Census data from 2011 has revealed 23,965 people in Bradford speak little or no English, with the district also having some of the largest households in West Yorkshire.

The figures, released by the Office of National Statistics yesterday, show that 85.3 per cent of the 497,608 people in the city said English was their first language – compared with 92.3 per cent nationally.

Of those questioned in the survey, 9.5 per cent of people in the district said they speak a South Asian language as their main language – with 3.3 per cent citing Urdu and four per cent Punjabi – while 2.4 per cent said they speak another European language, including Polish, Slovak and Latvian.

The 2011 census, which was sent to around 26 million households across England and Wales on March 27, 2011, was the first to ask how well the population could speak English when it wasn’t a person’s main language.

In Bradford, 4.6 per cent of those who did not speak English as their first language said they spoke it very well, while 5.2 per cent said they spoke it well.

But 3.9 per cent, 19,424, said they couldn’t speak English well and 0.9 per cent, 4,541, said they could not speak it at all, accounting for the 23,965 people.

Coun Ralph Berry, Bradford Council executive member for education, said the fact there were families across the city which may not speak English at home – as well as children whose parents may not speak the language well – was a “challenge” for schools.

“But it’s not a new challenge,” he added.

“We have got a set of strategies in place in schools because learning the English language is a priority.

“We are making great strides in this city, but there is always more that can be done to improve spoken and written English.”

The census, which is used to plan public services, is carried out every ten years and people are asked questions about their jobs, health, education and ethnic background.

In Bradford, of 522,452 people who responded to the survey, 63.9 per cent described themselves as white British, 20.4 per cent Pakistani or British Pakistani, 2.6 per cent Indian or British Indian, 1.9 per cent Bangladeshi or British Bangladeshi one per cent African and one per cent white Polish – with a number of other ethnic groups also included.

The information also shows Bradford has some of the largest households in West Yorkshire.

There are 2,442 households with more than eight people – more than double the 1,053 in Leeds.


In 2011, Bradford had the highest number of people who had never worked in the whole of West Yorkshire.

According to the census, 52,349 residents said they had never had a job – accounting for 14.3 per cent of the 366,217 people in the district.

There were 218,937 people in work, 59.8 per cent of the population, while 147,280, or 40.2 per cent, were not in employment.

Of those working, 17.7 per cent worked in the retail trade, 11.3 per cent in manufacturing, 6.6 per cent in construction, 12.9 per cent in health and social work, and 11.1 per cent in education.

In the area, 9.8 per cent of people were managers or senior officials, 14.6 per cent were in professional occupations, 10.8 per cent were associate professionals or in technical occupations, 11.8 per cent were in administrative jobs, 11.7 per cent had an occupation in skilled trades, 10.2 per cent were in caring or service professions, 8.9 per cent in sales and customer services, 9.8 per cent machine operatives and 12.7 in elementary professions.

There were 148,612 full-time workers and 70,325 part-time workers.


The majority of people in Bradford travelled to work by car in 2011, census data shows.

Of the 366,217 residents in employment across the district, 131,112 drove in a car or van – accounting for 35.6 per cent of all commuters in the area – while a further 15,712 were passengers in a car. There were also 1,049 people riding motorcycles or mopeds to get into work Many opted to use public transport, with 20,034 catching the bus, 11,191 travelling by train, 2,638 calling taxis.

The number of commuters choosing to take the train in Bradford was higher than elsewhere in West Yorkshire, accounting for 3.1 per cent of travellers, compared with an average of 2.2 per cent in the county.

Others were heath conscious, with 1,715 cycling in to work, while 24,656 said they walked.

Some didn’t have to travel at all, with 9,151 saying they worked from home, and 1,424 said they used ‘other’ means to get to work.

The remaining people were not in employment at the time of the survey.


Most people in Bradford were feeling well, with 80 per cent describing themselves as being in either good or very good health.

Of 522,452 residents, 44.8 per cent of people said they were in very good health – which was slightly lower than the average for West Yorkshire, at 45.9 per cent.

A further 35.6 per cent described their health as good, while 13.7 per cent said it was fair.

But 4.5 per cent of people said their health was bad, with 1.3 per cent describing it as very bad.

The census also asked residents if their health had an impact on their day-to-day lives, but 82.7 per cent of people in the district said it did not.

Of the people surveyed, 8.9 per cent said their health had some impact on their everyday life, while 8.4 per cent said it had a big effect.

In the district, 12,305 people said they provided more than 50 hours of unpaid care a week to a family member – accounting for 2.4 per cent of responses, the same as the county average.

However, 90 per cent of people, or 471,426, said they did not provide any sort of unpaid care to anyone.


In Bradford there were slightly more women than men, with a 50.8 per cent female population and 49.2 per cent male.

There were 8,219 babies aged under one, while 109 residents were aged over 100.

The population density was higher than elsewhere in West Yorkshire, with 14.3 people per hectare – compared with 13.6 in Leeds, 9.5 in Wakefield and 5.6 in Calderdale.

Of 199,296 households, 29.6 per cent lived in a one-person household, 20 per cent were married with dependant children, 24.3 per cent were married with no dependant children and 0.1 per cent were living in a same-sex civil partnership with no dependant children.

Co-habiting families with dependant children accounted for 4.7 per cent of households, while co-habitees with no dependant children accounted for 6 per cent.

The figures show 8.9 per cent of households were lone parents with dependant children, while 3.8 per cent were lone parents with no dependant children.