Census reveals English spoken by 92 per cent

Ben Southwood
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ONLY 148,000 people usually resident in England or Wales cannot speak one of the two countries’ mother tongues, the census data, yesterday released by the Office for National Statistics, revealed.

Around three-quarters of a million people could speak some English or Welsh – though it was not their first or main language – but could not speak it “well or very well”.

But a full 49.8m of people – 92.3 per cent – counted English or Welsh as their first or main language, though in diverse London this proportion fell to 77.9 per cent.

Across England and Wales, the second most common main language was Polish – with 546,000 speakers, followed by Panjabi and Urdu, both of which had just over a quarter of a million speakers.

The data also included figures on household make-up, which revealed that fewer and fewer households were headed by married couples – six per cent less in 2011 compared to 2001 – while more and more were headed by lone parents or unmarried cohabiting couples.