• In the 2021 Census 88.2% of Wakefield District residents identified as ‘White: British, English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish’ ethnicity.
  • The proportion of the population from an ethnic minority background has increased over time in Wakefield, from 7.2% in the 2011 Census to 11.8% in the 2021 Census.
  • The most commonly reported ethnic minority groups in Wakefield were ‘White: Polish’ (2.1%) and ‘Asian or Asian British: Pakistani or British Pakistani’ (2.0%)
  • In the 2021 Census 8.5% of people in Wakefield reported being born outside the UK.
  • In the school census, which is carried out annually by the Department of Education, 81.2% of pupils in Wakefield were of White British ethnicity, compared to the figure for England of 63.9%.


It is important to understand the ethnic make-up of the Wakefield District as some minority ethnic groups have been shown to have poorer health outcomes in England [1]. There are many reasons why this may be the case including differences in access to services and service uptake, communication and language issues, differences in culture and attitudes, socio-economic factors and differences in disease prevalence [2]. Identifying the different ethnic groups living in Wakefield can help understand where additional support or services may be required.

One of the most comprehensive sources of information about the ethnicity of people living Wakefield is the UK Census which takes place every ten years. Those completing the census are asked to identify their ethnicity as part of completing the questionnaire as well as country of birth, passports held, national identity and religion [3]. Information from the Census shows that 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; in the 2011 Census this proportion had increased to 7.2% and in the latest 2021 Census this has increased to 11.8%. The most common other ethnicities in the latest Census were ‘White: Polish’ (2.1%) and ‘Asian or Asian British: Pakistani or British Pakistani’ (2.0%). The 2021 Census also showed that 8.5% of people living in the Wakefield district reported being born outside the UK. This is an increase of 3.1 percentage points from the 2011 census when the figure was 5.4%. A total of 6.0% of people reported holding a non-UK passport an increase of 3.0% from 2011 when the last Census was carried out [4].

The Office for National Statistics has created interactive maps to allow exploration of the different Census information including ethnicity which can be found by following this link [5]. Note: The Census used disclosure control to prevent identification of individual households; this included swapping records and adding changes to some small counts [6]:

Ethnicity across Wakefield

The information from the 2021 Census also allows us to explore ethnicity at a smaller area level, including middle super output area (MSOA), there are 45 MSOAs in the Wakefield district. The map shows that the majority of Wakefield residents are White British, the areas with the highest ethnic minority populations are close to Wakefield city centre including Wakefield Central, Agbrigg & Belle Isle and Eastmoor.

Ethnicity information from the School Census

Further sources of information about the ethnic breakdown of the population in Wakefield include the annual census of children in schools which schools and local authorities are required to provide to the Department for Education (DfE), this includes information on the ethnicity of pupils and languages spoken by pupils [7]. In the 2020/21 school census 81.9% of children were of White British ethnicity, with 5.4% identified as ‘White-other’, 4.6% having Asian ethnicity and 1.9% of Black ethnicity.


Source: Department of Education, School census data, 2021-2022

In the 2021-22 school year in Wakefield a total of 5,849 children had a first language other than English, 10.7% of the total, this was lower than the percentages for Yorkshire and Humber (16.5%) and England (19.5%) as a whole.


Source: Department of Education, School census data, 2021-2022


  1. Public Health England, accessed 16/11/2022, Health Inequalities : reducing ethnic inequalities.
  2. Patient UK, accessed 16/11/2022, Different Ethnic Groups and Health Outcomes.
  3. Office for National Statistics, accessed 16/11/2022, Census 2021 Paper Questionnaires.
  4. Office for National Statistics, accessed 15/11/2022, International migration, England and Wales: Census 2021.
  5. Office for National Statistics, accessed 06/12/2022, Census 2021: Census Maps for Wakefield.
  6. Office for National Statistics, accessed 06/12/2022, Design for Census 2021: Section 5. Outputs and disclosure control.
  7. Department for Education, accessed 16/11/2022, Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics, 2020/2021,


The 2021 Census interactive results maps
The 2021 Census asked a number of questions relating to ethnicity and many other population characteristics and have created interactive maps to explore.
The School Census
The Department for Education carries out a census of school pupils each academic year which includes information on ethnicity and first language spoken alongside other characteristics such as special educational needs and free school meal provision.