2011 Census: Ethnicity Overview

The England and Wales census first asked the ethnic group question in 1991. The ethnic group question provides information on the population’s ethnic characteristics which can be used by private and public organisations to monitor equal opportunities and anti-discrimination policies, and to plan for the future through resource allocation and informing provision of services. Since 1991 the number of tick boxes has grown from nine to 18 in 2011, with some changes to tick box labels, placement and question instructions.  Changes to the questionnaire were made to improve data collection and accuracy of the results, which means direct comparability of 2011 and 2001 statistics has been affected.


Over the last two decades England and Wales became more ethnically diverse.  In Sandwell, while White continued to be the majority ethnic group people identify with, it decreased over the last two decades. In 1991, the White ethnic group accounted for 85.3% of the population (94.1% nationally). Between 1991 and 2001, the White ethnic group decreased to 79.7% (91.3% nationally). The trend continued between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses, with a further decrease to 69.9% (86.0% nationally). Within the White ethnic group, White British had decreased from 78.0% in 2001 to 65.8% in 2011.

So for 2011, in Sandwell overall 34.2% of residents are from Minority Ethnic groups (that is, all ethnic groups other than White British).

Within the borough, with the exception of Smethwick, Sandwell towns have seen increases in the proportion of residents in all Minority Ethnic groups, and a contrasting decline in the White British group since 2001.

  • Smethwick town has the highest ranked proportion of residents from Minority Ethnic groups in Sandwell.  These groups make up 62.1% of the town’s population,  which is considerably higher than West Bromwich town which ranks second with 40.9% of its population from Minority Ethnic groups.
  • The town of Rowley has the highest proportion of residents within the White British ethnic group of any town in Sandwell, with 85.9% of the population being part of this group compared to 65.8% for Sandwell as a whole.
  • More detailed categories of Ethnic Group have been released in two tables which can be downloaded here.  

    One contains a more detailed breakdown of the standard Census Ethnic Group categories and the other contains the write-in responses from the Census form, without reference to the five broad ethnic groups categories.

    Workday Population

    Considering Sandwell's workday population (that is all those who are either in employment in Sandwell, or not in employment but live here), 67.7% are White British, slightly higher than for residents. 9.5% of Sandwell's workday population is Indian, whilst 4.7% is Pakistani and 3% of 'Other White' origin.

    84.8% of the workday population was born in the United Kingdom, a similar proportion to residents.