Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Polish second most spoken language

Some 138,00 people living in England and Wales cannot speak English at all, according to the ONS

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 to 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 more than half a million Poles who migrated to England and Wales during the last decade.

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% of the population.

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 who spoke a main language 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.

London had the highest proportion, at 22%, of people who reported that English was not their main language, with the North East reporting the lowest percentage in this category, at 3%. The figures also showed that not all languages were spoken - with 22,000 people using sign language.

The census also appeared to confirm a boom in cycling in London, with 161,700 people, or 2.6%, using bicycles to get to work in the capital. This compared with 77,000 a decade ago, the ONS said, but these figures were not strictly comparable as the 2001 figures did not include those who said they worked from home.

Cambridge remained the local authority with the highest proportion who cycle to work, at 18%, or 17,755 people. In spite of the surge in cycling, the majority of 16 to 74-year-olds in England and Wales said they drove a car or van to work, at 58% or 15 million.

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