The British diaspora consists of British people and their descendants who emigrated from the present-day United Kingdom, or people who have acquired British Nationality through colonisation. The diaspora is concentrated in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Hong Kong, as well as parts of the Caribbean and continental Europe, such as Spain. A 2006 publication from the Institute for Public Policy Research estimated 5.5 million British-born people lived outside of the United Kingdom.

According to The Foreign and Commonwealth Office there were 13.1 million British nationals living abroad in 2004â€"05. These figures are taken from the consular annual returns from overseas posts. There is no requirement for UK citizens to register with British missions overseas and therefore these figures are based on the most reliable information that can be obtained e.g. from host government official statistics.

After the Age of Discovery the various peoples of the British Isles, and especially the English, were among the earliest and by far the largest communities to emigrate out of Europe, and the British Empire's expansion during the first half of the 19th century saw an extraordinary dispersion of the British people, with particular concentrations in Australasia and North America.

The British Empire was "built on waves of migration overseas by British people", who left Great Britain, later the United Kingdom, and reached across the globe and permanently affected population structures in three continents. As a result of the British colonisation of the Americas, what became the United States was "easily the greatest single destination of emigrant British", but in the Federation of Australia the British experienced a birth rate higher than anything seen before, resulting in the displacement of indigenous Australians.

In colonies such as Southern Rhodesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jamaica, Barbados, British East Africa and the Cape Colony, permanently resident British communities were established and while never more than a numerical minority these Britons exercised a dominant influence upon the culture and politics of those lands. In Australia, Canada and New Zealand people of British origin came to constitute the majority of the population contributing to these states becoming integral to the Anglosphere.

The British emigrated not only to parts of the British Empire but they went to settle in large numbers in Latin America, particularly the Southern Cone. Uruguay and Argentina have large British-descended populations, including a large Welsh population in Patagonia. More a half a million of Chileans have British ancestry and Chilean Culture had been anglicised in the 19th century.

The United Kingdom Census 1861 estimated the size of the overseas British to be around 2.5 million, but concluded that most of these were "not conventional settlers" but rather "travellers, merchants, professionals, and military personnel". By 1890, there were over 1.5 million further British-born people living in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

British people by country

British diaspora

Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) estimates

The following table lists the estimated number of British people (defined as people who are British Subjects, such as British citizen, British National Overseas or British Overseas Citizen) living overseas in countries with more than 100 British:

^ Note: A different estimate puts China (incl. Hong Kong) ahead with a population of 3,750,000 Britons, most of which are those in Hong Kong who have continued to possess British nationality, particularly the British nationals (overseas) status, which numbered 3.4 million, through their connection with the former crown colony (see British nationality and Hong Kong for further details).

List of countries by population of British heritage

British diaspora

See also

  • Anglosphere


British diaspora
  • Ember, Carol R.; Ember, Melvin; Skoggard, Ian A. (2004). Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures Around the World. Springer. ISBN 978-0-306-48321-9. 
  • Marshall, Peter James (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00254-7. 

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