas), which has led to an increase in the number of Hong Kong people. a Decided to emigrate to the United Kingdom.
How national identity changed in Wales
Some of the areas with the highest percentages of the population identifying with a purely 'Welsh' identity were the South Wales Valleys. These included Merthyr Tydfil (70.0%), Rhondda Cynon Taf (69.8%) and Caerphilly (69.2%). The Welsh local authority with the lowest proportion of people with a purely 'Welsh' identity was Flintshire, on the border with England (34.7%), by a wide margin. The percentage of people reporting only a 'Welsh' identity was higher in any Welsh local government than in any English local government.
Four local authorities in North Wales saw notable increases in the proportion of their population identifying only with a 'Welsh' identity in 2021: the Isle of Anglesey (0.9 percentage point increase to 55.6%), Denbighshire (0.6 percentage point increase to 44.7%). , Conwy (up 0.4 percentage points to 42.0%) and Gwynedd (up 0.2 percentage points to 59.3%). Apart from Ceredigion, where very little has changed, the proportion of those who identify only with a 'Welsh' identity has decreased in all other local authorities between 2011 and 2021 percentage points to 50.9%), Blaenau Gwent ( 4.5 percentage points to 68.0%) and Cardiff (3.7 percentage points less to 46.7%).
Figure 6: Proportion of people who identify with only a 'Welsh' identity, by local authority, 2021
This map shows the proportion of people in local authorities who declared a uniquely Welsh identity in 2021. Some of the areas with the highest percentage of population identified in this way were the South Wales Valleys.
By contrast, all local authorities have seen increases in the proportion of people identifying as 'Welsh' and 'British', with the largest increases in Torfaen (1.9 percentage points to 10.1%), Rhonda Cynon Taf (increase of 1.6 percentage points to 10.1%). 9.8%) and Conwy (increase of 1.4 percentage points to 5.8%).
Similarly, the proportion of people identifying as 'British' increased only in all local authorities between 2011 and 2021, with around a quarter of people identifying as 'British' increasing only in Monmouthshire (27, 0%), Flintshire (25.8%), Powys (24.4%) and Conwy (24.3%). The lowest proportion of only 'British' identities were in Merthyr Tydfil (10.9%).
Caerphilly (98.4%), the Isle of Anglesey (98.2%) and Torfaen (98.1%) had the highest proportions of people identifying with at least one British identity, while Cardiff (90.0%) %), Newport (92.8%), Swansea and Wrexham (94.1% each) had the lowest proportions. Cardiff (12.5%), Newport (8.8%) and Swansea (7.4%) had the highest proportions of people who identified with at least one non-British identity.
The highest concentrations of people who identified as 'Polish' were in Wrexham (2.4%), Merthyr Tydfil (1.9%) and Flintshire (1.4%). Eight other local authorities (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Newport, Blaenau Gwent, Swansea, Cardiff, Powys and Bridgend) had at least 0.5% of the population identifying as 'Polish'.
Other notable concentrations of national identity groups outside the UK are "Chinese" (0.6%) and "Indian" (0.7%) in Cardiff, "Romanians" in Newport and Flintshire (0.6% each) , "Portuguese" in Wrexham (0.6%) and Merthyr Tydfil (0.5%) and "Irish" in Conwy (0.5%).
In Wales, people were asked if their primary language was not English or Welsh. Therefore it is not possible to deduce from this question how many people in Wales consider Welsh to be their primary language. There was a separate question for people in Wales about their Welsh language skills. This question was not asked in England. We will be publishing information about Welsh language proficiency in Wales on December 6, 2022.
However, Welsh was not included in the Main Language of England checkbox text, allowing us to determine how many common residents of England wrote Welsh as their main language. In 2021, 7,000 people in England (less than 0.1%) said Welsh was their main language. Bristol, Cheshire West and Chester, Shropshire and Liverpool had the highest proportions of people with Welsh as their primary language (0.1% each).
People in Wales who reported neither English nor Welsh as their primary language were asked to indicate how well they spoke English. They could choose between “very good”, “good”, “not good” or “not good”. This allowed people who did not report English or Welsh as their primary language, but who are able to speak English fluently, to indicate that they spoke English well or very well.
In Wales, 96.7% of ordinary residents (2.9 million) aged three years and over speak English or Welsh as their primary language, slightly less than 97.1% in 2011. This was a higher proportion than English from any region.
Of the 101,000 people in Wales who did not choose either English or Welsh as their primary language in 2021, 78.0% (78,000) said they spoke English well or very well, similar to 2011 (77.1%, 65 000). 22.0% of people who did not choose English or Welsh as their main language did not speak English very well or at all (22,000 people).
Figure 7: Top 10 languages other than English and Welsh in Wales, 2021
This bar chart shows the 10 most frequent languages other than English or Welsh in Wales in 2021. Polish was the 10 most frequently mentioned language other than Welsh or English.
Source: Census 2021
As in 2011, Polish was the most common primary language in 2021, after English or Welsh, for 0.7% of the population (21,000). This is an increase from 2011 (17,000, 0.6%). Arabic was the second most widely spoken primary language in Wales (9,000, 0.3%), up from 0.2% in 2011.
In addition to the languages spoken, British Sign Language (BSL) was the preferred language of 900 (0.03%) common residents aged three years and over in Wales. This is a small increase from 800 in 2011. Another 300 ordinary residents who chose a non-spoken language as their primary language reported using a sign language or non-BSL communication system.
How the language has changed in Wales
The Isle of Anglesey (99.1%), Caerphilly (98.8%) and Pembrokeshire (98.6%) had the highest proportions of people whose primary language was English or Welsh in 2021. While the Isle of Anglesey and Caerphilly were among the four local authorities with the highest attendance in 2011, Pembrokeshire previously had the eighth highest attendance.
As in 2011, urban local authorities had a lower proportion of people whose primary language was English or Welsh, with Cardiff (91.1%), Newport (93.5%), Wrexham (94.9%) and Swansea (95.2%) with the lowest proportions of any local authority in Wales.
The Isle of Anglesey (99.1%), Pembrokeshire (98.6%) and Gwynedd (97.5%) were the only local authorities in Wales where the proportion of people whose primary language was English or Welsh between 2011 and 2021 increased 0.1% for each point. Denbighshire (98.3%) and Ceredigion (97.1%) have changed little since 2011, while the proportion of the population with English or Welsh as their primary language in all other local authorities has decreased. The largest declines were seen in Newport (93.5%) and Flintshire (96.3%), each 1.6 percentage points less than in 2011.
Figure 8: Proportion of Welsh residents without English or Welsh as their primary language, by local authority and English proficiency, 2021
This bar chart shows the proportion of people who do not speak English or Welsh as their primary language in each local government and their level of English proficiency. Urban areas had the highest proportion of people without English or Welsh as their primary language.
Source: Census 2021
The highest proportions of people who did not choose English or Welsh as their primary language and reported being able to speak English well or very well were in Cardiff (6.9%), Newport (5.0%), Wrexham (3, 8%) and Swansea (3.7%). %). In 2011, these were also the municipalities with the highest participation. In all other municipalities, the proportion was below 3%.
The local authorities with the highest proportions of people who do not speak English or Welsh as their primary language and do not speak English well or at all were Cardiff (1.9%), Newport (1.5%), Wrexham (1.3 %)), Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil (1.1% each). While in Cardiff, Newport, Wrexham and Swansea this proportion has increased since 2011, Merthyr Tydfil has observed that the proportion of people who do not speak English or Welsh as their primary language, and who speak little or no English, has decreased by 1.3 %.
As in 2011, the local authorities in Wales with the highest proportion of people choosing Polish as their main language were Wrexham (2.5%) and Merthyr Tydfil (1.9%). Of all the other major languages except English or Welsh, Polish was the most widely spoken in any Wrexham local government. The largest increases in the number of people speaking Polish as their primary language since 2011 were seen in Flintshire (850 people increased to 1.4%) and Newport (800 people increased to 1.0%).
The Welsh local authority with the highest proportion of Arabic speakers was Cardiff (1.4%), the same as in 2011 (1.1%). This was more than double the share of the next highest local authority (Swansea, 0.5%).
Other notable populations with a non-British primary language include those whose primary language is Chinese in Cardiff (0.7%), Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya) in Cardiff (0.6%), and Newport (0.5%) and the Portuguese at Wrexham and Merthyr Tydfil. is (0.5% each).
Some local authorities also had notable populations speaking language groups from specific geographic areas. Cardiff had the highest proportion of people speaking African languages (0.5%), West or Central Asian languages (0.6%) and all other South Asian languages (0.5%). Many local authorities had notable populations reporting other European Union languages, with Newport having the highest proportion (1.9%). These language groups exclude the most common responses (eg Polish as an EU language).
Overall, in 96.2% of Welsh households (1.3 million households), all common residents reported English or Welsh as their primary language, a lower proportion than in 2011 (96.7% ). Another 1.5% (20,000) of households had at least one adult, but not all adults reported English or Welsh as their primary language, and 0.5% (7,000) of households had no adults but at least one child spoke English or Welsh. your primary language. The remaining 1.8% (25,000) of households had no residents stating English or Welsh as their primary language, which is similar to 2011 (1.7%, 22,000).
In Wales, 3.8% (52,000) of households had a common resident whose primary language was neither English nor Welsh, an increase of 0.6 percentage points from 2011 (3.3%, 43,000).
The proportion of households in which all habitual residents indicated English or Welsh as their primary language ranged from 98.8% on the Isle of Anglesey to 89.4% in Cardiff.
The 2001 census introduced an optional question on religion. In census data, religion refers to that of a personReligious affiliation (National Statistics Office). This is the religion with which they associate or identify, not their active religious belief or practice.
Overall, 2.9 million respondents in Wales (93.7%) chose to answer the religion question in 2021, while 195,000 (6.3%) chose not to. More people answered than in 2011, when 2.8 million (92.4%) answered the question about religion and 234,000 (7.6%) chose not to.
religion in wales
In 2021, the number of people in Wales reporting "no religion" was greater than those reporting any individual religious affiliation, with 46.5% of the population (1.4 million) reporting "no religion". This is an increase of 14.5 percentage points from 2011 (32.1%, 983,000). This increase was also seen in England (an increase of 11.9 percentage points over the decade to 36.7%), although those who identify as 'Christian' remain the largest group in England.
Figure 9: Religious composition of Wales, 2011 and 2021
This bar chart shows how responses to the question about religion in 2021 have changed since 2011. There was a large increase in those identifying as "no religion," accompanied by a decrease in those identifying as "Christian."
Source: Census 2021
The increase in the number of people declaring “no religion” was accompanied by a decrease in the number of people identifying as “Christian”. In Wales, less than half the population (43.6%, 1.4 million people) identified as “Christian” in 2021. Having previously accounted for more than half of the responses in the 2011 census, this represented a decrease of 14.0 percentage points over the decade. , from 57.6% (1.8 million) in 2011. The proportion of people reporting in Wales is lower than in England (46.3%), where “Christian” remains the most common response in 2021, despite a similar decline over the decade.
The second highest religious affiliation in Wales was 'Muslim', with 2.2% of the population (67,000) identifying with that affiliation in 2021. This is an increase from 1.5% (46,000) on 2011.
The proportions of the population identifying with other identifiable religious groups have changed little since 2011.
- 12,000 people identified as "Hindu" (0.4%)
- 10,000 people identified as "Buddhists" (0.3%)
- 4,000 people identified as "Sikh" (0.1%)
- 2,000 people described themselves as "Jewish" (0.1%).
A person can identify their religion through the checkboxes or by registering by selecting "Register any other religion". For more information, see the ONS blog post on the topic of census religion.
The most common written responses in Wales were "pagan" (5,000, 0.2%), "spiritualist" (2,000, 0.1%) and "spiritual" (2,000, 0.1%).
How religion varied in Wales
The proportion of the population identifying as 'Christian' decreased in Welsh local authorities between 2011 and 2021. The three local authorities with the largest relative declines in the proportion of people identifying as 'Christian' in England and Wales were all in Wales: Blaenau Gwent (from 49.9% in 2011 to 36.5% in 2021), Caerphilly (from 50.7% in 2011 to 36.4% in 2021) and Merthyr Tydfil (from 56.0% in 2011 to 40.1% in 2021).
Figure 10: Percentage of people reporting 'no religion' in Wales, by local authority, 2021
This map shows that valley areas in South Wales had the highest proportions reporting 'no religion'.
Local authorities with the highest proportion of people declaring "no religion" were very similar to those that saw the largest decline in those who identified as "Christian." These included Caerphilly (56.7% reporting "no religion"), Blaenau Gwent (56.4%) and Rhondda Cynon Taf (56.2%).
The urban areas of Wales were the most religiously diverse. For example, Cardiff had the highest proportion of people identifying as "Muslim" (9.3%), "Hindu" (1.5%) and "Sikh" (0.4%) and the second highest proportion of people who identified themselves as Buddhists (0.4%). . . Newport and Swansea had the second and third highest proportions of people identifying as "Muslim" and "Hindu", respectively. Ceredigion had the highest proportion of the population identifying with 'Buddhism' (0.5%) and with a religion other than those mentioned in marked responses (0.9%).
The 2021 census reported for the first time the religious composition of households and how it varied in Wales. Each of the following family categories may include people who have not declared a religion.
Overall, 25.5% of households (344,000 households) were multi-person households whose members declared “no religion”, while 26.4% (356,000) were multi-person households whose members declared having the same religion.
In 13.8% of Welsh households (185,000), members reported a mix of religion and "no religion" and 0.6% (8,000) reported reporting at least two different religions. 1.8% of households (25,000) consisted of members, none of whom reported any religion. The remaining 31.9% (430,000) were single-person households.
For complete information on quality and methodology, including a glossary of terms, seeInformation Report and Quality Methods ONS. Learn more about specific quality considerations forEthnicity, National Identity, Language and Religion (Office for National Statistics).
You can find more information about our quality control processes atMethodology to maximize the quality of population estimates for the 2021 Census (National Statistics Office).
Population trends in certain areas may reflect how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected people's choice of habitual residence on Census Day. These changes may have been temporary for some and more lasting for others.
More data from the 2021 census, including information on topics such as the Welsh language, will be released from November. For more information on the available data and analysis, seeONS release plans.
For a full glossary of terms, seeDictionary of the ONS Census 2021.
The ethnic group to which the enumerator feels they belong. This could be based on your culture, family history, identity, or physical appearance.
Respondents could select one of 19 selectable response categories, including optional response options.
Multiple ethnic groups in households
Classifies households according to whether household members belong to the same or different ethnic groups. When multiple ethnic groups are present, this identifies whether they differ between generations or associations within the family.
An ordinary resident is anyone who was in the UK on Census Day 21 March 2021 and had been or intended to be in the UK for a period of 12 months or more or had a permanent UK address. UK and you were outside the UK and intended to be in the UK. be outside the UK for less than 12 months.
A person's national identity is a self-determined assessment of their identity; it could be the country or countries they feel they belong to or consider home. It is regardless of ethnicity or citizenship.
English language proficiency
How well people whose primary language is not English or Welsh (English in England) speak English.
Home language classifies households according to the mix of adults and children within a household who have English or Welsh (or only English in England) as their primary language. The home language uses the alternate definition of adult and child used in a small number of census results.
A person's first or preferred language.
Multiple primary languages in the house
Sorts families based on whether members speak the same or a different primary language. When multiple primary languages are spoken, this identifies whether they differ between generations or associations within the family.
It ranks families based on whether members identify with the same religion, belong to no religion, did not answer the question, or a combination of these. This question was voluntary and the variable includes those who answered the question and those who chose not to answer.
The religion with which people associate or identify (their religious affiliation), regardless of whether they practice or believe in it.
This question was voluntary and the variable includes people who answered the question, including “No religion”, as well as people who chose not to answer this question.
This variable sorts responses into the eight checkbox response options. Responses entered are ordered by the religion of the "Parents", including "No Religion" where applicable.
State of national statistics
OUK statistical authoritydesignated these statistics as national statistics under the Statistical and Registration Services Act 2007 and signifies compliance with theCode of practice for statistics.
The status of National Statistics means that official statistics meet the highest standards of reliability, quality and public value.
All official statistics must comply with all aspects of the Statistics Code of Practice. They are granted national statistical status after an assessment by the UK Statistics Authority regulator. The agency verifies that the statistics meet the highest standards of compliance with the Code, including the added value they add to public decisions and debates.
It is the responsibility of the Welsh Government to maintain compliance with the expected standards of national statistics. If we have concerns about whether these statistics still meet appropriate standards, we will immediately raise any concerns with the agency. The status of national statistics can be removed at any time if the higher standards are not met and reset when the standards are reset.
The designation of these statistics as national statistics was confirmed to the ONS in June 2022, following afull evaluation against the code of conduct of the Statistical Regulation Office.
Well-being for Future Generations (WFG) Act
The Future Generations Well-being Act 2015 aims to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. The Act sets out seven health targets for Wales. These are for a more equal, prosperous, resilient, healthy and globally responsible Wales, with cohesive communities, a vibrant culture and a thriving Welsh language. Section (10)(1) of the Act requires Welsh ministers to (a) publish indicators ('national indicators') to be used for the purpose of measuring progress towards welfare targets and (b) submit a copy of the national indicators before the Senedd Cymru. If Welsh ministers review the national indicators, they are required by Section 10(8) of the Future Generations Well-being Act to (a) publish the revised indicators and (b) send a copy of them to Senedd as soon as possible. These national indicators were presented to the Senedd in 2021. The indicators defined on December 14, 2021 replace the one defined on March 16, 2016.
Information about the indicators, as well as descriptions of each of the well-being goals and related technical information, is available atWales Wellness Report.
More information aboutWelfare for Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
The statistics included in this release may also support national indicators and be used by public service agencies in connection with their local wellness assessments and local wellness plans.