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Number of EU nationals in the United Kingdom 2019

In 2019 there were approximately 902 thousand Polish nationals living in the United Kingdom, the most of any European Union member state. Additionally, there were 457 thousand Romanians, and 322 thousand Irish living in the UK in 2019. Luxembourg was the EU member state with the fewest citizens living in the UK, at just 520. In terms of British nationals living in the EU, Spain was the most popular destination, at almost 285 thousand, followed by France and Germany, which had British populations numbering 145 and 110 thousand respectively.

The Brexit effect?

Although they were the most numerous non-British nationality in 2019, the Polish population of the United Kingdom has actually declined since it peaked in 2017, when it was just over 1 million. This is likely a consequence of the Brexit vote in 2016, which has had the effect of driving down migration from the EU, although during the same period, the Romanian population of the UK grew slightly, indicating other factors probably contributed to the fall in Britain’s Polish population.

Net migration peaks in 2015

Between 1980 and 2019 the United Kingdom’s net migration figure grew from negative 55 thousand to 226 thousand, with net migration peaking in 2015 when it reached 343 thousand. At around the same time, ‘immigration’ was also selected as the most important issue facing the United Kingdom, by almost quarter of British people. From 2016 the issue of ‘Brexit/EU’ overtook ‘immigration’ as the most important issue to Britons, before ‘pandemics and diseases’ overtook it in 2020.

Estimated number of European Union nationals resident in the United Kingdom in 2019, by member state

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Release date

May 2020


Europe, United Kingdom

Survey time period

July 2018 to June 2019

Supplementary notes

*For Croatia, Luxembourg, Malta and Slovenia data was taken from Eurostat.

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Statistics on "Migration in the UK"

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