Census 2021: Ethnicity

***includes interactive maps***

In November 2022, ONS released the long-awaited ethnicity and national identity population data for England and Wales. Up to date population statistics are extremely important for public services, including housing, allowing organisations to plan delivery and budgets.  Population diversity data helps us analyse how different groups are represented amongst staff, boards and tenants. Tai Pawb has analysed the specific data as it relates to Wales below.

Wales is slightly more ethnically diverse

The percentage of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people increased in the last 10 years.

  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (excluding White ethnic minority groups) increased from 4.4% in 2011 to 6.3% in 2021 (from 135,000 to 191,500 people).
  • However, if you include white ethnic minorities, the total population of Black, Asian and ethnic minority people changed from 6.8% of Wales’ population in 2011 to 9.6% in 2021 (from 208,000 to 293,000)



Data source: Census 2021

White ethnic minorities include groups which identify as White other than White Welsh, British, English, Scottish or Northern Irish. Therefore, White ethnic minority groups consist of those who identified as White Irish, Roma, Gypsies or Travellers and White Other category.

High level groups from largest to smallest

High level groups combine a number of subcategories which are discussed in further sections. High level ethnic minority groups are: Asian groups, Black groups, Mixed/Multiple Ethnic Groups, Other ethnic groups and White groups which are not White British, English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish (comprising of Irish, Roma, Gypsies and Travellers and White other category which mainly consists of white migrants)

Groups from largest to smallest are as follows:

  • People identifying as ‘White’ but other than British, Welsh, English, Scottish and Northern Irish (so those who identified as White: Irish, Roma, Gypsies and Travellers and White Other). They constitute 3.3% of Welsh population equating to nearly 102,000 people.
  • The second largest ethnic minority groups are Asian groups, constituting 2.9 % of Welsh population (89,000 people).
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups constitute 1.6% of Welsh population (48,000 people)
  • Smallest groups are: Black groups (0.9%, 27,000 people) and Other ethnic group also at 0.9% (26,500 people).

High level groups: how have they changed?

White ethnic minority groups have seen the biggest increase in numbers, rising by 0.9% in the past 10 years. This is followed by Asian groups and people with Mixed/Multiple ethnicity – both of which saw an increase of 0.6%. Black groups saw the smallest increase of 3% from 2011 to 2021.

Data source: Census 2021

Detailed ethnic groups: largest and smallest

The groups demonstrated above are the so called ‘high level’ groups. When people completed Census 2021 surveys, they were able to self-identify based on more detailed categories. Each of the high-level groups above can be broken down into more specific ethnicities. So which groups are the largest and which saw the biggest change?

The three most sizeable groups are:

  • White other: 2.7% of population (with largest groups there being Polish and Romanian)
  • Indian: 0.7% of population
  • Pakistani: 0.6% of population
  • African: 0.6% of population

The least sizeable groups are:

  • Caribbean, Other Black, Roma and Gypsies and Travellers with each comprising 0.1% of Welsh population according to the Census.

Detailed groups: how have they changed relative to Welsh population?

The below figures illustrate the changes in groups relative to Welsh population, i.e. which groups increased as a share of total Welsh population and which shrunk.

The groups which saw the biggest increases as a proportion of Welsh population are:

  • White other with 0.9% increase as a proportion of population (largest groups are Polish and Romanian)
  • Any other ethnic group with 0.3% increase as a proportion of population (these are people who did not identify with any of the other categories)

Groups that have decreased their proportion of Welsh population were:

  • White: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British – shrunk by 2.6% as a proportion of Welsh population
  • White Irish – shrunk by 0.1% as a proportion of Welsh population

Detailed groups: which ones have seen fastest/slowest increases relative to group size?

Some groups might have seen a big increase relative to their own size but still comprise a low proportion of Welsh population.  Below are the groups which saw highest increases/decreases relative to their own size.

Fastest growing groups: groups with largest increases relative to their own size:

  • People who identified as ‘Any other ethnic group’: despite comprising only 0.5% of Welsh population, this group was close to tripling in size (from 5,500 people in 2011 to nearly 15,000 people in 2021). These are people who did not identify with any of the specific ethnic categories and are part of the ethnic minority cohort.
  • People who identified as ‘Other mixed/multiple ethnic groups’: despite comprising only 0.4% of Welsh population, this group was close to doubling in size (from 6900 in 2011 to 12,700 in 2021)
  • People who identified as ‘Mixed White and Black African’: again despite only comprising 0.3% of Welsh population, this group was close to doubling in size (from 4,400 in 2011 to 8,000 in 2021)
  • People who identified as Black African: while comprising 0.6% of Welsh population, this group increased by 67% (from nearly 12,000 in 2011 to nearly 20,000 in 2021)

While there were groups which shrunk in size, the decreases in numbers relative to group size were not as pronounced:

  • Group of people identifying as White Irish decreased by 6.2% relative to group size (from 14,000 to 13,000 people)
  • Group of people identifying as Black Caribbean decreased by 2.9% relative to group size (from 3800 to 3700 people)
  • People who identified as White English, British, Welsh, Northern Irish or Scottish – so the ethnic majority group only decreased by 1.4% relative to group size (from 2,85 mln to 2.81 mln in 2021).

Ethnic diversity at local authority level

ONS has issued a useful interactive maps where you can check numbers and proportions of ethnic groups by Local Authority areas and smaller areas called MSOA’s. The map is a useful tool and you can use it below. We will provide analysis soon.

High level ethnic groups – local authority interactive map


Detailed ethnic groups – local authority interactive map

Where can I find and analyse the Census 2021 data?

If you want to analyse the data yourself, use Query data function on Nomis website.

Will Tai Pawb publish more information?

More data will be released in 2023 and we will publish our analysis on these pages, watch this space…

How can I use this data?

If you are interested in finding out more about how this data can be used as part of your organisation’s equality monitoring or customer profiling:


Need further information or advice, contact

Tai Pawb

Members Helpline


029 2105 7957


Please note the material in this section is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Tai Pawb is not responsible for the content of external resources.