Census result reveals one in eight UK residents was born overseas

Results also reveal 'white British' people have become a minority in London - the first UK region where white British residents make up less than 50 per cent of the population

The UK's immigrant population has leapt by three million in the last 10 years, with one in eight residents now born overseas.

According to the 2011 census results, which were released today, there are now 7.5 million foreign-born UK residents, up from 4.6 million in 2001.

The data also shows people describing themselves as ‘white British’ have become a minority in London for the first time.

White British people now make up just 44.9 per cent of London’s population with the number falling from 4.3 million in 2001 to 3.7 million in 2011.

London is believed to be the first region anywhere in the UK where white British residents are in the minority.

Another major change was the declining number of Christians in the UK over the last 10 years.

The data shows that numbers fell from 37.3 million in 2001 to 33.2 million last year – a drop of four million.

25.1 per cent of people said they had no faith, up from 14.8 per cent a decade earlier, while the proportion of Muslims rose from 3.0 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

The third most popular religion was Hinduism, with 1.5 per cent of the population, while 0.8 per cent were Sikhs and 0.5 per cent Jewish.

Nearly 180,000 claimed to be followers of the Jedi religion featured in Star Wars - down from 2001, when around 400,000 jokingly put the faith down on their census form.

The statistics emerged as the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that English cathedral congregations had grown dramatically in recent years, debunking the 'cliché' that the Church of England is fading away.

Guy Goodwin, the ONS's director of census, said: “These statistics paint a picture of society and help us all plan for the future using accurate information at a local level.

”This is just the tip of the iceberg of census statistics. Further rich layers of vital information will be revealed as we publish more detailed data for very local levels over the coming months.“

The data released today details the characteristics of people living in 348 local authorities across England and Wales, covering topics including ethnicity, country of birth, health and housing.

According to the census, the top five countries of birth were India, Poland, Pakistan, Ireland and Germany.

This marks a departure from the make-up of the population in 2001 when Poland was not one of the 10 most commonly stated countries of origin.

The largest increase in ethnic group over the last decade was seen in the ”White: Other“ category where an increase of 1.1 million (to 2.5 million) was recorded.

This reflects more than half a million Poles who migrated into England and Wales during these years, the ONS said.

And some two million respondents listed their partners or fellow household members as being of different ethnic groups - 47% more than in 2001.