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2021 Census: population characteristics

This page provides 2021 Census information and statistics on population and household characteristics in Swansea by theme.

Topic Summary statistics

Demography and migration

  • On Census Day, 21 March 2021, the usual resident population of Swansea was 238,500, indicating a small decrease of around 500 or 0.2 per cent since the 2011 Census.   Data (Excel doc) [18KB]
  • Over one in five (20.5 per cent; 48,900) of Swansea's residents were aged 65 or over, with around 17% (40,600) aged under 16.  149,000 (62.5%) were aged 16-64.   Data (Excel doc) [47KB]
  • The median age of people in Swansea is 41 (Wales 42, England 40).
  • 50.7% of Swansea residents (around 121,000) are female, with 49.3% (117,500) male.   Data (Excel doc) [18KB]
  • There are an estimated 105,000 households with at least one usual resident in Swansea.  This was an increase of around 1,500 households (1.4%) from 2011, contrasting with the small decrease in the number of people between Censuses.  Data
  • 97.8% of Swansea residents live in households, with 2.2% (around 5,200 people) living in communal establishments.   Data (Excel doc) [18KB]
  • 41.2% of Swansea's residents aged 16 and over (81,400 people) are married or in a registered civil partnership, a slightly lower proportion than Wales (43.8%) and England & Wales (44.6%), with an overall reduction of around 5,400 (-6.2%) since 2011.  Data (Excel doc) [20KB]
  • There are 36,200 one-person households in Swansea (34.4% of the total), a higher proportion than Wales (31.9%) and England & Wales (30.2%); with a further 62,900 one-family households (60.0%) - below proportions in Wales and England & Wales (both around 63%).  Data (Excel doc) [21KB]
  • In Swansea, around 179,400 usual residents (75.2%) were born in Wales, with 216,000 (90.6%) born in the UK.  The number of residents in Swansea born outside the UK has increased by 30.4% (approx. 5,200) between 2011 and 2021.  In Swansea, Poland was the most common country of birth outside the UK in 2021 (approx. 2,200 or 0.9% of all usual residents).  Data (Excel doc) [36KB]
  • An estimated 187,200 usual residents (78.5%) held a UK passport (Wales 77.2%).  Around 12,900 usual residents in Swansea (5.4%) held a non-UK passport (Wales average 4.0%).  In Swansea the most common non-UK passport held was Poland (2,300; 1.0% of usual residents).  38,400 usual residents in Swansea held no passport.  Data (Excel doc) [29KB]
  • On Census Day there were 460 short-term residents in Swansea (defined as anyone born outside the UK who intended to stay in the UK for a period of between 3 and 12 months, for any reason), and 4,058 across Wales.  In Swansea this was less than half of the 2011 figure, although the pandemic is likely to have had an impact on this.  Data (Excel doc) [26KB]


Armed Forces

  • On Census Day, around 5,800 Swansea residents had previously served in the UK armed forces (3.0% of all aged 16 and over), with a further 2,200 (1.1%) in the reserve and/or regular forces.  Data (Excel doc) [26KB]
  • 7,600 of Swansea households (7.3% of the total) contain at least one person who previously served in the UK armed forces.  Data (Excel doc) [26KB]


Ethnic group, national identity, language and religion

  • The Census recorded that 91.4% of Swansea's usually resident population were white (around 218,100 people).  The proportion of people with non-white ethnicity in Swansea has increased from 6.0% in 2011 (around 14,300 people) to 8.6% in 2021 (20,400).  The largest non-white ethnic group in Swansea in 2021 was 'Indian' (around 2,900 people or 1.2%) with 'Other Asian', 'Caribbean' and 'Bangladeshi' also above 2,000.  Data (Excel doc) [19KB]
  • 67.0% of Swansea residents (159,900 people) expressed a 'Welsh only' or 'Welsh and British only' national identity (Wales 63.3%).  This is slightly lower than the equivalent proportions in 2011 (Swansea 69.3%; Wales 64.6%).  Data (Excel doc) [19KB]
  • 95.2% of people aged 3 and over in Swansea have English or Welsh as their main language, with just over 11,000 not having English or Welsh as their main language.  The largest other languages in Swansea are Polish (1,863 or 0.8%), Arabic (1,109 / 0.5%), Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya) (803) and Romanian (773).  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]  Data (Excel doc) [26KB]
  • 41.3 per cent of Swansea residents (around 98,500) stated Christian as their religion in 2021, an almost 14 percentage-point drop since 2011.  Almost half (47.3%; 112,700) of the Swansea population stated they had no religion in 2021, up from around 81,000 (34.0%) in 2011.  The largest minority religion in Swansea is Muslim (around 7,700 or 3.2%).  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]


Welsh language

  • Around 42,500 people aged 3 and over in Swansea (18.3%) had some Welsh language skills, lower than the proportion in Wales (25.2%), and a reduction of around 2,600 (-5.8%) since 2011 (Wales -5.0%).  Data (Excel doc) [17KB]
  • 26,000 people in Swansea (11.2% of all aged 3 and over) are able to speak Welsh in 2021, a fall of around 500 (-2.1%) from 2011. This fall is lower than the equivalent recorded for Wales as a whole over the period (-5.3%).  Data (Excel doc) [15KB]


Labour market and travel to work

  • Around 100,900 people in Swansea are economically active (excluding full-time students), 51.0% of all aged 16 and over (lower than proportions in Wales and England & Wales). There has been little overall change in the total number of residents in employment in Swansea over the last ten years, remaining at around 96,000, although there have been increases in the number of people working part-time and self-employed.  
  • In total, 90,500 usual residents in Swansea were economically inactive in 2021 (45.7% of all aged 16 years and over); a greater percentage than in Wales (43.5%) and England & Wales (39.4%).  In Swansea, the most-selected reasons for economic inactivity were being retired (47,300 or 23.9% of usual residents aged 16+) and studying (16,600 or 8.4%).  However, changes in age coverage and economic activity response categories since 2011 will affect analysis of outputs.  Data (Excel doc) [19KB]
  • The largest single broad industry sector in Swansea is 'Human health and social work activities' (at 18,300 usual residents or 18.2% of all usual residents in employment) followed by 'wholesale and retail trade' (15,700 or 15.6%, although falling by almost 2,000 since 2011).  Around 40,200 (40%) are employed in the public administration, education and health/social care sectors in total, up by around 3,500 (+9.7%) since 2011. The number of Swansea residents employed in manufacturing has again fallen, from around 7,400 in 2011 to 6,000 in 2021.  Data (Excel doc) [36KB]
  • Just over 20,000 (19.9%) of Swansea residents in employment are in 'Professional' occupations.  Swansea has above average proportions (than Wales) in the 'Professional', 'Administrative and secretarial' and 'Sales and customer service' occupations, and lower proportions of 'Managers, directors and senior officials', 'Skilled trades occupations' and 'Process, plant and machine operatives'.  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]
  • The travel to work data indicates a sharp rise in the number of people in employment who work mainly at or from home, increasing from around 3,900 in 2011 (3.7% of all Swansea residents in employment) to 25,500 (25.3%) in March 2021 - clearly linked to the effects (from 2020) of the pandemic. 
  • In terms of mode of travel to work, the number of people in Swansea travelling mainly by car (as driver or passenger) fell from 77,700 in 2011 (75.6% of all in employment) to around 61,600 (61.2%) in 2021.  The number travelling to work by train or bus also fell, from 6,800 to 3,300 between 2011 and 2021.  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]



  • In 2021, 34.5% of households In Swansea (around 36,200) lived in semi-detached accommodation, above averages for Wales (32.1%) and England & Wales (31.5%).  Lower proportions lived in terraced (25.4% / around 26,700) and detached housing (24.0% / 25,200).  15.9% (16,600) of Swansea households lived in a flat, maisonette or apartment; higher than Wales (12.5%) but below England & Wales (21.7%).  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]
  • In terms of tenure, 62.3% (65,400) of households in Swansea owned the accommodation they lived in, with 19.1% (20,000) households social rented (higher than proportions for Wales, 16.5%, and England & Wales, 17.1%) and 18.0% private rented (18,900).  The number of households renting privately in Swansea has increased by around 3,600 or 24% since 2011, in line with national trends.  Data (Excel doc) [17KB]
  • Occupancy rating statistics indicate that a smaller number and proportion of households in Swansea had fewer bedrooms than required in 2021 (2.3%, or around 2,400 households) compared with 2011 (3.3%).  The Swansea and Wales proportions are similar but both are below the England & Wales average (4.3% in 2021).  Data (Excel doc) [15KB]
  • In Swansea, 8.1% (8,500) of households had one or two rooms (Wales 6.6%, England & Wales 10.9%); 75.0% (78,700) had three, four or five rooms (close to national averages); and 16.9% (17,700 households) had six or more rooms. The 2021 Census used Valuation Office Agency (VOA) data to count the number of rooms in a dwelling, which differs in several ways from the method used in 2011 therefore limiting comparability over time.  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]
  • Almost all households in Swansea reported that they had central heating in 2021 (99.1%), with fewer than 1,000 households without.  80.3% of Swansea households used mains gas only, above averages for Wales (71.6%) and England & Wales (73.8%).  0.6% (660) of Swansea households used at least one renewable energy source, lower than Wales (1.1%) and England & Wales (0.9%).  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]
  • In 2021, 22.6% (around 23,800) of households in Swansea had no cars or vans (down by 2,900 or 10.9 since 2011).  The number of households in Swansea with one car or van remained unchanged at just under 45,000, although the number with 2 or more cars or vans increased by around 4,500 (+14.2%), in line with national trends.  Data (Excel doc) [15KB]


Sexual orientation and gender identity

  • The new census questions on sexual orientation and gender identity were voluntary questions asked of those aged 16 years and over.
  • In terms of sexual orientation, around 175,700 people (88.8%) in Swansea identified as straight or heterosexual in the 2021 Census, slightly below averages for Wales and England & Wales (both 89.4%).  Around 6,700 people (3.4%) in Swansea identified with an LGB+ orientation ("Gay or Lesbian", "Bisexual" or "Other sexual orientation"); slightly above Wales (3.0%) and England & Wales (3.2%).  The remaining 15,400 people in Swansea (7.8%) did not answer the question.  Data (Excel doc) [17KB]
  • The gender identity question asked "Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?"  Overall, 93.5% of the population in Swansea aged 16 years and over answered the question.  In total, around 184,200 people in Swansea (93.1%) answered "Yes" and 864 (0.4%) answered "No" (Wales 0.4%; England & Wales 0.5%).  Of this total, 320 people in Swansea (0.2%) answered "No" but did not provide a write-in response; 146 (0.1%) identified as a trans man; 160 (0.1%) identified as a trans woman; and 238 (0.1%) identified as non-binary or wrote in a different gender identity.  Data (Excel doc) [17KB]



  • There were around 51,800 schoolchildren and full-time students in Swansea in 2021, out of a total 227,100 usual residents aged five years and over (22.8%).  This is higher than equivalent figures for Wales (19.9%) and England & Wales (20.4%), likely to be mainly due to local universities.  Data (Excel doc) [15KB]
  • The census counts students at their term-time address - defined as an address that students intended to stay at regularly during term time in the academic year, even if not currently there.  However, nationally there was some evidence of changes to the term-time population resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In 2021, over 100,000 residents in Swansea (51%) had qualifications at Level 3 or above (two or more A Levels or equivalents and above).  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]
  • 32.8% of usual residents in Swansea aged 16 years and over (64,800 people) had Level 4or above qualifications (for example, Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, Bachelor's degree and post-graduate qualifications);  between the proportions in Wales (31.5%) and England & Wales (33.8%).  This figure has increased by around 13,800 (+27%) in Swansea since 2011, broadly in line with national trends.
  • The proportions with a highest level of qualification at Level 1 or 2 has fallen since 2011.  However, the number with Apprenticeships as their highest qualification has increased; in Swansea by around 3,000 or 36%.
  • In Swansea, almost one in five people aged 16 and over (18.9% or 37,300) reported having no qualifications, again between Wales (19.9%) and England & Wales averages (18.2%).  However, this figure has fallen by around 10,000 (21%) in Swansea since the 2011 Census.  Data (Excel doc) [16KB]


Health, disability and unpaid care

  • In Swansea, the around 113,800 people (47.7%) reported being in very good health, slightly higher than Wales (46.6%) and England & Wales (47.5%), with a further 73,800 people (30.9%) reporting good health, slightly below equivalent proportions in Wales (32.4%) and England & Wales (33.6%).
  • However, the number and proportion reporting bad or very bad health in Swansea, at 17,500 or 7.3%, is higher than Wales (6.9%) and further above England & Wales (5.2% in 2021).  Data (Excel doc) [21KB]
  • In Swansea, the proportion of disabled people (under the Equality Act) was 22.4% (53,500) in 2021, higher than both Wales (21.6%) and England & Wales (17.5%).  The 2021 question changed from 2011 in order to collect data that more closely aligned with the definition of disability in the Equality Act (2010).  A further 15,600 people in Swansea (6.6%) had a long term physical or mental health condition but day-to-day activities are not limited (not disabled under the Equality Act).  Data (Excel doc) [21KB]
  • An estimated 24,700 usual residents in Swansea aged 5 years and over (10.9%) provided unpaid care in 2021, slightly above Wales (10.5%) and England & Wales (8.9%) averages.  The total providing unpaid care in Swansea decreased by around 5,600 or 18.6% since 2011, broadly in line with national trends.  Data (Excel doc) [21KB]
  • Age-standardised proportions (ASPs) have been used for the 2021 Census health data; they allow for comparison between populations over time and across geographies, as they account for differences in population size and age structure.


A full list of the Topic Summary (TS) data tables by theme is available here (Word doc) [17KB].   The individual tables are available to view or download below, listed in order of table reference number. The tables contain 2021 Census data (numbers and percentages) for Swansea, plus Wales and England & Wales (for comparison purposes), together with links to the ONS metadata for each table. 

We intend to undertake more detailed analysis of the 2021 Census topics and statistics, including trends and local variations, as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, please contact us for any further information about the 2021 Census data.

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Last modified on 22 February 2024