EU citizens living in the UK

Published: 25th Aug 2017

Over three million EU citizens living in the UK

Around 3.6 million people living in the UK in 2016 were citizens of another EU country. That’s about 6% of the UK population. A similar proportion were born in the rest of the EU.

Of those 3.6 million, an estimated one million are Polish nationals, the largest single nationality from the rest of the EU. They’re followed by an estimated 335,000 Irish nationals and 328,000 Romanians.

These figures aren’t certain: they’re based on a survey of households and that means there’s a margin for error for the figure for each nationality. Polish and Irish citizens are clearly the most numerous, but further down the list, the ‘rank order’ of nationalities isn’t reliable.

2.2 million EU citizens working in the UK

Around 2.4 million nationals of other EU countries are in work, as of earlier this year. That’s about 7% of people in work—the highest on record.

EU nationals of working age are more likely to be in work than UK nationals and non-EU citizens. About 81% of working age EU citizens in the UK were in work in spring this year, compared to around 75% of UK nationals and 61% of people from outside the EU.

That’s partly driven by the fact that citizens of other EU countries are more likely to come to the UK to work. Just over two thirds of EU national immigrants said they came to the UK either for work or to find a job in the year to March 2017. Only about a third of non-EU nationals say the same.


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