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Ethnicity in Portsmouth

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According to the 2011 census:

African, Mixed: White and Asian, and Polish have joined Bangladeshi, Indian and Chinese to become the six largest ethnic groups in the city.

The biggest BME communities in Portsmouth are as follows:

• Bangladeshi or British Bangladeshi – 1.8% of Portsmouth’s total population (3,649 people)

• African – 1.4% (2,958 people)

• Indian or British Indian – 1.4% (2,911 people)

• Chinese – 1.3% (2,611 people)

• Mixed: White & Asian – 1.2% (2,381 people)

• Polish – 0.8% (1,676 people)

he most common languages spoken in Portsmouth other than English include:

• Polish (1%, n. 1,914),
• Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya) (0.8%, n. 1,517),
• All Other Chinese (other than Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese
Chinese) (0.6%, n. 1,180),
• Arabic (0.5%, n. 979),
• Kurdish (0.3%, n. 541), and
• French (0.3%, n. 511).
• Tagalog / Filipino, German and Greek are not far behind with 0.2% of Portsmouth residents having these as their main languages.

Just over 100 languages (other than English) are spoken by pupils in Portsmouth schools.


When the Gateway Project began in 2012, the team created a report about immigration in Portsmouth.

They found that the population of people living in Portsmouth includes 25,000 people born outside the UK.

The 2011 Census showed:

  • 16,240 people living in Portsmouth who were born outside the EU
  • 4,230 born in EU countries as defined in 2001 and
  • 4,550 in the new EU countries that have joined the EU since 2001 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus and
    Malta, Bulgaria and Romania)

The Census information shows that migration from the 2001 EU countries has stayed the same between 2001 and 2011. At the same time, the number of people moving to Portsmouth from the new EU countries and the rest of the world has increased.

Students from overseas

The Census in 2011 counted overseas students as residents from overseas, but most students from other countries will return home after their studies.

This makes the Census information a bit confusing, but we can also look at information from Portsmouth University.

In 2010/11, 23,000 students were registered at Portsmouth University including 5,300 overseas students, 3,560 from non‐EU and 1,800 from EU countries.



This image is taken from Portsmouth City Council’s Equality and Diversity Strategy 2014 – 17.

There are a number of faiths practised in Portsmouth, partly because of the ethnic diversity in the city.

Although Christianity has declined significantly since 2001, it remains the largest religion in Portsmouth at 52.2%.

Islam has also seen a significant increase in its followers in Portsmouth between 2001 and 2011.

The city is home to significant Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jewish communities, all of which, except Jewish communities, have also experienced a significant rise in members since 2001.

Religious festivals for Portsmouth Communities

The University of Portsmouth has worked with Diversiton to create a fantastic calendar of religious festivals celebrated by local communities.

The Calendar includes:

  • Over 240+ important dates, including holy days, special events, festivals and bank holidays
  • Quotes on life and a diversity perspective for every month
  • The special focus for each month
  • Lunar cycles

You can download and print the calendar for your home or office.

Diversity Calendar 2014.

The BBC has created guides to the world’s major religions for anyone who is keen to find out more about the diversity in the UK. If you’re curious about the many faiths practiced in Portsmouth, the BBC guides are a great place to start.

BBC guides to world faiths.

Want to find out more?

The following reports include detailed information on BME and migrant communities in Portsmouth.

European Integration Fund Gateway Baseline Review – This report was created as part of the Gateway Project and looks at migrant communities in Portsmouth.

Equality and Diversity Strategy 2014 – 2017 – This report illustrates the diversity of the city, including race and ethnicity and beyond, e.g. age, gender, sexuality.

2011 Census Portsmouth Summary Factsheet – This factsheet shows some of the key findings from the 2011 census.

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