UK & World News

  • 30 January 2013, 18:27

Polish Is Second Most Common Language

Polish is the second most common main language in England and Wales with more than half a million speakers, according to new figures from the 2011 Census.

Nearly one in 10 people in England and Wales - 8% - reported speaking a different main language other than English or Welsh in the census, findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown.

Polish was the second most commonly reported main language with 546,000 speakers, reflecting the fact that more than half a million Poles have migrated to England and Wales in the last decade.

The new population has wrought changes across Britain, from Polish beers like Zywiec or Zamkowe Jasne served alongside British brews at London pubs, to Polish food including pulpety and delicje now common across the aisles of supermarkets.

Poles began arriving in Britain en masse after 2004, when eight Eastern European nations - Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, and Estonia - joined the European Union.

Redcar and Cleveland local authority had the highest percentage of people with English as their main language at 99% of the population, with Ealing listing the highest proportion of Polish speakers at 6%.

In all but three of the London boroughs - the City of London, Richmond Upon Thames, and Hillingdon - more than 100 languages were listed as main languages.

Of the four million residents of England and Wales whose main language was other than English, 1.7 million said they could speak English very well, 726,000 could speak English but not well and 138,000 could not speak English at all.

The least common main language in England and Wales was listed as Manx-Gaelic with 33 speakers, followed by 58 Gaelic Scottish speakers.

Because statisticians only began asking questions about foreign language use in the most recent census, there are no past figures available for use as reference.

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