Dual citizens living in England and Wales: Census 2021

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Dual citizens living in England and Wales: Census 2021

31 August 2023

Today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published an article on dual citizens living in England and Wales: Census 2021. This is the fourth of a series of detailed articles on the topic of international migration that we are producing using data from Census 2021.

The analysis in this article looks at multiple passports held from the Census 2021 data, allowing us to look at the characteristics of UK dual citizens. It includes information on passports held, country of birth and national identity, as well as other characteristics of the dual citizen population.

The main findings from the analysis presented in this article include:

  • In 2021, across England and Wales, 1.26 million usual residents held multiple passports (2.1%), up from 612,000 (1.1%) in 2011. 
  • 1.2% of UK-born residents were UK-other dual citizens (587,600), rising from 0.5% in 2011 (231,600); for non-UK-born residents, 6.5% were UK-other dual citizens in 2021 (648,700), rising from 5.1% in 2011 (381,200).  
  • The number of UK-EU passports held increased by five times for UK-born residents and threefold for non-UK-born residents since 2011; UK-Irish passports also saw a fivefold increase for UK-born residents.  
  • Increases in UK-born UK-EU dual citizens were driven by younger age groups, suggesting increases in the EU-born population have led to a higher number of children eligible for dual nationality; UK-Irish dual citizens were much older. 
  • Naturalisation among non-UK-born residents was not limited to dual citizens, with over half of non-EU-born single passport holders having a UK-only passport; this was much lower for EU-born single passport holders. 
  • The majority of UK-other dual citizens identified with a UK national identity, and this increased notably the longer people had lived in the UK; UK identity was stronger for non-EU passport holders than EU passport holders.

Read the article

Jay Lindop

Jay Lindop is head of the Centre for International Migration.You can follow Jay on Twitter for the latest in migration statistics news @JayLindop_ONS.

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