Wakefield District has a relatively small but growing ethnic minority population. In 2001, 3.3% of the population defined their ethnicity as other than White British; by the 2011 Census this proportion had increased to 7.2%. The largest minority group is now 'Other White', while the largest group born outside the UK are people born in Poland.

Population size in 2011, by ethnicity. Source: Census 2011

Understanding changes in the District's ethnicity profile between Census days requires consideration of what we know about patterns of migration alongside analysis of other census-like data. The annual census of children in schools is one such source and this shows that in 2018 11.1% of primary pupils and 7.1% of secondary pupils now have a first language that is known or believed to be other than English. This is indicative of the increase in numbers of young people from minority ethnic groups, especially since EU enlargement. The numbers of children from ‘any other white background’ has increased nearly twelve-fold since 2005, and there have other significant increases in the numbers of pupils of mixed, Asian and Black ethnicity (see table below). There have also been increases in the number of gypsy or Roma children, although the number of these pupils remains relatively small.

Pupil ethnicity in state-funded primary and secondary schools. Source: Department for Education

As a consequence of increasing ethnic diversity there are now many languages spoken within the District. In 2011, for just over 11,000 residents English was not the main language spoken. The most common non-English main languages were Polish, Urdu, Latvian, Lithuanian and Kurdish.