The Daily Express reports that one in five of Britain’s population will be from an ethnic minority by the middle of the century, a new report forecasts this week.
The figure will rise from the current level of eight per cent to 20 per cent over the next 40 years, it concludes.
And the ethnic profile of middle-class suburban and rural areas will change significantly as black and Asian families move out of inner-city areas, it says. Overall, the UK’s total population will soar from its present 61 million to 78 million over the same period.
The report, by researchers at the University of Leeds, will fuel fears that Britain faces acute overcrowding in the next generation, intensifying pressure on the Government to curb immigration.
The three-year study of population trends found striking differences in the growth rates of the 16 ethnic groups it considered. The White British and Irish ethnic groupings are expected to grow very slowly, while the Other White category is projected to grow the fastest, driven by immigration from Europe, the US and Australasia.
Traditional immigrant groups of south Asian origin, including those from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, will also grow rapidly in size.
Project leader Professor Philip Rees said: “The ethnic make-up of the UK’s population is evolving significantly.
“Groups outside the white British majority are increasing in size and share, not just in the areas of initial migration, but throughout the country, and our projections suggest that this trend is set to continue through to 2051.
“At a regional level, ethnic minorities will shift out of deprived inner-city areas to more affluent areas, which echoes the way white groups have migrated in the past.
“In particular black and Asian populations in the least-deprived local authorities will increase significantly.”
The research team investigated ethnic population trends at a local scale in the UK and built a computer model to project those trends under a variety of scenarios for the future.
They used existing data on the 16 ethnic groups recognised in the 2001 census, along with demographic factors such as immigration, emigration, fertility and mortality.
A separate report published yesterday by the influential Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also forecast a British population of around 80 million by the year 2051.
It showed that the total number of foreign citizens living in the UK in 2009 reached 4.4 million, around 7.2 per cent of the population.
Almost half of all foreigners were European, including 827,999 from the 10 eastern European nations such as Poland and Slovenia that have joined the EU.
Around a quarter of foreign citizens were Asians, with 293,000 from India and 178,000 from Pakistan. The number of African citizens living in Britain reached 609,000.
The OECD report suggested that the influx of migrants to industrialised countries had fallen slightly during the past two years with the economic downturn.
But it expected immigration levels to increase as the world economy recovers.
Figures showed 538,000 immigrants came to Britain in 2008, around 11,000 more than during the previous year.
The influx was balanced by record numbers of people quitting the UK. A total of 409,000 people went to live overseas during 2008, including many eastern Europeans returning home due to the economic downturn.
Amid the mounting concern about immigration, the Royal Society yesterday launched a major study into the effects of rising global population.
The research will focus on the impact of population on progress towards sustainable economic and social development over the next 30 years.
A report on the findings is expected in early 2012.
Professor John Sulston, chairman of the working group conducting the study, said: “As the world’s population approaches seven billion, the Royal Society has chosen to explore the complex and contentious issue of population.
“We will be examining the extent to which population is a significant factor in the momentous international challenge of securing global sustainable development, considering not just the scientific elements, but encompassing the wider issues including culture, gender, economics and law.
“The Royal Society has brought together a working group of immense expertise, but also markedly different interests, to ensure that the end report will be comprehensive and cross-disciplinary and bring understanding of population issues to the cutting edge.”
The study, ‘People And The Planet: The Role Of Global Population In Sustainable Development’, was launched at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to mark World Population Day. Source: Daily Express.
The report will inevitably lead to further calls from pressure groups for a cap on non-EU migration, even though most of the UK’s immigrants come from within Europe.
Migrants who come to Britain to work are filling vacancies which employers cannot fill from the locally available British and EU workforce.
Migrant workers bring their energy and talent to the UK which adds billions of pounds to the economy. International students alone are worth over £8 billion to the recession hit UK economy according to Home Office figures.
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