This section provides available statistical information relating to asylum seekers and refugees followed by data relating to the minority ethnic population in Southampton and other contextual information about the city.


Asylum seekers 

Official statistics published by the Home Office for the period 2003-2007 show the impact of the NASS contract in the provision of services to asylum seekers in the city. The figures previous to the ending of the NASS contract in 2004 show that a significant number of asylum seekers were under the accommodation and subsistence program. Statistics for the period of 2005-2006 reflect the reduction in the asylum seeking population in Southampton: at the end of March 2005, 85 asylum seekers were receiving subsistence only support from NASS in Southampton (down from 180 in 2003) and 5 were receiving accommodation facilities (down from 440 in 2003). With new contracts coming into place between the UKBA and regional housing partnerships as of summer 2007, figures show a significant increase in the number receiving accommodation and subsistence support in Southampton.

 Year Subsistence only Support  Accomodation
 average 2003 435 180
 average 2004 155 111
 average 2005 5 71
 average 2006 5 40
 average 2007 26 31



It is very difficult to calculate the number of refugees in any given city. This is because the Home Office only keeps statistics on the number of asylum seekers that are being accommodated and/or supported. As a result estimates on the number of refugees can only be made using research or client data collected by relevant agencies. It is also the case that data is not collected on the location of individuals awarded ELR, HP or DL and asylum seekers that are not accommodated or supported by the Home Office.

Research conducted by a local agency in 2004 concluded that between 3,000 and 4,000 of Southampton's population are refugees or asylum seekers and that the main countries of origin are Iraq (1,200), Afghanistan (800), and Somalia (800) (CLEAR September 2004).


Minority ethnic population 

The local council estimates that the percentage of total minority ethnic population for the year 2006 has increased to just over 8% from 4.9% reported in the 2001 census. The largest ethnic minority population in Southampton is the group defined as Indian, at 2.2% of the total population (2001 census). 

The number of community languages spoken in schools can be a first indicator of how many different communities coexist in the city. In 2000, there were reportedly 68 community languages spoken in the city (SEMS school survey 2000).

The most up-to-date figures are estimates by the Southampton City Council.

  • Somali Community: 1,000 - 2,000. Roughly 40% of whom are families
  • Afghan Community: around 1,000
  • Kurdish Community:  500-700
  • Iranian Community: around 500
  • Filipino Community:  700-1,000
  • Polish Community : 8-10,000 is probably a conservative estimate
  • Total EU 10 population : 10-12,000 (including Polish)

Note: these figures are a rough estimate and are subject to change once more detailed data is available, Southampton City Council, 2008 (unpublished).



6.8% of the population in Southampton are unemployed, compared to the England average of 5.5%. The Bevois ward has a higher level of unemployed residents than the average for Southampton, but is also home to a much higher number of economically inactive students, around 24%. It also has a higher than average level of residents qualified to degree level or equivalent. National statistics for the period 2005-2007 and Bevois and Bargate Action Plan, the City Council (2007).



According to data published by the Southampton City Council in 2007, the percentage of students from ethnic minorities in primary schools is 23% and 17% in secondary schools. Out of these, the pupils that have English as Additional Language, in average, are 15.7% in primary schools and 10.4% in secondary schools (Southampton Education Service 2003-2007).



Around 19% of the population live in social rented housing. The council has estimated that an additional 1,441 affordable housing units are needed each year. The Bevois and Bargate wards in Southampton are home to the largest population of ethnic minority residents, at an estimated 25% of their respective total population. In regards of housing tenure, the percentage of residents who rent is higher in these wards than the average of Southampton: 33.35% of people rent either council-owned flats (22.94%) or from a housing association (10.41%). (Office of National Statistics, 2007)



Every year there are around 1,000 race-related incidents reported in Southampton as stated by Council research. To deal with this, the council has established an inter-agency Hate Crime Strategy (Hate Crime Strategy, 2006).


Religious diversity

In the 2001 census, 65.5% of the population in Southampton defined themselves as Christian, with the second largest group of religiously aligned people being Muslims at 1.9%. The non-religiously-aligned were 21%.


Last Updated: 25/02/09


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