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population, migration, and growth. The website of Gaia Watch of the UK

Archive

The most recent major alterations to the web site other than the addition of news items have been:

1st June 2011. Comment section, Comment and Analysis page: “Global food crisis looms as crop prices set to rocket”. An OXFAM report that fails to deal adequately with the significance of human population growth.
16th February 2011. Other Literature page: Institution of Mechanical Engineers report. “Population: one planet, too many people?".
1st October 2010. Comment section, Comment and Analysis page: An inconsistency in the Prime Minister's policies as far as immigration is concerned? The pros and cons of the entry of Turkey into the European Union.
30th September 2010. Other Literature page: David Pimentel et al. “Will limited Land, Water, and Energy Control Human Population Numbers in the Future?”. Human Ecology, 10th August 2010.
9th July 2010. Other Literature page: MigrationWatch. UK (2008). “Balanced Migration”.
1st June 2010. Other Literature page: Westoff, C.F. (2010). “Desired number of children: 2000–2008”.
5th May 2010. An important comment, consisting of an article from a correspondent on emigration from the UK, and our response that places emigration in the context of serious environmental changes at home and overseas that are discussed, including the warning by James Lovelock, added to the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
End of April 2010. The UK section of the Population Trends page was updated.
26th February 2010. An important addition to the Other Literature page: David Coleman (2009). “ Divergent patterns in the ethnic transformation of societies".
4th December 2009. An important addition to the Other Literature page: The United Nations Population Fund 2009 report on the state of the world population.
29th October 2009. The Home page was updated and partly revised.
24th October 2009. The European section of the Population Trends page was updated.
8th October 2009. An important addition to the Other Literature page: A collection of papers published by the UK Royal Society on the problems associated with human population growth.
23rd September 2009. An important comment arising from the closure of the 'Jungle' refugee camp added to the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
9th September 2009. The Home Page was revised, and a Companion article added.
5th August 2009. The UK section of the Population Trends page was updated.
6th August 2009. “Fear masquerading as tolerance”, an essay by Christopher Caldwell on changes in Europe's Weltanschauung, added to the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.
1st July 2009. A summary and review of Vandana Shiva's 2008 book “Soil not oil. Climate change, peak oil and food insecurity”, added to the Book Reviews page.
24th June 2009. “Election Protests in Iran. Were demographic factors involved?”. Added to the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
20th June 2009. Four tables (including a donation button) added to the top section of this Home page and a footnote added at the bottom of the page, with minor alterations 22nd, 26th and 27th of June.
27th February 2009. “Music, Chess and other Sins: Segregation, Integration, and Muslim Schools in Britain". Added to the Other Literature page.
13th February 2009. “The right to know. The duty to inform. Examples of 'Politically Correct Brigade' fears about uncomfortable facts being made known”. Added to the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
21st January 2009. A Communities and Local Government report “Sources of resentment, and perceptions of ethnic minorities among poor whites in England” was added to the Other literature page.
Mid-January 2009.The Global section of the Population Trends page was updated.
30th December 2008.Two reports on the impact of migration on UK employment, added to the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.
30th September 2008. The European section of the Population Trends page was updated.
21st May 2008. “Population growth and environmental deterioration. The neglected factor in a new report”. Added to the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
18th May 2008. The UK section of the Population Trends page was updated.
26th April 2008. “Global food crisis. A very inadequate response”. Added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
November 2007. “By stealth and deceit. Camoflaged spread of Muslim influence?” Added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
2nd November 2007. An essay on possible failure to secure adequate future global food supply “Population growth and environmental deterioration. Are things finally coming together for mankind's doom?” Added to the analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.
14th August 2007. A report on a recently published paper by J.Harte “human population as a dynamic factor in environmental degradation” added to the Other Literature page.
July 2007. “Will we be able to feed the world population?” added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
15th May 2007. A report on a paper by D. L. Carr et al “population dynamics and tropical deforestation: state of the debate and conceptual challenges” added to the Other Literature page.
8th April 2007. “Shape of things to come - water crises” added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
Beginning of April 2007. A review of a UK all party parliamentary group report “Return of the population growth factor. Its impact upon the Millennium Development Goals” added to the Other Literature page, together with page navigation aids.
March 2007. “Yes, we are right to give some emphasis to climate change on our web site that focuses on population growth and migration” added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
12th March 2007. Navigation aids added to the Comment and Analysis page.
Early March 2007. A review by Peter Salonius of a book by W.Stanton “The rapid growth of human populations” (Book Reviews page); a paper by Dietz et al “driving the human ecological footprint” (Other Literature page); two items in the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page: “Student attempt to silence Oxford academic who has explored the adverse effects of immigration on society” and “Elephant cull. And the global human population?”.
Mid–February 2007. A review by Professor A. A. Bartlett, of the Scientific American September 2006 'special' issue on energy supply and the climate change challenge, pointing out the neglect of the implications of population size and growth, added to our Book Reviews page. And a comment with the title “We feel we must reiterate: Improving technology and reducing consumption will not by themselves solve our problems. We need to control population as well” added to our Comment and Analysis page.
Mid–January 2007. Other Literature page. Reports on two recently published papers: 'Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition' (a 2006 paper by D. Coleman), and 'Imagine earth without people' (article in The New Scientist, 2006).
End of November and early December 2006. The UK section of the Population Trends page, principally its section h), was updated.
End of October 2006. The Population Trends page was updated.
Early May 2006. Book Reviews page. A review of James Lovelock's new book “ The revenge of Gaia”wasadded.



On this page we will place major items or sections of items removed for whatever reason from other web pages, and items that are to be altered in a major way on other web pages. News page items are archived in a separate section below all other items. To go to this News section click this button:

 
 News
 

List of items on this page (other than News items)

(y). The UK section of the Population Trends page before that section was updated at the end of April 2010.
(x). The Home page before it was updated and partly revised 29th October 2009.
(w). The Europe section of the Population Trends page as it was before it was updated 24th October 2009.
(v). The Home page as it was before it was revised 9th September 2009.
(u). The UK section of the Population Trends page as it was before it was updated 15th August 2009.
(t). The upper part of the Home page as it was before new material (four tables) was added 20th June 2009.
(s). The Global section of the Population Trends page as it was before mid-January 2009.
(r). The European section of the Population Trends page as it was before October 2008.
(q). The UK section of the PopulationTrends page as it was before mid-May 2008.
(p). Part of the Home Page before direct links to some individual items on other pages introduced in April 2007.
(o). Part of the Home page to which additions were subsequently made 21st March 2007.
(n). The main part of the Home page before additions early March 2007.
(m). The main part of the Home page before additions mid-February 2007.
(l). The UK section of the Home page before alterations mid-January 2007.
(k). Key points and section (h) of the UK section of the Population Trends page as updated end of October 2006, before further updating late November early December 2006.
(j). The Population Trends page as it was before it was updated end of October 2006.
(i). A draft of the essay in the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page on the Muhammad cartoons controversy, which contained numerous typing errors, was, by mistake, put briefly in the Comment section of the same page, then removed 7th April 2006.
(h). The mid-September 2005 version of the essay “Is Economic Growth good for the Environment? An approach to this question using the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis”, removed from the Comment and Analysis page December 2005.
(g). The “Limits to growth” essay removed from the Comment and Analysis page at the beginning of September 2005, when other material on this subject was launched on the site - see (f).
(f). The Comment and Analysis page as it was before further comments were added, the “Limits to growth” essay removed, and a new page, “Book reviews” added to the site, at the beginning of September 2005.
(e). The main part of the Home page as it was before alterations made August 2005.
(d). The Home page as it was before (1) the January to early March 2005 revisions of the Population Trends page, and the Comment and Analysis Page (primarily the addition of a new essay on limits), and (2) some late December 2004 to February 2005 formatting improvements to the site.
(c). The global section of the Population Trends page as it was before being revised December 2004.
(b). The United Kingdom section of the Population Trends page, as it was before the July 2004 revision of that page. This contains detailed criticism of the 2001 census.
(a). The Population Trends page 26th June 2002, i.e. prior to the release of the 2001 census results.



y). The UK section of the Population Trends page as it was before the revision at the end of April 2010.

Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

This is the revised version of the United Kingdom section of the page that was posted up 15th August 2009.

KEY POINTS
 
  1. All aspects of population statistics in the United Kingdom are in an unsatisfactory state. Recent censuses were unsatisfactory. Immigration flow statistics are estimated on small voluntary samples of intended immigration and emigration, of incomplete coverage and high sampling error and the number of illegal immigrants is anyone's guess.
  2. The UK population is projected to continue to grow massively. It is projected to rise from 60.6 million in 2006 to 69.3 million in 2026, an increase of 8.7 million — more than the present population size of London (7.5 million). But between 2006 and 2081, the population is projected to rise by 24.7 million — over three times the present London population size.
  3. The main driver of this population growth will be international migration, with immigration greatly exceeding emigration.
  4. With this population growth comes a massive and fundamental on-going change of the ethnic group composition of the population, a change that started after the Second World War: a decrease of the White: British population and a massive growth in the total ethnic minority population.
  5. The population continues to age, and the option of adequately maintaining or increasing the support for the elderly population by increased immigration is completely unrealistic. Keeping the support even at the 2000 level would require an unimaginably large number of immigrants.

 

The following two graphs and table get to the heart of the matter.

 

graph of population growth and migration

 

Estimated Total Fertility Rates (TFR's): country of birth of mother, 2001

United Kingdom 1.6
India 2.3
Pakistan 4.7
Bangladesh 3.9
East Africa 1.6
Rest of Africa 2.0
Remainder of New Commonwealth 2.2
Rest of the World 1.8
 

british: non-british migration

Sources. Left Graph: Population: ONS (2009) Population Trends 136 Table 1.2. Migration: ONS (2008). International Migration Series MN, TIM Table 2.01a. Table: ONS (2008) Birth Statistics Series FM1 no.36 Table 9.5. Right graph: ONS (2008). International Migration Series MN, TIM Table 2.01a.

 

CONTENTS

1) Introduction
(click on any of the following sections to go directly to it)
2) Today's population: size, age structure and density
3) Population growth in the past
  a) The actual growth in numbers
  b) The causes of population growth: natural increase and net migration
  c) Effects of recent EU enlargement
4) Projections of future population growth and net immigration
5) Past population projections: net immigration as a driving force underestimated
6) Population growth and migration in terms of nation of origin and ethnicity
  a) Today's population
  b) Growth of ethnic minority populations in the past
  c) Fertility of ethnic groups
  d) Age composition of ethnic groups
  e) Religion
  f) Past international migration of ethnic groups
  g) Relationship between migration and fertility of ethnic groups
  h) Projections of future population growth of ethnic groups
7)The ageing of the population
8) Changing population distribution within the UK: total population and ethnic groups
9) Acknowledgements
References
Appendix

 


1) Introduction

The basic source of information here is the Office for National Statistics (ONS). See the Population and Migration section of the web site http://www.statistics.gov.uk The ONS produces press releases, brief summary reports, and more in depth regular publications such as Population Trends, the Series PP2 National Population Projections and the Series MN International Migration. Other important sources of information include the Government Actuary's Department (GAD) http://www.gad.gov.uk/ , the Home Office (HO) http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/ and Eurostat, European Commission http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/ .

In the following account, note that some records refer to Great Britain (GB), that is England, Scotland and Wales, others to the United Kingdom (UK), that is Great Britain together with Northern Ireland. Note however, that in terms of total numbers, the vast majority of people in the UK live in GB (see the following section).

Note also that ONS sometimes uses mid-year population estimates, sometimes end of year estimates. It is important to bear this in mind. For example, in Population Trends 123 (Spring 2006) and the article there on national population projections, there is a figure 1 which graphs total net migration over a period of years. Later in the same volume there is a table 7 that gives actual data on total net migration. If one plots the data in this table as a graph, the shape of the graph does not coincide exactly with the shape of the graph in figure 1, although the general trend of total net migration is the same. The reason for the discrepancy is that figure 1 uses mid-year population estimates, whilst table 7 uses end of year estimates.
To illustrate the differences that occur between between graphs based on the alternative sets of data, we show, in the Appendix, population projection graphs based on mid-year and end of year data.
Finally, population projections normally work in terms of mid-year data.

Note on the value of published information on population trends including migration.

“All aspects of population statistics in the United Kingdom are in an unsatisfactory state. Even the base population remains uncertain. Despite every effort, the last two censuses have turned out to be unsatisfactory. Even the 2001 census, designed to be infallible, has had to be revised twice and its incompatibilities with other sources patched up with statistical Polyfilla. With present systems the degree of error is unknowable but possibly large. Inappropriate questions are asked, and necessary ones ignored. Immigration flow statistics are estimated on small voluntary samples of intended immigration and emigration, of incomplete coverage and high sampling error. Immigrants' destinations around the country are based initially on their stated intentions on arrival, naturally subject to revision. With these systems we cannot know who is in the country, legally or illegally, when they arrived, where they are or if and when they left. The number of illegal immigrants is anyone's guess although the government has given an estimate of about half a million. Internal migration and local population estimates are based on obsolete and often wrong census counts, sample surveys inadequate for local authority use and indirect and partial estimates from changes in doctors' registrations. Current huge migration flows quickly render estimates out of date”. Professor David Coleman (2007) Memorandum to the House of Commons Treasury Committee December 2007.

“. ...THE CENSUS OF POPULATION. ----The last 20 years have been turbulent for population estimates for two reasons. First, society has become more mobile, less accessible and less willing to respond to surveys. And increases in international migration have created major problems in the enumeration of cities and in estimating the migration component of the annual roll-forward. Second, ONS made serious errors in census design and execution in 1991 and 2001, and on present plans will repeat the errors in 2011.---- There was a marked increase in non-response in 2001 in all types of area. A record 4 million people (71/2% of the population) were not entered on census forms. Even in the "best" local authorities (the unitary and county LAs with the lowest levels of non-response and together having 10% of the national population) the non-response rate was about 3%, compared with an average rate among all LAs in 1981 of under 1% ”. Mr. Philip Redfern (2007) Memorandum to the House of Commons Treasury Committee November 2007.

For those who would like to look further into the accuracy of population estimates in relation to recent censuses, a paper by Ludi Simpson could be consulted (“Fixing the population: from census to population estimate”. Environment and Planning A 2007, volume 39, pp. 1045-1057).

For the rest of this account of population trends in the UK, references in the body of the text are given in the form (Rx) and are detailed before the appendix at the end of the account in the references section.

Return to CONTENTS

 


2) Today's population

The UK Population Today

Mid–2007 populations (thousands)
England 51,092
Wales 2,980
Scotland 5,144
Northern Ireland 1,759
United Kingdom 60,975

In 2007 the UK population was growing at the fastest rate since the 1960s, and between mid–2001 and mid–2006 it increased by almost one and a half million, an increase of two and a half percent (R3). Why was it growing so fast? There are three reasons:

  1. Increased Life expectancy. In recent years mortality rates have been falling, life expectancy has been increasing (R2, R3).
  2. Increased Fertility. Total fertility rate (defined in the Global section of this page), rose steadily from 1.63 children per woman in 2001 to 1.84 children per woman in 2006 — the highest level since 1980. (R3, R4). Subsequently it has continued to rise: It was 1.9 in 2007 (R5) and the provisional estimate for 2008 is 1.94 (R6).
  3. Increased Net International Migration. In recent years both emigration and especially immigration have been exceptionally high, with the result that net immigration has increased significantly (R3).

Of these three causes of this rapid growth, Net International migration has been the main driver (R7).

Source for table data: ONS (2009) Population Trends 136 table 1.2

Illegal immigrant population
The population figures given above ignore illegal immigration, for the simple reason that no accurate figures are available for such immigration. However, the HO, in 2005, did finally produce an estimate of the total illegal migrant population in 2001 (R8). The components of this total population were 1) illegal entrants, 2) persons who exceeded their valid 'leave to remain' period, and 3) failed asylum seekers who did not comply with instructions to leave the UK. The HO gave a 'central' estimate of 430,000, within a range of 310,000 to 570,000. This same report gave an estimate of the total foreign-born population in the UK in April 2001 of 3.6 million.

An Ageing population
The UK population is an ageing population: persons under the age of 16 made up 26 per cent of the population in mid–1971, but by mid–2006, only 19 per cent. Over the same period the percentage of persons aged 65 and over rose from 13 to 16 per cent (R9). This lessens the support burden for young people (schooling etc) but increases the support burden for old people (health etc.). But the burden for old people has been partly alleviated by the fact that there was an increase in the working-age population, due to persons from the 'baby boom' generation joining the workforce from the late 1970s.

Population density (all figures population per sq. km).
According to the Council of Europe, figures for the beginning of 2005 showed the UK population density was 246, the fourth highest density in the then EU states (25 states), less than Malta (1274), (the Netherlands (393) and Belgium (341) slightly higher than Germany (231) and over twice the population density of France (110) . These figures should be contrasted with countries having very low population densities like Sweden (20) and Ireland (58) (R10) . But the density of the UK varied considerably between the constituent parts, with England having the highest density, 387 (nearly as high as the present Netherlands density), Wales having 142 and Scotland 65 (R11).

However, Mr. James Clappison, MP, tabled a question on population density in Parliament on the 7th of January 2008. The question was answered by the National Statistician's office on 18th February. The estimates for 2006 were, for the UK, 250 persons per sq km, and for England, 390 per sq km. And the principal projection gave the figure of 464 persons per sq km for England in 2031, a figure greatly exceeding the present population density of the Netherlands.

 

Return to CONTENTS



3) Population growth in the past

(3a). The actual growth in numbers

Since around the middle of the 18th Century, the population of the UK has grown massively. The population growth rate increased, then it steadied, and later decreased, producing the S shaped curve in the graph below. During this whole period the population went through what is known as the 'demographic transition' — the transition from a largely rural agrarian society with high fertility and mortality rates, to a predominantly urban industrial society with low fertility and mortality rates. The demographic transition is described in the Global section of the current page.

Growth of the Population of the UK, and of England and Wales

Numbers (millions)
Year UK E & W   Year UK E & W
1711   6.0   1891 34.3 29.0
1731   6.1   1911 42.1 36.1
1751   6.5   1931 46 40.0
1771   7.2   1951 50.2 43.8
1791   8.3   1971 55.9 49.2
1811   10.2   1991 57.4 50.7
1831 17.8 13.9   2005 60.2 53.4
1851 22.3 17.9   2006 60.6 53.7
1871 27.4 22.7   2007 61.0 54.1
UK,and England and Wales population growth
Sources for table: 1) Tranter (1973) Population since the industrial revolution: the case of England and Wales. Croom Helm. 2) Central Statistics Office (1935). Annual Abstracts of Statistics 84. 3) ONS (2009). Population Trends 136 table 1.2. Source for graph: ONS (2009). Population Trends 136 table 1.2

 

3b). The causes of population growth — natural increase and migration

Population growth is generally primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. The following diagram summarises the causal components of population growth

natural change Population change, increase (growth) or decrease, depends on two things , first what is termed natural change and second, net migration. If births exceed deaths, then natural change is positive and we speak of natural increase. If gross immigration exceeds gross emigration, migration is positive, that is we have net immigration. In the UK, births do exceed deaths, and gross immigration does exceed gross emigration. Consequently the population of the UK is increasing for two reasons, natural increase and net immigration.

 

We look first at natural increase.

From around the middle of the 18th century to the present time, births have exceeded deaths, and this has been the principal cause of the the massive growth of the UK population. During this period, death rates decreased first, birth rates decreasing much later. Only very recently has net migration become the main cause of population growth, as we will see shortly. The long term decline in yearly deaths has continued in recent times, although at a lower rate. People are living longer, in other words, life expectancy has increased. The situation with births is quite different: yearly births, which had been declining, have shown a marked upswing, increasing each year since 2001(see the table and figure below and R5).

Two terms much used by demographers are the Total Fertility Rate (TFR)and the Replacement Fertility Rate(RFR).
The TFR is the number of children that would be born to a woman if current patterns of childbearing persisted throughout her childbearing years (usually considered to be ages 15 to 49). More technically, “the average number of live children that a woman would bear if the female population experienced the age–specific fertility rates of the calendar year in question throughout their childbearing lifespan” (R12). The Replacement Fertility Rate (RFR) is the fertility rate that will ensure that each woman will be replaced by one daughter in the next generation. It is roughly 2 because it is only women that add the males as well as the females to the population! But it is a little over 2 because, first, slightly fewer girls are born than boys, and second, some baby girls do not survive to reproduce. For many years the TFR has been well below the replacement level in the UK and it was falling in the 1990s. But in the last few years there has been a marked and fairly steady increase as the following table shows (we will look at the reasons for this increase later).

England and Wales. Natural Change and Total Fertility Rate (TFR)

Natural Change & Total Fertility Rate (TFR)

Year Live Births Deaths TFR
1996 649,485 563,007 1.74
1997 643,095 558,052 1.73
1998 635,901 553,435 1.72
1999 621,872 553,532 1.70
2000 604,441 537,877 1.65
2001 594,634 532,498 1.63
2002 596,122 535,356 1.65
2003 621,469 539,151 1.73
2004 639,721 514,250 1.78
2005 645,835 512,993 1.79
2006 669,601 502,599 1.86
2007 690,013 504,052 1.92
graph of births, deaths, TFR
Source: ONS (2007 and 2008). Birth Statistics Series FMI no's. 35 and 36, tables 1.3 & 1.4.

We look, second, at migration

The most important source of information about international migration is the ONS periodical “International Migration Series MN”. This compiles data from three sources. First, the International Passenger Survey (IPS), a relatively small questionnaire based sample of persons entering and leaving the UK; second the Home Office data on asylum seekers and their dependants; third the Irish Central Statistics Office estimates of migration twixt the UK and the Irish republic.

In the UK, trends in international migration have changed greatly over the period 1965 to the present, the country changing from being a country of net emigration to a country of net immigration.

This period from 1965 can be divided into three parts (R7):

  1. 1975-1982. In most years the annual outflow was considerably greater than the annual inflow, so there was net emigration.
  2. 1983-1993. Inflows and outflows were roughly similar. There were small net inflows in most years but small net outflows in a few years.
  3. 1994 to recent times. There has been net immigration and this has shown an upward trend.

The following box shows net migration from 1991 to 2007.

UK. Past Net International Migration (the balance between gross immigration and gross emigration)

Year Thousands Year Thousands
1991 44 1999 163
1992 -13 2000 158
1993 -1 2001 173
1994 77 2002 154
1995 76 2003 147
1996 55 2004 244
1997 48 2005 204
1998 140 2006 191
    2007 237
past net immigration
The red line is the linear trend line of the points on the blue line. Source of data: ONS (2009). TIM table 2.01a, 1991-2007

Note. The figures for net immigration in the box above entirely ignore illegal immigration, for the simple reason that no accurate figures are available for such immigration (see previous section).

We now look more closely at the period 1994 to the present.
Both the total number of immigrants (gross immigration) and the total number of emigrants (gross emigration) have shown marked annual upward trends. But total immigration has increased much more than total emigration, so there has also been a marked upward trend in net immigration, which in recent times has been in the region of 200,000 (200 thousand) a year, which is a very large number. As the above box shows, there was a down–turn in net migration 2004 to 2006, but the data for 2007 shows this was a temporary change. It is worth noting that in 2006, the estimated number of people leaving the UK – 400,000 people – was the highest yearly number recorded, sustaining the level of high out–migration of the recent years. But estimated number of people arriving to live in the UK for at least a year was 591,000 (giving the net gain of 191,000 recorded in the above table). In 2007, 340,000 people left the UK, while 577,000 arrived, giving the net gain of 237,000.

There is one feature of the 2007 down–turn in net migration that the above box does not show us. If we look at a break down of net migration in terms of British and non–British, we see that as far as the non–British population is concerned, net immigration in fact continued to increase, not decrease. The reason for the down–turn in total net immigration was solely the massive net migration (net emigration) of the British category (we return to this topic in a later section):

 

Total recent UK Net International Migration together with its British and non–British components (thousands)

Year Total
Net migration
Net
British
Net
Non-British
2001 173 -48 221
2002 154 -87 242
2003 147 -91 238
2004 244 -107 351
2005 204 -89 293
2006 191 -126 316
2007 237 -96 333
components of recent net migration
Source: ONS (2009). Total International Migration TIM table 2.01a, 1991–2007

 

The relative importance of natural increase and international migration for UK population growth

Over the last 25 years, the contribution of natural increase to population growth, although varying, has been relatively constant. With international migration, the situation has been very different: “Between mid–1981 and mid–1986, the effect of net migration was to reduce the population slightly. This is in sharp contrast to recent years when net migration has been the predominant driver of population change. Between mid–2001 and mid–2006, net migration and other changes accounted for almost two–thirds of the 1.5 million growth in the UK population (not including the impact that net migration had upon the number of births in the UK)” (R3 p.15).

We now look at the bracketed bit of the above quotation, for international migration has indeed contributed to population growth not just directly (the net number of immigrants), but indirectly through its influence on the number of births, in two ways. First, immigrants have a younger age profile than the resident population, a larger proportion of the immigrant population belonging to the breeding age groups than that proportion in the resident population. Secondly, some major immigrant groups (first generation immigrants and descendants of earlier immigrants) originating from countries where fertility rates are much higher than the overall UK fertility rate, have a higher fertility rate than the resident population (R3, R 14).

Now recently there has been a rise in the number of births in the UK as we mentioned earlier, increasing by 15.4 per cent between 2001 and 2007. And over the same time period the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) rose rapidly from 1.63 children per woman to 1.9 children per women in 2007. So to what extent has immigration been the cause of these changes?

Any attempt to answer this question is hampered by lack of concrete statistical evidence – data that directly gives an answer is not available. Reliance has to be placed on some data that is available, from which an answer may be indirectly inferred, namely the estimated population of women of reproductive age by country of birth and the estimated total fertility rates (TFR) of UK born and foreign born women. But here the numbers of persons born in the UK will include second and third generation immigrants (born to earlier migrants). And a further complication arises from the fact that fertility of immigrant groups tends to decline over generations (first to second to third generation)(R5, R15).

A recently published study has attempted to analyse the various causes of the recent rises in number of births and of fertility rate in the UK, and assess the contribution of migration to population growth apart from the direct effect.

In considering the contribution of UK born and non-UK born mothers to population changes it must of course be remembered that the UK born population is far larger than the non–UK born population. But bearing in mind the importance of this difference to any population changes, between 2001 and 2007, while the number of births to UK born women increased by only 6.4 per cent, the number of births to foreign born women increased by 65.0 per cent. The rise in births to UK born women was primarily caused by rising fertility rates among UK born women (and remember that a small percentage of these women will be of immigrant descent). While the rise in births to foreign born mothers was primarily caused by the increase in the population of women born outside the UK, “particularly at ages where fertility is highest”. The chief conclusion of the study was:
“Two–thirds of the rise in births since 2001 can be attributed to foreign born women. This is mainly a consequence of the increased size of the foreign born population in the UK. Yet since 2004 rising fertility rates among UK born women has been the largest single factor increasing the overall number of births. However, due to decreasing numbers of UK born women at the peak childbearing ages, births to UK born women have only risen by a small amount” (R5).

3c). Effects of recent European enlargement.

In May 2004 ten countries joined the European Union (EU). These were the so-called 'A8' countries together with Cyprus and Malta. The A8 countries are:

  • Czech republic
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

This enlargement of the EU led to massive inflows of immigrants to the UK from the A8 countries, and received considerable attention in the media. For example, the Sunday Times stated in 2006 that the influx from the A8 during the preceding two years had been estimated as 350,000 (Times Online May 14th 2006), and quoted Professor John Salt of University College London as saying “What we are seeing now...is something unprecedented”.

 

A8 Countries. Migration to (inflow) and from (outflow) the UK

Migration flows (thousands)
Year Inflow Outflow Balance
2004 53 3 49
2005 76 15 61
2006 92 22 71
2007 112 25 87
graph of the migration
Source of data: ONS (2009).Total International Migration TIM table 2.01a

Unfortunately the currently available series MN data stops short at 2007. so this source does not enable us to see how migration flows might have changed since the economic down turn began, an issue to which we now turn.

There has been much media attention to the possible effects of the economic downturn on migration twixt the A8 countries and the UK. However, most of this has been anecdotal. And currently clear statistical evidence is limited.

A major source of information is the International Passenger Survey Questionnaire (IPS).This survey collects a variety of information from a sample of passengers entering or leaving the UK. However, the sample size relative to total inflows and outflows is very small. Further the Survey suffers from two other defects. First, it excludes some routes between the Irish Republic and the UK, and most asylum seekers and some dependents of same. Second, the estimates are based on respondents initial intentions. Stated intentions are not necessarily the real ones, and also may change after migration. These qualifications aside, the following graph shows the trend of net migration (immigration to the UK minus out-migration (usually to original home country).

IPS Estimates of Long-term International Migration Year ending figures.

histogram of net migration
Source: ONS. International Passenger Survey estimates of long–term international migration year ending September 2008.

These results strongly suggest that net immigration has been significantly reduced during the current economic downturn.

Another major source of information is 'Worker Registration Scheme' (WRS) operated by the the Home Office (HO). Workers coming into the country are expected to register with this scheme. Data shows that from May 1st 2004 to the end of June 2006 there were 447,000 applications — a massive number. The Polish contingent was by far the largest national contingent, making up 62% of the applicants (R16).

It must be noted that we cannot equate number of applicants to the WRS to the number of immigrants from the A8 countries. In the first place, workers who are self–employed are not required to register with the WRS. Second, “..there may also be other workers from the accession countries who for or one reason or another do not register and are thus also not included in these (WRS) figures” (R16). Is this rather vague statement referring to illegal immigrants? Third, the WRS data “...they give no clue to the duration of stay in the UK...” (R17).

Now on the 24th February 2009, the ONS issued a News Release “Latest migration statistics released”. This stated that initial applications to the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) fell in both 2007 and 2008 – Number of applicants: 2006, 235,000; 2007, 218,000; 2008, 165,000. The News Release also stated that “ there have been falls in National Insurance Number (NINo) applications by foreign nationals and in the number of initial applicants from the A8 EU Accession countries
registering for the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS)”.

We now look at recent published evidence on applicants approved, summarized in the following graph.

Total Approved Applicants from A8 countries, by quarter years.

applicants approved
Source: Home Office. Access Monitoring Reports.

We see that the number of approved applicants fell gradually in 2008 and continued to fall in the first quarter of 2009, mirroring in general terms the economic downturn.

To understand the long term impact of recent immigration from the A8 countries on UK population growth it is clearly necessary to consider not only the migration to the UK (in–migration) but also any subsequent emigration from the UK (out–migration, principally return migration to country of origin).

Now (2009) the UK Government's Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) has an obvious need for estimates of migration flows twixt the A8 nations and the UK, and it commissioned the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) to examine the impact of the economic downturn on migration. The CLG March preliminary report (R18) and the final NIESR report (R19) show that immigration to the UK from A8 countries has fallen and emigration from the UK has risen during the economic downturn, and ascribes these changes to the economic downturn. As for the future, the extent that the fall in net immigration will continue is likely to depend in part on how other economies perform in relation to the UK. Migration to the UK is likely to decline further owing to decreasing wage differentials and a less attractive exchange rate. The UK Home office has also provided evidence. Before the accession of the ten new EU member that, it estimated that on average 35 per cent of migrants would return home after the first year. But it was later estimated that on average 60 per cent of migrants from the new accession states returned home (R20).

Now a new report (5th August 2009) from the Institute for Public Policy research (IPPR) throws further light on return migration. It claims that the number of immigrants who are subsequently emigrating from the UK has and is increasing. And in the year ending September 2008 emigration of citizens of the A8 accession countries back to Europe doubled (R21).

We will return to the question of migration flows between the A8 states and Britain later in section 4.

The massive media attention to the flows of persons from the A8 countries should not however be allowed to obscure the fact that much larger net inflows in recent years seem to have been from New Commonwealth Countries (Indian sub–continent countries, former British Africa and Caribbean territories (R22).

NB. Since this UK section of the Population Trends page was revised and posted up onto the web in the middle of August 2009, The ONS has released more recent estimates of international migration trends at the end of the same month. We have reported on this on our News page in one of the entries dated 27th August. These new estimates confirm the view, expressed above, that accompanying the economic downturn and recession, there have been changes in immigration and emigration trends twixt A8 countries and the UK: Immigration to the UK from the A8 countries was less in 2008 than in 2007, while emigration from the UK of A8 immigrants ('return migration') was far greater in 2008 than it had been in 2007. We now reproduce the News item just mentioned.

UK. “Latest migration statistics published”.

Main conclusions about international migration trends to and from the UK in the year ending December 2008 compared with the year ending December 2007:

  1. Total migration. Total immigration was 527,000 persons in 2007, 512,000 persons in 2008, so only a small change between the years. Total emigration was 318,000 in 2007, 395,000 in 2008, a large rise (24%) between years. Net Immigration was 209,000 in 2007, 118,000 in 2008, so a large (44%) reduction between years.
  2. Non-British citizen migration. Total immigration was 456,000 in 2007, 441,000 in 2008, so only a small change between years. Total emigration was 158,000 in 2007, 237,000 in 2008, a large rise (50%) between years. Net immigration was 298,000 in 2007, 205,000 in 2008, a large reduction (31%) between years.
  3. A8 Accession countries migration. Total immigration was 109,000 in 2007, 79,000 in 2008, so a large decline (28%) between years. Total emigration was 25,000 in 2007, 66,000 in 2008, a massive rise (164%) between years. Net immigration was 84,000 in 2007, only 14,000 in 2008, a massive reduction of 83%.
References

“Latest migration statistics published”.
ONS
Table 1. International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of long–term international migration. Rolling annual data to Q4 2008.
ONS

(end of news item)

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4) Projections of future population growth and net immigration

A preliminary note on the nature of projections. One can never know exactly how many people there were in the UK in past years. But the population can be estimated. As far as future populations are concerned, it is possible to estimate what the population size will be (or the net migration will be) if we make any particular set of assumptions about natural increase (fertility and mortality) and migration. But one can make many such estimates, since one can make various alternative assumptions. Every second year a set of projections has been made by the Government Actuary's Department, and more recently by the National Statistics Centre for Demography within the Office of National Statistics: the Principal Projection and Variant Projections. The following account is based on the Principal Projection. A note on the variant projections will be found at the end.

Strictly speaking, a projection is a set of calculations which show how a population will develop when certain assumptions about the future course of fertility, mortality and migration are made. A forecast, on the other hand, is a projection in which assumptions are chosen which it is thought will yield a realistic picture of the probable future development of the population (R23). However, government will use projections in its planning, so the makers of projections “must accept the responsibility that (the projections) will be used as forecasts” (R24).

It is important to realize the limitations of medium term (such as up to say 2030 in the present case), and especially long term, population projections. As one demographer noted in 1981, we can think of useable forecasts for the next five to 20 years, but virtually no information at all on populations 100 years hence (R25).

The latest population projections. The following box summarises the latest (2006–based) principal projections for the UK as a whole and England.

2006–based projections

Population Projections 2006–based (thousands)
Year UK England Year UK England
2006 60,587 50,763 2046 75,810 65,075
2011 62,761 52,706 2051 77,236 66,519
2016 64,975 54,724 2056 78,564 67,885
2021 67,191 56,757 2061 79,831 69,200
2026 69,260 58,682 2066 81,119 70,532
2031 71,100 60,432 2071 82,478 71,923
2036 72,747 62,033 2076 83,878 73,350
2041 74.306 63.571 2081 85.252 74.753
 
projections 2006-based
Source . ONS (2008). Series PP2 no.26. 2006-based Population Projections, Appendix 1

The population of the UK is projected to rise from 60.6 million in 2006 to 69.3 million in 2026, an increase of 8.7 million — more than the present population size of London (7.5 million), the most populous UK city. But between 2006 and 2081, the population is projected to rise by 24.7 million — over three times the London population.
To put it another way, the UK population will increase by the present London population size, on average each 23 years. Such a population growth has serious implications for the loss of green land to housing and related infrastructure.

To what extent will this future population growth be caused by immigration rather than natural increase?

Net migration (gross immigration minus gross emigration) will be the main cause of population growth, as it is already, its share actually growing during the projection period.

NB. On the 27th August 2009, i.e. after the updated UK section of this page was posted on the web, the ONS released latest data for population growth and fertility (see News item for 27th August on our News page). For the year to mid–2008, natural increase exceeded immigration as a cause of UK population increase – the first time this has occurred since 1999. In the year to mid–2008 it is estimated natural increase caused 54% of the total population increase.

Now to examine the effects of migration in more detail.

It is assumed that the annual level of net international migration will decrease from the exceptionally high number in 2004, 223,000, to a long term annual number of 190,000, as follows:
Annual averages (thousands): 2006–2011: 220,000; 2011–2016: 193,000; 2016 onwards: 190,000.

Despite this decrease in annual numbers, it is important to realize three things:

  1. Throughout the projection period, net international migration, not natural increase, will be the main driver of population increase. And towards the end of the projection period it will be the only cause. The percentage increase in population due to migration will be as follows:
    2026: 65.1. 2031: 69.4. 2051: 89.8. 2081: all (R26).
  2. Without migration, instead of the population increasing by 24.7 million in 2081 and still increasing after that date,, it would only increase by 3.2 million, that increase being achieved by 2031 when the population growth would peak.
  3. 190,000 is still a significantly large number. Take the current population size of one UK major city, Sheffield, namely about 526,000. It will take less than three years for net immigration to add to the UK population as many people as now are found in Sheffield.

But international migration will cause the population of the UK to increase even more than the net international immigration figure

As explained in section 3b, the two determinants of population increase, natural increase (births minus deaths) and immigration are not independent of each other. And they interact in the 2006–based projections because the number of future births and deaths is influenced by net immigration. The key fact here is that migrants are concentrated at young adult ages, so the assumed level of migration affects the number of women of child bearing ages and hence the future number of births.

Considering the period 2006 to 2031, population growth can be ascribed to the components in the following table.

Directly attributed to net immigration Attributed to natural increase in the absence of net immigration Attributed to the effect of net immigration on natural change
46.7% 30.6% 22.7%
Source: Bray, H. (2008). 2006–based national population projections for the UK and constituent countries. PT 131: 8–18

 

So net immigration, directly and indirectly is projected to cause 46.7 + 22.7 = 69.4% of future population growth, or roughly 70%.

 

Uncertainties about future migration

The above projections conceal very real uncertainties about the future, to which we now turn.

Some general considerations

The populations of developing countries, many of them poor, are projected to rise collectively by 2.3 billion people by 2050 (R27). Now global warming is forecast to disrupt global food production in many of these countries, and rising sea levels, to submerged vast areas of agricultural land. So the potential for migration to the developed countries will increase. Rising food prices, caused by rising global food shortages, in turn caused by various factors but perhaps, over the long term, most significantly by climate change and continued population growth, are already causing conflict in many countries especially those that lie in the world's equatorial zone — see for example “The new face of hunger” (R28). While some of this migration will be absorbed by other so–called developing countries, there is bound to be an overspill towards the developed world, and so to the European Union and the UK.

As immigrant populations in developed countries have grown, migration through arranged marriages has grown as has the inflow of dependants. Employers in developed countries favour labour migration. And growing migrant populations in these countries, the activities of migrant pressure groups, and human rights considerations, may all make it more difficult to restrict immigration flows, rather, they will stimulate the relaxation of immigration controls (R26).

Migration to and from the A8 accession states

It seems that inflows of persons from the A8 European countries are slowing down. Further, it has been estimated that on average 60 per cent of migrants from the new accession states returned home after the first year, as we mentioned earlier in the previous section. But how will these migration flows change in the future?

What are the intentions of immigrants from the new EU accession states on the question of return migration? At the time of arrival, most immigrants are stated to be not intending to stay permanently in the UK. But researchers in a recent study conclude that, “as may be expected, some migrants who initially intended a temporary stay have decided to stay permanently, typically because they are in employment and economically successful in the UK” (R29).

A survey on legal job migrations from Poland to Great Britain carried out in a study by the Center for International Relations, Warsaw, Poland (CIR), founds that 51% of respondents in Britain answered that they wanted to return to Poland, while 23% answered that they were not intending to return. But the study cautions that:
“ further analysis of the time horizon for such returns, as well as the qualitative material gathered in the survey, are not indicative of a high level of certainty about their coming back, and, if so, such returns should rather be expected over a longer time horizon” (R30).

Four factors will influence the extent of return migration to Poland and other accession countries, and also the continued flow from these countries to the UK: the extent that the economies of these countries improve, competition for skilled workers throughout the EU and indeed the whole of the developed world, low birth rates in the accession countries, and consequently a reduction in the pool of potential migrants and the devaluation of the Pound Sterling:

Economic growth in Accession states.

A 2007 report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research, London (CEBR) said that the accession member states were experiencing a period of economic growth that is improving wages and living standards. Therefore, the report concludes, there will be less incentive to emigrate to the UK (R32— see also R33).

Competition for skilled workers.

As for competition between EU member states, another report from the CIR notes:
“There is no doubt that the Central European countries which for demographic reasons are for the moment a reservoir of labour force doing jobs requiring low or mid qualifications in EU 15 in a near future will need people to work. 2006 was the first year in which we noted shortages of labour force in many sectors despite high unemployment rate. These shortages in future will increase”. The report also speaks of measures that must be taken in this regard in Poland “In order not to fight a losing battle in the common European quest for legal labour force, both low and high qualified,...” (R31).

Birth rates.

The proportion of the population in the age groups 15–24 is shrinking in the new member states, and it is just these age groups that have been especially involved in migration to Britain. “As a result, the pool of people likely to migrate to the UK is getting smaller and is set to continue to do so in the coming years” (R33).

Devaluation of the Pound

The UK's currency has significantly weakened against the currencies of the new member states, and this reduces the value of remittances sent to the home countries, thus making the UK a less attractive migration destination (R33).

A NOTE ON VARIANT PROJECTIONS

We explained at the beginning of this section, that any projection is based on a set of assumptions concerning future fertility, mortality and migration. A variant projection then is variant because it is based on a different set of these assumptions. We can say that these variant projections give us different future scenarios. It is important to realise that variant projections do not, and are not intended to, provide upper and lower limits to future population growth or of the changes in the two components of this growth, namely natural change and migration. Indeed, the actual method used in making the projections are not of the type that allows the production of probability statements or confidence limits that can be produced with many statistical calculations. Details of the variant projections are given in the ONS publication series PP2, National Population Projections, and in less detail in the ONS publication series Population Trends.


New 2008-based Population projections.

Since the UK section of this page was last updated, in which the population projections section was based on the 2006–based projections, ONS has released 2008–based projections.
In terms of total population growth, there is only a small difference between the new principal projections and the 2006–based ones. Here are figures for 2009, 2051 and 2081 for total population size from the 2006–based and 2008–based projections:
Projection 2006–based 2008–based
Year 2009 2051 2081 2009 2051 2081
UK 61.9 77.2 85.3 61.8 77.1 85.1
England 51.9 66.5 74.8 51.8 65.9 73.9

The reason why the total population size is slightly less in the new projections is that ONS has now assumed that future net migration will be slightly lower than previously projected. Now we note that this century until the year ending middle–2007, net migration contributed more than natural increase to total population growth. But the ONS in a publication dated 27th August 2009 (“Browse by theme Population”) revealed that since 2002 natural increase increased and it contributed slightly more (54%) to total population growth than net migration in the year to mid–2008.

However, as we have already explained in this UK section of population trends, immigration contributes to population growth not only through the net number of immigrants, but because immigrants themselves reproduce and contribute to the number of births. And the “Statistical Bulletin National Population Projections 2008–based. 21 October 2009” that accompanies the new data sets states:
“The projected numbers of future births and deaths are themselves partly dependent on the assumed level of net migration. Because migration is concentrated at young adult ages, the assumed level of net migration affects the projected number of women of childbearing age and hence the projected number of births. Of the 5.6 million natural increase projected between 2008 and 2033, only 3.3 million would occur if net migration were zero (at each and every age) throughout the projection period (Table 3). Thus just over two–thirds of the projected increase in the population over the period 2008 to 2033 is either directly or indirectly due to migration (45 per cent directly attributable to future migration and a further 23 per cent indirectly due to future migration through its effect on natural change)” (our bold text).
We note however that no mention was made in this bulletin of the high total fertility rate of some ethnic group migrants and the possible effect of this on the number of births. And in this connection we note that the four most common countries of birth of foreign born mothers in 2007 were (in decreasing order) Pakistan, Poland, India and Bangladesh (R5 table 4), with the exception of Poland, countries where fertility rates are well above the overall UK fertility rate.

Note added 3rd November. When this box was put up on the page 26th October it was wrongly stated that the two most common countries of birth of foreign born mothers were Pakistan and Bangladesh. This was in fact the situation in 2001, not in 2007.

 

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5) Recent past projections: net immigration as a driving force underestimated

The Government Actuary's Department has made a new set of projections every two years (this task has now been taken over by the Office of National Statistics) and in this section we look at recent past projections. Before we do so, however, it is important to note the effect of the 2001 census on population estimates.

Projections in the decade before the 2001 census had been based on the previous, 1991, census. These projections each started with the estimated then current population size (called the base population). The 2001 census provided a means to check the estimated then current (2001) population size. The result showed that this had been significantly over–estimated in past projections. The reason stated was that past net migration (balance of gross immigration and gross emigration) had been overestimated. It was initially concluded that this over-estimation of past net migration was caused by an underestimation of past gross emigration. Some revisions have subsequently been made. Census methodology and analysis of results came in for considerable criticism, which we recorded in the version of this page before our 2004 revision of same ( now archived as item (b) on the archive page). Readers might also like to read a recent and comprehensive review of census population estimates by Ludi Simpson of the Cathie Marsh Centre, Manchester University (R45).

We now turn to the post 2001 census population estimates, namely the 2002–based and 2004–based projections, and compare these with the 2006–based projection we have already examined.

Post 2001 Census population projections.

How did the 2002–based projection compare to the pre–census 2000–based projection? Not surprisingly in view of what we have just noted about the 2001 census, the 2002–based projection for early years was lower than those of the pre–census projection. For example, for the year 2006 we have (thousands) 2000–based: 60,946; 2002–based: 59,995.
However, by 2051, the 2002–based projection estimate was larger than the 2000–based: 2000–based: 65,354; 2002–based: 65,440. And the gap between the two estimates widened progressively after 2051.

When we look at the two later projections (2004–based and 2006–based), we find that each increases population growth above the previous projection:

With the 2004–based projection, the main reason for the increase was increase in assumptions about future migration, although in the long term a reduction in mortality assumptions becomes increasingly important. With the new 2006–based projection, the increase is ascribed (in order of decreasing significance) to more births, more migrants and fewer deaths.

Finally, we would like to draw attention to one feature of projections we have not so far dealt with. In projections made in the 1990s before the 1996–based set, it was assumed that net international migration would tail off to zero in the long term. But starting with the 1996–based projections, this assumption has been dropped and replaced by the assumption that net international immigration would after a few years level off to a constant level in later years. This level is currently set at 190,000 per year, a little under the estimated net flow for 2006 (191 thousand). What are the reasons given by ONS for this constant level assumption? These appears to be merely that it is extremely difficult to predict changes in migration more than a few years ahead and that this assumption is normally made internationally ( for example, R33 page 19 left. See also ONS(1999) National Population Projections PP2 no. 21 1996-based national population projections).

These seem to us to be rather weak reasons. First, ONS makes projections for several decades later, so why not several decades for migration? If one has to choose a long term level, would it not be better to use the long term upward trend for guidance, rather than assuming net migration will soon settle to a constant annual level? Second, just because this assumption is normally made internationally, does not mean that the assumption is correct, or that UK circumstances are similar to circumstances in other countries.

We wish to emphasise that the 'push' and 'pull' factors for emigration from developing countries and conflict torn countries to developed countries that have been in operation for a long time, now aggravated by increasing wealth disparities between developed and developing countries and continued massive population growth in developing countries where levels of real poverty remain high, combined with government inability to control illegal immigration, let alone get a decent estimate of the extent of same, would suggest that net international migration may continue to increase for some years to come in the absence of government adopting firm immigration reduction measures (unlikely, we think).

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6). Population growth and migration in terms of nation of origin and ethnicity

It would be nice if there were available reliable and up–to–date statistics on birth, death, and migration trends in all ethnic groups over the last 50 years in the UK and constituent countries — there should be and could have been —but they are not. Nevertheless, the data that is available enables us to get a general picture of the present situation and how it has developed over the years

6a). Today's population

The following histogram shows the estimated sizes of ethnic groups in England in 2007, using the 2001 census classification of ethnic groups.

England: Ethnic Group Numbers 2007 (thousands)

Group Number   Group Number
1 42,736   9 906
2 571   10 354
3 1,776   11 339
4 283   12 600
5 114   13 731
6 261   14 118
7 212   15 400
8 1,316   16 376
histogram of ethnic minority populations
1 White: British 5 Mixed: White and Black African 9 Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 13 Black or Black British: African
2 White: Irish 6 Mixed: White and Asian 10 Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 14 Black or Black British: Other Black
3 White: Other 7 Mixed: Other Mixed 11 Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 15 Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Chinese
4 Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 8 Asian or Asian British: Indian 12 Black or Black British: Caribbean 16 Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Other
Source: ONS (2009)..Population Estimates by Ethnic Group: 2001 to 2007. Table EE4.

We see then that, in decreasing size order, the largest minority groups are Other White, Indian, Pakistani, African, followed closely by Irish and Caribbean.

6b). Population growth of ethnic groups in the past

Great Britain
In Great Britain prior to the twentieth century, although there had occasionally been substantial inflows of persons from other countries, no substantial ethnic minority populations with new languages, religion, or way of life were established. This changed in the twentieth century, especially after the second world war. “The arrival after the 1940s of large numbers of immigrants from Third World countries with populations which differed sharply by colour and race and (with the exception of the West Indians) by language and religion as well, was a break with the past” (R34 p. 475).

Since the second world war the transformation of the ethnic composition began with major influxes of people: first came West Indians (1950s), then Indians, then Pakistanis (1960s) later still people from Bangladesh. With the African population, communities were established in seaports in the late 1940s onwards, but substantial inflows came later partly resulting from political instability in Africa in the 1970s (R15, R35). It continued through further immigration, and the high fertility of some ethnic groups that we explore in sub–section 8c below. The consequence has been that “because of high fertility and continued immigration, New Commonwealth minority populations have increased rapidly from negligible numbers in 1945 to about 2.5 million in 1987... This represents an annual growth rate of about 5.2 per cent from 1971 to 1987” (R34 p. 501).

If we consider just the 1990s, the total population grew by 4 per cent.
But if population is disaggregated by ethnic group, it can be seen that 73 per cent of this total GB population growth came from the growth of the non–white populations. “The increase in the numbers of people from different ethnic backgrounds and countries is one of the most significant changes in Britain since the 1991 Census” (R36 p.2). We return to the subject of ethnic group immigration in sub–section 8b below.

England.
The majority of the ethnic minority population lives in England, and useful data, not available for the whole of the UK, is available for England for the period 1981 to 2007.

We first look at look at results from the work of P. Rees and colleague R37, R38). Here are some major conclusions from this work:

  • The total White population only grew a little. The % change 1981–1991: 0.4%, 1991–2001: 0.2%
  • In contrast, the total ethnic minority population almost doubled The % change 1981–1991: 40.7%, 1991–2001: 39.1%.
  • All non-white ethnic minority groups grew 1981–2001 except the Black: Other group.
  • The Bangladeshi group grew the fastest 1981–2001, followed by the the Black: African group.

We now look at results from the 'experimental statistics' of the ONS. The following table tabulates basic data.

 

England: Estimated mid–year population numbers of ethnic groups (thousands)
Group 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
White: British 42925.8 42867.9 42805.1 42756.2 42752.3 42,737.7 42736.0
White: Irish 628.8 619.9 611.1 601.9 591.9 581.3 570.5
White: Other 1342.3 1396.6 1447.9 1514.1 1623.1 1699.1 1776.3
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 234.4 242.1 250.0 258.1 266.3 274.5 282.9
Mixed: White and Black African 78.3 83.5 89.4 95.3 101.4 107.7 114.3
Mixed: White and Asian 187.2 197.6 208.7 219.9 233.1 246.4 260.9
Mixed: Other Mixed 154.3 162.5 171.3 180.5 190.6 200.9 212.0
Asian or Asian British: Indian 1045.6 1074.7 1109.1 1156.0 1215.2 1264.2 1316.0
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 720.0 742.1 764.0 795.1 826.4 861.0 905.7
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 281.5 291.6 302.1 313.1 324.5 338.3 353.9
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 243.8 259.9 275.8 291.0 309.7 323.1 339.2
Black or Black British: Black Caribbean 569.8 574.5 581.0 586.5 590.1 594.7 599.7
Black or Black British: African 491.1 532.2 578.6 620.5 658.5 694.5 730.6
Black or Black British: Other Black 97.4 100.2 103.7 107.0 110.4 113.8 117.6
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Chinese 227.0 255.3 285.8 315.0 346.9 374.2 400.3
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Other 222.4 251.8 282.7 300.7 325.2 351.5 376.1
Total all Non–White British groups 6523.9 6784.5 7061.2 7354.7 7713.3 8025.2 8356.0
Total all Non–White groups 4552.8 4768.0 5002.2 5238.7 5498.3 5744.8 6009.2
ALL groups 49449.7 49652.3 49866.2 50110.7 50465.6 50762.9 51092.0
 
Source: REF. ONS (various dates). Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (Experimental) table EE1

 

What stands our most from the above table are:
1) There has been a significant decrease in size of the White: British population.
2) There has been a much more significant growth in the non–white and the non–White: British populations. Back in 2007 the National Statistician, Karen Dunnell pointed out about the situation then: “The latest experimental population estimates by ethnic group for England indicate that between mid–2001 and mid–2005 the population belonging to non–white ethnic groups increased by 945,000, accounting for almost 11 per cent of the English population in mid–2005” (R3 p. 14).
3) all non–White: British groups increased during the total period, with the exception of the White: Irish group that decreased like the White: British group.
4) With all groups that increased during the period, the increase took place throughout the period, that is, there was an upward trend with each group.
5) There were considerable differences between group growth rates 2001 to 2007. The three fastest growing groups were Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Chinese (76.34% increase), Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Other (69.11%) and Black or Black British: African (48.77%). In contrast, the Black or Black British: Black Caribbean was a mere 5.25% – by far the slowest growing group (the next slowest being Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 20.69%).

There is just one caveat about the above conclusions, and that concerns the White: Irish group, for there is considerable doubt about its size in 2001 (R35).

What is clear from the evidence given in this sub–section 6b, is that after many centuries during which the population was almost entirely White, and mainly White: British, a sudden and massive transformation of society is underway through the growth of ethnic minority populations.

To what extent is recent population growth due to natural increase and to what extent is it due to migration?
Well data is available for England. In the table below minority ethnic groups are combined into main categories.

England. Components of growth, and average percentage annual growth rate 2001–2007

Group Total Growth Natural Growth Net Migration % Annual growth
All
people
1,642 689 934 0.5
White:
British
-190 181 -380 -0.1
Mixed
 
216 169 46 4.9
Asian
 
624 222 401 4.1
Black
 
290 97 191 3.8
Chinese
& Other
327 28 299 9.5
White British population growth components Asian population growth components
Source. ONS (2009). Population Estimates by Ethnic Group: 2001 to 2007 Commentary, table 2: Components of Change, England, 2001-2007.

Not surprisingly in view of the evidence presented above, the White: British group population is seen as declining through emigration. The two graphs illustrate the difference between this group and ethnic minority groups. It is also not surprising that with the Mixed group, growth was mainly caused by natural growth, because most mixing between whites and others occurred in England, not in other countries prior to emigration to England.

What is most interesting is the fact that with each of the three minority groups listed, Asian, Black, and Chinese and Other, net migration has been the principle cause of population growth.

6c. Fertility of ethnic groups

We give below estimates for England of total fertility rates 2003–2004 from the so-called 'experimental statistics' of the ONS (see the appendix to this page for details of the method).

A word first about the black rectangles on the top of the columns. These increases in fertility rate derive from improvements in fertility estimation methodology (“Population estimates by Ethnic Group: 2001 to 2004: Commentary”, accessed from R39).

We see that the fertility rates of all three white groups are way below the replacement level of roughly 2.1. The ethnic minority fertility rates vary considerably. Some have a fertility rate below replacement level, like the white groups. The lowest rate is for the Chinese group. Some have a fertility rate above replacement level, sometimes greatly in excess of that level. The highest rate was for the Pakistani group, closely followed by the Bangladeshi group. The Indian group is estimated to have a below replacement fertility level, although an earlier study suggested that this group had a fertility rate a little above replacement level (40). This same earlier study also reported on attitudes to family size. The family size preferences of Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups were higher than the preferred family size of the long-term indigenous population (which were mainly the White: British group).

England. Estimated Fertility of Ethnic Groups 2003 and 2004

2004 data
Group TFR   Group TFR
1 1.74   9 2.53
2 1.69   10 2.45
3 1.66   11 2.10
4 1.93   12 1.77
5 2.13   13 2.26
6 1.62   14 1.72
7 1.68   15 1.42
8 1.62   16 1.67
1histogram
 
Colour Key. Original Estimates for 2003: red, green, purple, ochre, blue, grey. Increases for 2004: black
Ethnic group KEY

'ALL': All people
1: White: British
2: White: Irish
3: White: Other White
4: Mixed: White and Black Caribbean
5: Mixed: White and Black African
6: Mixed: White and Asian
7: Mixed: Other Mixed
8: Asian or Asian British: Indian

9: Asian or Asian British: Pakistani
10: Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi
11: Asian or Asian British: Other Asian
12: Black or Black British: Caribbean
13: Black or Black British: African
14: Black or Black British: Other Black
15:Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Chinese
16: Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Other
Ethnic Group
 
The ethnic classification is the one used in the 2001 Census
 

Data sources for the histogram. 2003 estimates: Large, P. and Ghosh, K. (2006). “Estimates of the population by ethnic group for areas within England”. Population Trends 124, ONS.
2004 estimates: Data kindly supplied to us by P. Large. All the data comes from 'experimental statistics' which have significant methodological limitations (see Appendix).
 

Now the same authors, using the same methodology as used for 2003 above, published fertility estimates for 2001 (R41).
The pattern of difference between ethnic groups there is the same as that for 2003 and 2004. But the actual value for each group is lower. This implies a rise in fertility of groups between 2001 and 2003.

6d). Age composition of ethnic group populations.

England. Percentage Age Composition of Ethnic groups 2004

Females. 15–44 age groups as % of total number for group, mid–2004
Group %   Group %
1 39   9 52
2 31   10 53
3 58   11 53
4 44   12 51
5 47   13 60
6 45   14 56
7 48   15 64
8 53   16 63
histogram
 
  Colour Key. Red: All groups. AGE GROUPS: ochre: 0–15; blue: 16–64/59; grey: 65/60+
The table is based on data in “Population estimates by ethnic group 2001–2004” Table “EE4: Estimated resident population by ethnic group, age and sex, mid–2004 (experimental statistics)”. ONS The histogram is based on data in “Population estimates by ethnic group 2001–2004” Table “EE2: Estimated resident population by ethnic group, age and sex, mid–2004 (experimental statistics)”. ONS

Turning to age structure in 2004 (the histogram above) we look first at the young age groups (0–15 years). What stands out most is the relatively high percentage of the population in these age groups in all the Mixed ethnic groups. All the Asian groups have a higher proportion of their populations in these age groups compared with the White groups, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups a much higher proportion. We note that the Pakistani group has the second largest total population of the non-White groups, much larger than any of the Mixed groups, so its relatively young age structure has obvious implications for the future changes in the ethnic composition of England. Now it is worth noting that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are predominantly Muslim peoples, and we see the significance of religion in the next sub-section.

With the working age groups (16-64/59), there is considerable variation between non–White ethnic groups. However, the the Mixed groups all have a lower percentage than the White: British, while the Black Caribbean, Black African and especially the Chinese: Chinese and the Chinese: Other have a much larger percentage. Of particular interest for future changes in ethnic composition in England are the percentages in what we may term the 'breeding age groups'. For present purposes we will take these to include the 15–19 age group through to and including the 40–44 age group (table above for mid–2004). Just considering females (only females produce offspring!) we see that apart from the White: Irish group, all the other ethnic groups have a higher proportion than the White: British, usually a much higher proportion.

Considering the older age groups (65/60+), the White: British has the largest percentage of its population in these groups than any other group apart from the White: Irish group. In terms of larger group categories (White, Mixed, Asian, Chinese and other) the Mixed group stands out as having the lowest percentage of its population in this age group.

A good way to conceptualize the variation of age structure between populations is to construct what are termed 'age pyramids'. We would prefer the term age profiles since the shapes of some 'pyramids' are decidedly not what one expects of a pyramid! The following diagram shows variation in age profiles. The vertical axis shows age and the horizontal axis shows the proportion of the population that is in each age category. Colour key for the age groups. Green: Pre–working age groups. Orange: working age groups. Grey: post–working age groups. Notice the left-right (make–female) profile asymmetry. This is because women tend to live longer than men.

young intermediate old
YOUNG. Each successive age group (from 0–4 to 85+ is smaller than the preceding age group. The working age group (shown in orange) has to provide for a comparatively large population of children. However children can help their parents in growing food, collecting firewood, etc. INTERMEDIATE. The age pyramid is dominated by the working age groups. Given appropriate conditions (low unemployment etc.) the working age population is potentially well able to support the old and the young. OLD. Now the pyramid is almost rectangular in shape. The working age population needs to support a large population of older people.
SOURCE: Our essay “the demographic dividend” accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page of our web site.

Actual age profiles of different ethnic groups have been prepared, apart from the 'mixed' and 'other' groups, whose populations are very heterogeneous (R33).
The Pakistani and Bangladeshi profiles are of the form of the 'young' profile on the left in the above diagram. The population that best approaches the 'old' population profile on the right is the White : British. The White: Irish profile has a peculiar shape, with a decided outward bulge for the age groups of about 20 to 80, with a maximum width for the age groups 50 to 70, so like the White: British, a greater proportion of the population is towards the apex of the profile. The other groups are more like the intermediate profile above, although each has its own distinctive shape.

Finally, what about the profiles of immigrant groups, that is, the first generation of the immigrants in Britain? Well: “Migrants have a younger age profile than the resident population, around a half of international migrants are aged between 25 and 44” (R7), so they fall within the working and breeding age groups. And the Home Office report on workers from the 10 countries that joined the EU since May 2004 states that the majority are young, between the ages of 18 and 34. But 94% of these workers stated that they had no dependants living with them (R42).

6e). Religion

A government article (R43) states:
“Families headed by a Muslim are more likely than other families to have children living with them. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) had at least one dependent child in the family in 2001, compared with two fifths of Jewish (41 per cent) and Christian (40 per cent) families. Muslim families also had the largest number of children. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of Muslim families had three or more dependent children, compared with 14 per cent of Sikh, 8 per cent of Hindu, and 7 per cent of Christian families” (our bold text).

The article goes on the say that while the larger proportion of families with children and larger family sizes partly reflects the younger age structure of the Muslim population (see also R44), it may also reflect the intention of Muslims to have larger families (our bold text). Noting that many Muslims have a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background, the article says that these ethnic groups intend to have on average three children, while the White population intend two.

The 2006 ONS report “Focus on Ethnicity and Religion”, reiterates the idea that Muslims tend to have larger families, but it takes the analysis a step further. It notes that differences between religious groups are highly correlated with ethnicity. However, ethnicity does not explain fully the differences between religious groups. “Religion can exert a strong influence, sometimes being more important than ethnic group in determining household characteristics. For example, in all ethnic groups, Muslims tended to have larger average household sizes and a greater number of dependent children” (our bold text) (R43).

Now Eric Kaufmann of Birkbeck College, University of London has been studying secularisation in Europe (R46, R47 and personal communication). He notes that religious people tend to have a higher fertility than non-religious people, “consistently choose to have more children, regardless of education, income, nation, denomination or generation”. And in an analysis of data from ten west European countries for the period 1981–2004, Kaufmann found that next to age and marital status, it was a woman's 'religiosity' (it would be better we think to use the less judgemental term 'strength of religious affiliation') that was the strongest predictor of the number of offspring she produced, and he states that many other studies have reached the same conclusion. He also argues that immigrants into Europe tend to be more religious than the host population and he states that several other studies have drawn this conclusion. Moreover, there seems to be little or no decline in 'religiosity' between immigrants and their first and second generation descendants, especially with Muslims.

As far as the native Christian population is concerned, secularisation seems to be levelling out. Turning from the Christian population to the overall religious population, Kaufmann argues that there will be a growing religious population well before 2050. This will be through a virtual cessation of apostasy from religion among those born after 1945, Muslim immigration and retention between generations of their 'religiosity', the fertility difference between secular and religious populations, and finally, females are over–represented among those under 45 who remain religious.

6f). Past international migration of ethnic groups

Introduction

“Modest migration has always been a feature of Great Britain, but much of the ethnic and religious diversity of the current population is a result of large scale migration from the 1950s onwards. Early immigration waves included economic migrants from Ireland, the Caribbean and India, followed by migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh, their wives and dependants. Since the 1980s migration from Africa and China has increased and has included students and asylum–seekers, as well as economic migrants” (R35 page 20).

Migrants from Ireland have been coming to Britain for a long time, but this immigration increased in the 1930s to 1961, then increased again in the 1980s onwards.
Until the 1950's there were few people in Great Britain from the Caribbean and South Asia. But in the 1950s this changed — there was mass immigration from these areas. The massive net Black Caribbean migration took place in the 1950s and 1960s and came to an end after 1974, but immigration from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh continued at a reduced rate. The peak flows of the countries involved came in the following order. First Black Caribbean migration, second, Indian migration, and finally, Pakistani and Bangladeshi migration. As regards the latter two nations, mass immigration from Pakistan occurred in the 1960s and continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s (driven by family reunion). Immigration from the region that is now Bangladesh began before the 1960s, but it increased after the Pakistan nation was formed in 1971 as a split–nation from Pakistan.
One more nation should be mentioned, namely, China. Migration from mainland China started in the late 19th century but increased from the 1980s onwards (with many people coming from China to study), and there has also been immigration from Hong Kong (R34, R35 R48,).

Inflows (gross immigration)

Available data allows us to classify immigrants in a variety of ways, each giving us insight into the ethnic composition of immigration flows. One way that is very relevant to current concerns about cultural change is to divide immigrants into those from European nations (i.e. countries with a relatively similar cultural heritage) and non-European nations (that usually have a cultural heritage very different from the European). With this classification, and around the year 2000, nearly 66 per cent of immigrants to Britain were from non-European countries. This, bearing in mind the large size of immigrant flows, presages massive cultural change . Britain is not alone in Europe in experiencing this large inflow of non-Europeans. With the Netherlands it was 62 per cent, and with France, 59 per cent (R49).

Some data is now available for a sub–division of the European: non–European level classification, i.e. to the country of origin level. This data was obtained in the UK parliament by Mr. James Clappison MP (question tabled 7th January 2008, answered from the Office of the National Statistician 18th February 2008). Parliamentary questions and answers may be viewed by going to the Parliament web site (http://www.parliament.uk/) then browsing in Hansard).

The data was only from the main source of information on immigration, the International Passenger Survey, so does not include some categories of immigrants such as asylum seekers. Nevertheless, it suggests the general way that national immigration flows have been changing over the years. Here we give information about the countries that contributed the most immigrants in each 2 year period.

Top 10 citizenships migrating to the UK
1997–98   1999–2000   2001–02   2003–04   2005–06
1 British   1 British   1 British   1 British   1 British
2 Australia   2 Australia   2 Australia   2 India   2 Poland
3 France   3 USA   3 China   3 China   3 India
4 USA   4 China   4 India    4 South Africa   4 Pakistan
5 Greece   5 France   5 South Africa   5 Australia   5 Australia
6 New Zealand   6 India   6 Philippines   6 Pakistan   6 China
7 Germany   7 South Africa   7 USA   7 France   7 South Africa
8 South Africa   8 New Zealand   8 Germany   8 USA   8 USA
9 India   9 Germany   9 France   9 Philippines   9 Germany
10 Malaysia   10 Pakistan   10 New Zealand   10 Poland   10 New Zealand

What stands out most from the trends across the whole period is the change from the situation where most immigrants came from countries with predominantly a white population, to the situation where there is a very significant contribution from countries that have a predominantly non-white population, certain Asian countries. Also noteworthy at this stage is the new entry into the upper reaches of the top ten in the final two year period — Poland: The Times Online May 14th 2006 article we mentioned earlier quoted Professor David Coleman of Oxford University as saying “From one country in a very short space of time, it must be the largest influx we have ever seen” and quoted Professor John Salt of University College London as saying “What we are seeing now...is something unprecedented”.

Duration of stay of immigrants. Do they usually stay permanently?

Rendall and Ball (R50) studied migration streams in the 1980s and 1990s. They found there was considerable complexity not only in the composition of migration streams in terms of nation of origin of immigrants and the date of their arrival, but also in the extent that immigrants remained in the UK. We focus here on short term immigration and nation of origin.

The report shows that short–term immigration is commoner for people from some countries than for others. A rough generalization is expressed by the reports authors in terms of wealth: short term immigration is more associated with higher–income countries than with low–income countries.

Immigrants from the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA have relatively high rates of subsequent emigration, over 50 per cent emigrating again within five years. These are the higher–income countries. In contrast, lower–income countries have a lower rate of subsequent emigration, well under twenty per cent for the Indian sub–continent. Rendall and Salt (R51) confirm the general difference between higher and lower–income countries. What Rendall and Ball's report does not draw our attention to however, is the long term consequences in terms of changing ethnic composition of our population. For instead of talking in terms of income, we can talk in terms of ethnic groups and re–phrase the authors conclusion: Return migration is commonest with people who originated in countries where White ethnic groups predominate, groups all of which have their cultural roots in Europe. In contrast, migrants from the Indian sub–continent have a greater tendency to stay in the UK, and they belong to non-White ethnic groups. These results have clear implications for the changing relative size in the UK of groups with a European heritage and groups with a non-European heritage.

Now it seems as if migration between the UK and Poland is coming to conform to this generalisation (see Section 4 for changes taking place).

Now duration of stay of immigrants affects the age structure of the foreign-born population, affects the old–age dependency ratio, that is the the ratio of people of pensionable age to people of working age. Immigrants are usually relatively young when they arrive. So a consequence of shorter length of stay is the greater youth of the foreign born population. “To have an older immigrant population requires both that immigrants settle and that they arrived a relatively long time ago” . The lowest old–age dependency ratios occur with groups characterised with shorter patterns of stay (Oceania and to a lesser extent North America), and groups where immigration has been more recent (most notably Africa but also the Far East).This relationship between duration of stay and the degree of youthfullness of the foreign born population is clearly relevant to fertility differences between ethnic groups (R51).

Now duration of stay affects total net migration, to which we now turn.

Net migration

An insight into net migration comes from information on the populations of foreign born members of the population, for these populations are likely to be the principal cause of the volume of net migration. Here is information for Great Britain around AD 2000.

Great Britain Foreign Born Population (15 years old +) around AD 2000

Region of Origin Numbers (thousands)
Africa (AF) 762.6
Asia (AS) 1,475.4
Latin America (LA) 324.1
North America (NA) 193.3
Oceania (OC) 156.8
EU15 1,183.1
EU A10 202.6
Other Europe (OE) 166.1
Unspecified (UN) 39.5
histogram of foreign born populations
Source of data used: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) (2008)
“A profile of immigrant populations in the 21st Century”. Table 0.1. Copyright OECD.

What stands out most is the very large population of Asian persons, and the nearly as large population of members of the EU15.

Finally, information on births to mothers who were born outside the UK gives another insight into immigrant flows. In 2006, 22 per cent of all births in England and Wales were to mothers born outside the UK. This is the highest proportion since registration of parents' country of birth at birth registration was introduced in 1969. Further, from 1969 to around 1990, the annual percentage was always roughly around 13 per cent. But about 1990 an upward trend developed. So the high value in 2006 has been reached in less than 20 years (R52).

Data is available to allow a comparison of migration trends of British versus non-British persons, a comparison we also looked into earlier (section 3b) where we saw that net migration since 2001 has two contrasting components the British and non-British. Now in the following we extend the time period backwards to 1993.

UK: Net migrant flows, British and Non–British, 1993–2007 (thousands)
Year 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
British –62 –16 –51 –62 –59 –22 –24 –62
Non–British +62 +94 +127 +116 +107 +162 +187 +220
All citizenships –1 +77 +76 +55 +48 +140 +163 +158
Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007  
British –48 –87 –91 –107 –89 –126 –96  
Non–British +221 +242 +238 +351 +293 +316 +333  
All citizenships +173 +154 +147 +244 +204 +191 +237  
Source: Source: ONS, Total International Migration (TIM) tables, table 2.01a. 1991-2007

There has been a net outflow of British citizens, and a net inflow of non-British citizens throughout the period from 1993 onwards. But there has been a net gain of population through migration throughout this period (except for 1993). The flows of both groups have generally been substantial. Further, the flows show trends - increasing net immigration of non-British and increasing net emigration of British citizens.

Actually the net inflow of non-British and net outflow of British citizens did not begin in the early 1990s. There was in fact a net inflow of non-British citizens in every year from 1981 onwards. With British citizens there was a net outflow in every year in the 1980s except for 1985 (R53). In both 1991 and 1992 there were net outflows of British and net inflows of non-British (TIM tables). So the net outflow of British and the net inflow of non-British citizens has been a feature of UK population change for a long time.

All this suggests that in terms of actual ethnic groups (as defined for the census), there has been a massive net outflow from the largest ethnic category, namely the White: British and a large net inflow of ethnic minority persons, but the data just reviewed does not allow us to go further in terms of ethnicity

So we turn now to a standard official classification of citizenship used in migration statistics: British, European Union (recently also divided into EU 15 and EUA8), Old Commonwealth, New Commonwealth and 'Other Foreign'. The following graphs summarise the situation for main categories for 2004, 2005, and 2006 (the latest year for which figures are available). As an illustration of the figures used we give the data for 2006 below the graphs.

Net International Migration. Citizenship (numbers are thousands)

international migration graph international migration graph international migration graph
international migration graph international migration graph Key: I, gross inflow. O, gross outflow. B, balance (net migration).  Blue, 2004. Pink, 2005. Orange 2006

Sources of information . Total International Migration (TIM) series 1991-2006

UK: Migrant flows, 2006, in terms of citizenship (thousands)
  British European Union Old Commonwealth New Commonwealth Other foreign
Inflow +81 +167 +62 +139 +142
Outflow +207 +66 +42 +24 +61
Balance –126 +100 +20 +115 +81
Source: Source: Source: ONS, Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991-2006. Also found in Salt, J. (2007) . International migration and the United Kingdom . Report of the United Kingdom Sopemi Correspondent to the OECD.

Note how the shape of the New Commonwealth graph differs from all the other graphs. In contrast to the other groups, relatively few persons left the UK, so that the balance, i.e. the net migration, is similar in size to the net immigration. This suggests that most New Commonwealth immigrants more generally stay permanently in the UK which is consistent with what we found in the previous sub-section. Since we published these graphs in our revision of the UK section of this page in the middle of last year, data has become available in TIM tables for 2007. This data confirms the shape differences between the different categories, and in particular, the distinctive shape of the New Commonwealth graph.

We also note that a new report (5th August 2009) by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) draws a conclusion that adds further support to our conclusion about New Commonwealth migrants. The report states that while migrants from more developed countries tend to stay for shorter periods, migrants from poorer countries tend to stay for longer periods or settle permanently (R21).

Finally, we now have an estimate of net migration of foreign groups over the last one and a half decades:

FIGURE 2
Scale and composition of foreign net immigration to the UK by nationality,
1991-2006 (thousands and %)
 
fig.2 from chapter 2 of the economic impact of immigration
 
EU15: the fifteen EU member states before EU enlargement in 2004
A8: the eight East European countries that joined the EU in 2004
Old Commonwealth (Old CW): Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
New Commonwealth (New CW): all other Commonwealth countries
Source: ONS, Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991-2006
 

This figure comes from House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs (2008) “The economic impact of immigration. Volume 1: Report” HL Paper 82–1 .

Now In the media, including the BBC, in recent times, all the emphasis has been on the massive immigration from A8 countries, especially from Poland , since the recent EU enlargement. Rarely, if ever in some media, is the size of the 'Other' and New Commonwealth (NC) categories immigration mentioned. But we see from the above table that the net inflows of both 'Other' and NC migrants greatly exceeds the net inflows of the A8 countries. What is more, the net inflow of the NC group has increased in recent years.

In one sense the numerical disparity of net immigration between the A8 and the New Commonwealth groups of nations should come as no surprise, when we recall that there has been a massive outflow again of Polish immigrants to Britain (section 3c) and it is people from poor countries who, having come to Britain, tend to stay here (section 6f).

6g). Relationship between variation of fertility between ethnic groups and total fertility change in the UK

Some estimates are available on the fertility rates of residents by country of birth of mother for England and Wales:

England and Wales. Total fertility rates (TFR's): country of birth of mother, 2001

The Rates

United Kingdom (UK) 1.6
India (IND) 2.3
Pakistan (PAK) 4.7
Bangladesh (BAN) 3.9
East Africa (EAF) 1.6
Rest of Africa (RAF) 2.0
Remainder of New Commonwealth (RNC) 2.2
Rest of the World (RWD) 1.8
fertility rates
Source: ONS (2007) Birth Statistics Series FM1 no.36 table 9.5.

Country of birth does not correspond to ethnicity. The 'rest of the world' is a very mixed bag, ethnically speaking. And the UK born will include minority groups as well as the White: British group, although the vast majority of persons will belong to the White: British group. The other groups are ethnically more homogeneous. And the proportion of White: British in these other groups will be small or very small.

What stands out most from the above table and graph is that with the exception of the East African group, all the outside of UK groups have fertility rates higher than the group of mothers born in the UK, the Pakistan and Bangladesh born groups having by far the highest fertilities. And we saw (section 6c) that considering the whole ethnic group populations in England and Wales, as distinct from country of birth populations, it is the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups that have the highest fertilities of all ethnic groups.

One might expect some correlation between these fertility differences in England and Wales, and the fertilities differences between countries of origin. If we look at fertility in countries of origin (table below), and consider India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the fertility rates in those countries in the period 2000 to 2005 were, respectively, 3.11, 3.99 and 3.22. All these rates are well above replacement level, and well above the rates of the corresponding total populations in England and Wales. But the order of these country of origin estimates is the same as the order of fertility rates in the above table, and the order of fertility rates in the total England and Wales populations, that is, India lowest, Bangladesh intermediate, and Pakistan highest. Another point. The differences between country of origin fertilities and total UK group population fertilities are consistent with the hypothesis that the fertility rates of immigrant populations that have a much higher fertility than the host population, will gradually over generations decrease to that of the host population. Finally, it is interesting that with the Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations, the fertility rates of the foreign born populations are much higher than the fertility rates in country of origin. Have conditions in England and Wales promoted an increase in fertility? Or is it that immigrants from these two countries are relatively young compared with country of origin total populations?

Fertility estimates
Group Total Group Fertility, 2004 Group fertility by Country of Birth of mother, 2001 Fertility in Country of Origin, 2000–2005
White: British, England and Wales(ew), or Total UK(uk) 1.74ew 1.6uk 1.7uk
Indian 1.62 2.3 3.11
Pakistani 2.53 4.7 3.99
Bangladeshi 2.45 3.9 3.22
Sources. Mr. Pete Large, ONS (total group fertility). Birth Statistics Series FM1 no.35 Table 9.5 (by country of birth). UN. World Population Prospects the 2006 revision (country of origin)

In an earlier section (3b) we noted that the total UK fertility rate has risen sharply in recent years. So the question arises, to what extent may this be caused by higher fertility of some ethnic groups . We now add the following information about changes in fertility rate (R3):

  • Between 2002 and 2006, in England and Wales, the estimated fertility rate for women born outside the UK rose from 2.3 to 2.5, but rose from 1.5 to 1.7 for UK born women.
  • 15 per cent of births in the UK in 2001 were to mothers born outside the UK, this percentage increasing to nearly 21 per cent in 2006.
  • In terms of different age groups, the fertility of women born outside the UK has increased more in the 25–29 and 30–34 age groups than it has for UK born women. But the small increase in fertility of women in the 20–24 age group seems to be accounted for by women born in the UK.
  • There is evidence that women born outside the UK have higher intended family sizes at each age than UK born women. And with the 30–34 age group 18 per cent of women born overseas intended to have four or more children, compared with 11 percent of UK born.

Now it was concluded that international migration has impacted on the number of births in the UK in recent years. And “although it does not on its own explain the rise in the TFR for the UK over the past five years, analysis suggests that it has indeed contributed to this rise. The higher average fertility of women born overseas, especially in countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, is of particular relevance when considered alongside the relatively young adult age structure of the UK population of Asian ethnic origin” ( R3). The Press release on this publication (11th December 2007) stated the overall conclusion of the work quite simply as “Both UK born and non-UK born women have contributed to the consistent rise in fertility rates in the UK between 2001 and 2006” (a similar statement in the following 21st August Press release).

Finally, remembering the massive immigration of people from Poland in recent times, we note that the Daily Mail newspaper, 2nd December 2006, was suggesting that the birth rate of Polish immigrants was greater than in many cities in Poland (in general in Poland the fertility rate is well below replacement level).

The fertility trends discussed in this sub-section are obviously relevant to any attempt to forecast or to project the future growth of ethnic minority populations in the UK, to which we now turn.

6h). Projections of future population growth of ethnic minority populations

The information given so far in section 6 provides clear indications about how the size and composition of the ethnic minority population of the UK is likely to change in the future. Some salient facts are:

  1. For a long time there has been a considerable net emigration of White: British people.
  2. The total ethnic minority population of the UK has grown massively since the middle of the last century.
  3. Immigrants tend to be relatively young
  4. Fertility varies between ethnic groups within the UK. In the UK population, fertility is low and below replacement level with the White: British, White: Irish and Indian groups. It is above replacement level for the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black or Black British: African and two of the mixed group population groups.
  5. The estimated fertility rate of women born outside the UK was much higher than that of UK born women, being especially high in Pakistani and Bangladeshi born groups.
  6. Religious people tend to have more children than non-religious people and the rapidly growing Muslim population is very religious.
  7. The length of time that immigrants stay in the UK varies between ethnic groups. In general, immigrants from developed countries tend to stay for a shorter time than immigrants from poor countries. In terms of ethnic classification, Whites tend to stay shorter times than persons from Africa and the Indian subcontinent, although the situation with whites from the former EU nations is unclear at the present time.

We now give details of two recent projections of the size and composition of the ethnic minority population. The first looks at the period 2001–2051, the second at the shorter period 2001–2020.

Ethnic population Projections, England and Wales

Numbers (millions) and percentages
Group 2001 2051
Whole population 52.0 63.1
White British & Irish 46.1 (88.7%) 40.3 (63.9%)
White non-British 1.4 (2.7%) 7.3 (11.6%)
Non-White ethnic minorities 4.5 (8.7%) 15.5 (24.5%)
future change in ethnic composition
Source. Data in: Coleman, D. (2006). Migration and ethnic change in low-fertility countries: a third demographic transition.
Population and Development Review 32 (3) 401-446.
Coleman states the assumptions he made as follows:
1) Mortality is assumed to be the same in all groups.
2)The aggregate trend of ethnic minority fertility is assumed to decline from the present 2.14 to 1.9, slightly higher than the projected national overall total (1.75).
3) Fertility of the white population (immigrant and native) is assumed to increase from 1.64 to 1.74.
4 Net annual inflow of the non-white population is assumed to be a constant 108,000, and for the British and Irish population, -53,000 (minus 53,000). A variable level of immigration is assumed for the white non-British population.

 

Ethnic Population Projections, UK

     
    RESULTS:    How    much    is     each     group
  projected     to   change    from     2001   to   2020?
 
     
 
Ethnic group, all
ages
UK population
2001 Census
% Change 2001-
2010
% Change 2010-
2020
White 54118 +2 +2
Mixed 674 +41 +30
Asian 2336 +25 +19
Black 1148 +22 +14
Chinese and Other 471 +68 +28
Sum of groups 58747 +4 +4
 
     
     The mixed group grows fastest. Other groups are growing at a
  slower rate than they did in the 1981–91 and 1991–2001 periods.
 
     
Source: Rees, P. (2007). “Ethnic Population Projections: Review and Illustrations of Issues”. Paper presented at the Workshop on Monitoring Population Change with an Ethnic Group Dimension at the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, Manchester University, 18th May 2007.
Table reproduced by kind permission of Professor Rees.
Rees states the assumptions he made as follows:
1) Constant fertility rates from 2001. 2) Mortality rates declining at 2%/year. 3) Migration model 1- see below. 4) Constant intensities and flows. 5) Plenty of scope for improvement and different scenarios.
Technical explanation, kindly supplied to us by Professor Rees:
(1) Migration model 1: this is one combination of choices made in handling migration in the model:
 a. Internal out-migration is projected by multiplying the population by a rate of internal out-migration.
 b. Emigration is projected by multiplying the population by a rate of emigration.
 c. Internal in-migration is projected by assuming a flow (count) of in-migrants.
 d. Immigration is projected by assuming a flow (count) of immigrants.
 Internal = within the UK
 External = outside the UK.
(2) Intensities is a generic term that includes demographic (occurrence-exposure) rates and demographic probabilities. For some components rates are used (e.g. fertility), for other components probabilities are used (e.g. mortality). NB. This study was concerned with ethnic group distribution within the country as well as with change in country level ethnic group size.
More information on the migration model may be found in Rees, P. & Parsons, J. (2006). “Socio–demographic scenarios for children to 2020”. Report to Joseph Rowntree Foundation Child Poverty Programme.

 

The paper by Rees provides a stark contrast between the futures of the White and the non-White ethnic minority populations of the UK during the period 2001–2020. Rees states:
While “the White population grows a little”, “the ethnic minority population grows very substantially because of demographic momentum and high immigration”
(R54).

Finally, Coleman in the paper from which we have given projection details above, presents details of population projections for a number of other countries and shows how a projected massive increase in the proportion of foreign born persons is not confined to England and Wales. It is found with other low-fertility countries in the developed western world. He thinks this might merit being described as a 'third demographic transition'. But the changes in these countries and the changes in the developing world will be asymmetrical : “the composition of the population of the developed world will come to resemble more that of the developing world, but not conversely”.

And his final conclusion for western countries is that “without restraint from policy, or spontaneous moderation of trend, the process is likely soon to become irreversible in some countries. In ignoring its long-term consequences the countries of the West are facilitating a radical transformation of the composition of their societies and the cessation of a specific heritage: a transition by default, through embarrassment at discussing difficult issues or in a fit of absence of mind. Democratic approval might have been thought necessary for so notable and permanent a change, the prospect of which would have been dismissed as absurd just a few decades ago” (R55) .

 

Doubts about how things will change in the future.

We think that the two issues over which there is serious doubt about how things will change in the future are fertility rate change and the extent of net immigration.

Changes in fertility rate.
Immigration by persons from high fertility ethnic groups will obviously help to further the growth of the UK population. But what happens to the fertility of these groups in the second, third and beyond offspring generations? It is generally accepted that the fertility of high fertility groups will fairly rapidly converge to the fertility of the host population. And there is certainly evidence that this has happened for some groups in the past, most notably with the Indian national group. However, while there may be convergence, there are features of society in the countries of origin which, carried over into the UK, may at least slow convergence for particular groups. Thus in the 1992 book by Coleman and Salt (R34) we read (pages 512-5130):
“the limited role outside the home prescribed for women by Islam may sustain higher than average fertility under most economic circumstances” Also “Asian extended family arrangements and the prevalence of family enterprises may make high fertility seem less disadvantageous than among West Indians”. And Coleman in his 2006 paper notes “But fertility differences may persist if immigrant groups do not achieve socioeconomic equality, if they retain strong attachment to religious or other elements of foreign culture, and if they continue to be numerically and culturally reinforced by large-scale migration, especially through importing unacculturated spouses from high-fertility countries” (R55).

As far as religion is concerned, we noted in section 6e above how Eric Kaufmann found that next to age and marital status, it was a woman's 'religiosity' that was the strongest predictor of the number of offspring she produced, and immigrants into Europe tend to be more religious than the host population. Moreover, there seems to be little or no decline in 'religiosity' between immigrants and their first and second generation descendants, especially with Muslims. In a recent study he found evidence that religious population growth is outpacing religious apostasy in Europe. “Meanwhile, religious women continue to maintain a 10–15 percent fertility advantage over nonreligious women (even with controls for age, class, education and income). With secularism stalled, religious demography takes over – even in the west European heartland, and our projections suggest that these countries will be more religious in 2100 than they are today”. However, any suggested trajectories of religious observance, fertility and the relationship between these variables are not set in stone; there remain considerable uncertainties as to how things will develop in future (R47).

Then we have the possibility of population competition between ethnic groups, and more specifically, competitive breeding - the situation where, unconsciously or consciously, an ethnic group promotes its own breeding. Parsons in his monumental book on population competition (R56 page 281) gave an example from the former Yugoslavia based on work by Kapor-Stanulovic):
“...Yugoslavia was the most heterogeneous country in Europe and population competition and competitive breeding were well launched before the series of civil wars erupted and it broke up......This seemed to be operating especially powerfully in the province of Kosovo in the south (neighbouring Albania) where the proportion of ethnic Albanians is expanding rapidly because of their substantially greater birthrate. In 1989 the total fertility rate here was 4.12 (compared with 1.74 in Croatia)....The ethnic Albanians demanded more power in accordance with their numbers...”.

Now there is no doubt that amongst Muslim groups in the UK there are sizeable numbers of activists who see their mission to be that of jihad, of conquering the country for Islam (jihad in its 'external' aspect rather than the 'internal' aspect, the daily inner struggle to be a better person). And there can equally be no doubt that many Muslims have felt threatened by or discriminated against not only by Whites but by non-Muslim ethnic minority groups. This is just the sort of situation where competitive breeding might develop. And we note that Coleman and Salt (R34 page 513) wrote: “ Where minorities feel threatened by absorption or assimilation, a 'minority effect' may make acceptance of family planning difficult and retard convergence in fertility”. And in his 2006 paper we have referred to earlier, he writes: “Increased inflows of unacculturated populations may conserve or even drive up fertility rates, as among African populations in Sweden and Britain” (R49 page 410).

Net Immigration
The magnitude and composition of the future net immigration flows to the UK will depend on two factors. First, the balance of the 'push' and 'pull' factors experienced by potential immigrants; second, the extent and way that the UK government controls the country's borders.

'Push and Pull' factors (previously discussed in section 4).
Poverty and insecurity in the developing world are factors that stimulate emigration to the developed world. With global food supplies shrinking, continued population growth and loss of agricultural land through global warming (rise in sea levels inundating vast areas of land and alteration of rainfall patterns) are likely to increase poverty and increase insecurity through conflict over scarce resources. This will strengthen the 'push' factor.
On the other hand, deterioration of the economic situation in the developed world, of which the present financial crisis may be an indicator, may make developed countries much less attractive as a destination to people in the developing world.
As for migration within the EU, if the economic conditions in the A8 accession countries to improve significantly, this is likely to both reduce immigration to the UK and stimulate return migration of Polish citizens and other A8 country citizens.

Government control of borders.
It is clear that the government has not had, and does not have proper control over the UK borders. The vast, but actually unknown numbers of illegal immigrants is clear evidence of this as is the muddle over deporting failed asylum seekers and criminals, this made worse by decisions in the law courts, which, at almost every end and turn, seem to frustrate even the government's very modest attempts at gaining control. And then there is the problem of EU regulations, especially human rights, that militate against the government taking firm control of the UK borders, even if it wanted to (and we suspect it doesn't). And finally, there is the fact that the left-wing liberal elite and the Christian Church seem bent upon putting the interests of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants above those of British citizens.

Further enlargement of the European Union.

If Turkey joins the EU, which even our Head of State seems to support, we are likely to see a significant increase of movement of people between the UK and Turkey. To what extent this will turn out to be net immigration to the UK is difficult to predict. It will partly at least depend on the relative strength of the economies of the two countries when and if Turkey joins the EU.

Conclusion
All in all, the factors just reviewed mean it is impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy how fertility and migration changes will affect the growth not only of the whole UK population, but of the ethnic minority groups. We think that, on balance, present high fertility in some ethnic groups may only reduce very slowly, and that significant net immigration to the UK is likely to continue for some years at least.

Finally, it is worth noting a general point about immigration and fertility rates that Professor David Coleman drew attention to, and which we can apply to the ethnic minority populations of the UK:
In the long term, the minority will become the majority in a country if there remains even one region in which the proportion of the minority continues to increase through immigration and/or higher birth rates (Steinmann & Jager 1997)” (R57). And again in a 2008 paper “ Any country with sub-replacement fertility and with constant levels of immigration must eventually acquire a population of predominantly, eventually entirely, immigrant origin” (R26).

 

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7) The ageing of the population and associated problems

People are living longer, and at the same time, the number of children born has declined, so the population in ageing.
So while the total population grew by 8 per cent in the last 35 years — 55.9 million in 1971 to 60.6 million in mid–2006, this growth was not evenly distributed over all age groups. In this period of time, the population of people aged over 65 grew by 31 per cent — 7.4 million to 9.7 million. But the population aged under 16 declined by 19 per cent — from 14.2 to 11.5 million (R9). And in 2007, for the first time, the size of the population aged 65 and over came to exceed the size of the population under 16 (Dunnell Ageing). Further, by 2008 the fastest growing age group was persons aged 85 and over.(R58).

One might expect these changes would greatly increase the old–age dependency ratio. In fact it only increased slightly over this time period. The reason was that there was an increase in the working–age population (caused by the 1960s 'baby boomers' joining the working–age population from the late 70s onwards). But another important index is the ageing index, that is, the ratio of older persons to children. This rose greatly from 1971 to 2006: 64.0 to 97.8 (R9).

Two other ratios concern the old age population compared with the working age population.

The Potential Support Ratio (PSR)(defined earlier in the European section as the ratio of the number of people in the working age groups (15–64) to the number of people who are 65 or over). During the last (20th) century, in the UK, the PSR has fallen considerably. At the beginning of the 20th century it was 13.3. By 1950 it was down to 6.2. By 1995 it was down to 4.1. And projections tell us that under present conditions, the support ratio will fall steadily further for some time to come (R59).

The old age dependency ratio (ODR). This, in effect, is the number of older persons expressed as a percentage of the size of the working–age population. A recent study gave estimates of this ratio for the total UK born population (all ethnic groups), the total overseas–born population and various components of the overseas–born population defined in terms of geographical areas (R50). The authors here defined the older population as the pension age population, which is 65 years old and over for men and 60 years and over for women. The ODR for the UK–born population and the total overseas–born population in 2001 were respectively 30.7 and 23.1 (there were big variations between different immigrant groups but that need not concern us here).

Current projections with revised population estimates (the 2006-based projections) have the ODR (UK) changing from 30.1 in 2006 to 34.4 in 2031 , 36.9 in 2061 and 39.6 in 2081 (R60).

Now the ageing of the population has raised concerns about how to provide for the needs of older people. So the question was raised — can we maintain or increase the relative size of the working age population – the backbone of economic activity – and hence the support for older people. One way that has been much discussed in recent years is to maintain or increase immigration flows, because immigrants are more concentrated in the working age groups than the population as a whole.

However, we need to be careful not to exaggerate the significance of migration flows to maintaining support for the aged. For immigrants are not very much younger on average than the populations they are moving into – roughly ten years on average (R.57). Furthermore, immigrants themselves age, adding to the problem of an increased old-age population.

In fact to keep the potential support ratio even at the 2000 level level would require an unimaginably large number of immigrants. The UN estimated this as 524 million ( or 13 million a year) — far far larger annual levels of net migration than has ever been experienced in recent times or the more distant past (R59, R57, R61). See also our essay “What policy should the UK Government adopt towards immigration?” which is attached to our Comment and Analysis page.

So significantly encouraging increased support for the ageing population by increasing immigration flows is not a viable option.

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8) The changing population distribution within the UK

8a. The population ignoring ethnic classification

A useful introduction to changing population distribution is provided by the report of Champion et al (1998) on migration flows in England (R62). Perhaps the most significant phenomenon in the last half century has been what is termed the ‘counter-urbanisation cascade', the movement of people from inner cities to suburbs, large cities to small towns, urban areas to rural areas. This must be understood in terms of ‘push' and ‘pull' factors. Push factors include high population density, noise, high crime rates, lack of open green spaces, etc . Pull factors are the reverse of the push factors – low population density, plenty of green space, peace and quiet, perceived lower crime rates. More generally there has been a response to a ‘rural idyll', an idealization of the rural way of life. Another important trend has been the migration of people from the north to the south of Britain, although the magnitude of this trend has fluctuated over the years.

Of all regions in England, the South East Region with Greater London has seen the highest level of both in and out migration, but with a net outflow. Net international immigration has come to make a very significant contribution to migration flows. It seems to have been “highly focused on the inner areas of London, and a relatively small number of other places that in turn are losing population to other areas through internal migration”.

The report concludes that the various population movements in England are all linked together: “There is clear research evidence of the various population movements being linked together to form a single national urban system, notably in the form of London's pivotal role and in terms of the counter–urbanisation cascade. This is a system in which international migration appears to be playing an increasingly crucial role”.

The inter–relationships of international migration and inter–regional migration (migration between the 11 standard statistical regions of GB) were investigated by Hatton and Tani (R63). They conclude that “immigration to a region of foreign nationals generates between a third and two thirds as much out–migration to other regions”. They further conclude that this varies across regions – the effect seems to be larger for the southern regions, especially London, the same regions where the inflow of foreign nationals is greatest. The authors interpret their results in terms of British labour market adjustments.

A recently published study by Dorling and Thomas, based on the 1991 and 2001 censuses, paints a fascinating but very complicated picture of changes in distribution of population, household types, employment, occupation, health, poverty, car ownership and other matters between these two dates (R64). The information is primarily presented in a series of very detailed maps of the UK.

There has been much talk in recent years of what has been called the north–south divide in England: a poorer north and a wealthier south. Associated with this has been the north to south movement of population already mentioned. The authors of the present report conclude that the north south divide has increased. They identify the dividing line as roughly running from the Severn to the Humber estuaries – it is shown in red on the map on page 187. They conceptualise things in this way. We used to think of the north and south as each consisting of a group of cities, towns, villages and countryside. The divide was to a large extent just a regional one.

Now however, the boundary lies between two places even more dissimilar from each other, a Greater London to the south and the rest. The authors use the term city structure: a dense urban core, suburbs, parks, and a rural fringe. To the south the city structures are converging as a single great metropolis (centering on London), while the north is a “provincial archipelago of city islands”. So for example, the old counties of Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire are no longer counties, but rather city limits of London. And the commuter belt of the metropolis extends up to the ends of the M3 and M11, up to Leamington Spa on the M40 and to Chepstow on the M4. Half the population of the UK now lives within the immediate influence of Greater London. “Built–up Greater London now extends as far north as its suburbs of Leicester and Northampton, as far west as its edge suburbs of Bristol and Plymouth. Between these places are green fields, but they are now the parkland of this city. Hardly anyone living near those fields works on the land”.

The pattern of population movements is complicated. However, the population of the metropolis has grown, and the population of the UK is slowly moving south. Thinking in terms of population density (number of people living in a district for every hectare in that district), population density has grown nationally. However, as people have moved south, densities have increased most in London and the South East. In contrast, almost all the falls in density in the UK have been outside the South East, with the largest fall being in Manchester in the north.

The economic needs of London drive the whole population and economic system. In the metropolis are found the most qualified people and the fewest with no qualifications. Indeed the centre of the metropolis swarms with university graduates. The metropolis is the financial centre, employs the bulk of managers and is the workplace of preference for professionals.

“Almost no one in the metropolis is sick or disabled in comparison with the archipelago”. And “it is in the archipelago islands that people are most likely to need to care for family or friends who are ill”, “where most lone parents without work are found, and where the fewest households have two earners”. Yet there are fewer doctors and dentists per head in the archipelago than in the metropolis. The employment picture is complicated, but it is the north that has suffered the great upheaval with the decline in coal mining. The number of people working in skilled trades has declined, mainly in the north. Likewise the number of machine operatives have fallen, also mostly in the north.

We return to the flow of people between the north and the south. We noted at the beginning of this section, that in recent decades, the dominant trend has been a movement from the north to the south. However, in some very recent years, this trend has been reversed, and Champion (R65) gives details in his survey of the north-south flows from 1971 to 2003 to which we now turn.

Champion notes that the net north to south flow dates back at least to the early 1930s and the Great Depression, and the net flow continued in subsequent decades. In recent decades, the process has fluctuated considerably. The biggest net north to south flows occurred in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s. This was followed by a few years(1989 to 1992) where north–south and south–north flows were roughly in balance – i.e. very little net migration either north or south. Then in the 1990s the net flow north to south developed again, although net flows were not as large as they has been in in the 1970s–1980s. Then in 2001–2003 there was a significant reversal of net flows. And the north's net gain in 2003 was a little over 35,000 people.

Finally, a recent study of internal migration in the UK by Dennett and Stillwell looks at population stability in different areas of Britain, using the concepts of population turnover and churn. “Turnover is a measure of the intensity of migration into and out of a district, whereas churn incorporates these flows and also includes the flows that take place within each district”.

The authors found that the highest levels of turnover and churn occurred in London and some other urban areas; in contrast, “the lowest levels are found in rural and previously industrial areas”. And rural areas have high stability despite the substantial net in–migration to rural areas (counter–urbanisation). Stability varies between age groups. The least stable age groups are the 16 to 29 age groups, especially the 20–24 age group, the most stable the 45 and over age groups, especially the pensionable age groups (R66).

8b. Ethnic groups

We set the stage by something that was in the version of this web page before the May 2008 revision:
“According to the 2001 census, in numerous electoral wards (districts of the country used for census purposes) white people are now in a minority compared with the total of all other ethnic groups. While these wards only make up a small minority of the total number of wards, in London, Whites are in a minority in all the electoral wards of two whole boroughs (Brent, 21 wards, Newham, 20 wards)" (R43). 'In some areas of London and elsewhere "temples, shops, cafes, cinemas – the whole ambience – suggest Bombay rather than, say, Burnley or Southall, Port of Spain rather than Brixton ...' (R 44). For Whites living in such areas, swamping has become a fact. However, considering that all ethnic minorities only make up a total of roughly eight per cent of the total UK population, there is no likelihood of ethnic replacement of the indigenous population at the national level in the short or medium term”. (NB Reference 43 above is now reference 67 and reference 44 is now reference 56).

Ethnic minority groups are heavily concentrated in inner urban areas. However, they have also been taking part in the counter–urbanisation cascade that was mentioned above, and now ethnic minoriy persons are found in all districts of England. The report by Dorling and Thomas (R64) discussed earlier, provides an interesting insight into the distribution of ethnic minority populations in the UK in the section of their work covering both religion and ethnicity.

In this report each religious and ethnic group is considered separately. A complicating factor is that the categories offered to people to identify themselves by were not identical in the 1991 and 2001 censuses. In particular, in 2001, several mixed white and other groups were offered as categories.

Ethnic minorities remain heavily concentrated in urban areas, particularly in London (however, there has been some spread from cities to more distant suburbs, small towns and more rural areas, and we will return to this movement later). People of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin remain very concentrated in areas of initial settlement. Not only are ethnic minorities concentrated in urban areas, but they are concentrated in just a few particular districts; the magic number here is 13. Again and again we read that roughly fifty per cent of a particular ethnic group live in just 13 districts. These are concentrated in London, but also occur in several midland and northern cities. In terms of religion, the two largest non-Christian religions are Islam and Hinduism. The majority of Muslims live in urban areas in just 20 districts, Hindus live predominantly in suburban areas, and mainly in 13 districts.

One thing that stands out in the maps is the changing percentage of the White ethnic group in different districts (nationally the White population decreased from 94.4 per cent to 92.1 per cent). Here it is better to look not at the maps on page 45 but the replacement maps given in the replacement map pages supplied separately to the main document. Compare these maps with any map of the UK showing the size and distribution of cities and towns. You can then see that the greatest falls in the white percentages have occurred in larger urban areas.

A final word about how the report describes the distribution of ethnic groups in the UK. The introductory section of the chapter on religion and ethnicity says:
“The UK remains a White desert with a few oases of colour” (page 36).
Now the word desert is associated with barrenness and desolation. The word oasis is associated with renewal, and high productivity. We may wonder what would have been the reaction if the authors had contrasted the distribution of Whites and ethnic minorities in some opposite fashion there would have been an outcry and they would have been accused of being racist and fascist. White people are entitled to object to this unnecessary depiction of race. However, there is unlikely to be any adverse reaction to how the authors describe things from the politically correct establishment which in our view is in power generally in the UK.

We turn now to a report by Lupton and Power (R36), as it provides detailed information on the distribution of the ethnic minority populations in GB at the time of the 2001 census and changes in these populations since the 1991 census:

In 2001, ethnic minorities were concentrated in large urban areas. However, each ethnic group was, in geographical terms, concentrated differently. For example, the Pakistani population was strongly represented in Manchester, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, and midland cities, with a smaller proportion of the population in London than was the case for Indians. In contrast, the Black Caribbean population was heavily concentrated in London, and to a lesser extent in Birmigham. Through this concentration of ethnic minorities in large urban areas, most local authorities in GB had minority populations at, or more usually below, the national average.

Since 1991, the increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities has been widespread in GB, occurring in virtually every local authority area. However, in numerical terms, the greatest increases have occurred where minorities were already concentrated, that is mainly inner urban areas. “This has led to the greatest percentage point increases in minority ethnic groups as a share of population in the areas where they were already well established. In inner urban areas, this trend has been accompanied by a continuing decline in white population, leading to significant changes in overall ethnic composition ”.

The authors were unable to say to what extent settlement patterns of ethnic minorities were through choice or constraint. “Nor can we say how much of the loss of white populations from inner urban areas is 'white flight' from areas that are becoming dominated by minority groups, or a product of the natural ageing of white communities, or a product of out-movement for other reasons ”.

Champion (65) confirms that the increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities has been widespread. In terms of the UK's 434 districts in 2001, 244 registered an increase in non–White population due to within–UK migration. However, he points out that things are more complicated than the simple generalisation of Whites moving out of areas as non–Whites move in, and the associated notion of 'white flight'. He writes that “many of these 244 districts also had net inflows of White people”. Further, “a fair number of districts — but especially London boroughs — that lost White population through their migration exchanges with the rest of the UK during this one-year period were also losing non–Whites through this process”.

A paper by Large and Ghosh (R68) adds further information about recent (2003) ethnic population structure in different areas and change over the period mid–2001 to mid–2003, with particular reference to the main regions of England. These regions ('Government Office Regions' or GORs) are nine in number:
North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West.

London still has the greatest number, the greatest concentration of peoples of the non–'White British' population, although the proportion of the total non–'White British' that is found in London fell from 44.7 per cent in 2001 to 42.5 per cent in 2003. Of all the nine regions of England, London has shown the lowest annual growth rate of the non–'White British' population. The two regions with the highest growth rate of the non-'White British', North East and South West, are the regions with the smallest base of that population.

Perhaps the most interesting and important facts to note about London, however are, first that there has been a pattern of net internal migration of the non-'White British' population out from London very similar in magnitude to the net international migration of this group into London. Second, while the non–'White British' population has grown in all regions, a distinction can be made between more and less urban areas. There is a pattern of the non-'White British' population growth being driven by international in-migration in the more urban areas, and, in the more rural areas, largely by migration from the more urban areas.

Large and Ghosh went on to discuss different measurements of the ethnic diversity of different areas, a topic very relevant to current concerns about multiculturalism and segregation. One measure of diversity showed (as the authors say, not surprisingly) that in terms of Local Authority Districts (LADs), the most ethnically diverse LADs are concentrated in London, with Birmingham and Leicester also showing a very high diversity. Using a different measure of diversity, they found that Asian Pakistani, Asian Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African groups showed the greatest degree of segregation, the Mixed Groups and the Chinese the lowest.

If we link this information with the information we presented earlier in section 6c. we see that Muslim groups tend to be highly segregated from the rest of the population.

Finally, Nissa Finney and Ludi Simpson at the Cathie Marsh Centre, University of Manchester, conclude from their analyses that most differences in migration patterns between ethnic groups within Britain are not primarily differences between ethnic groups per se, but rather they are caused by socioeconomic and demographic factors that operate with white groups as well as with non–white groups (R69, R70). Further, despite some marked differences in migration patterns between whites and non–whites, “counter–urbanisation, a north–south shift and dispersal from areas of co–ethnic concentration are common to all ethnic groups. If 'white flight' is to be identified, 'non-white flight' should be also”. (R69 And see also R70). However, we think the causation of movement of white and minority groups and the idea of 'white flight' mentioned above, deserve further examination. More specifically, and despite the conclusions of Finney and Simpson, we ask the question, has internal migration of whites been partly caused by a wish to move away from areas of high or increasing ethnic minority concentration, either through fear of possible adverse effects on society of this concentration or because of a simple dislike of 'others', of ethnic minorities?

8c. White flight

Until recently, the analysis of movement in terms of ethnicity has received more attention in the USA than in the UK. A key figure here is W.H. Frey. In his 1995 paper (R71) he looked at the possible influences of international migration (immigration) on internal migration. In the course of this paper he refers to ‘flight' (pages 733, 736 and 755, and, more specifically, ‘white flight' page754).

Frey divided the States of the USA into three categories: high immigration states, high internal migration states and high out–migration states. He notes that one consequence of migration patterns for high immigration states “is an increase in their minority populations resulting from immigration dominated by new minorities – Latinos and Asians and, in some cases, an out–migration that is largely white”.

In writing about urban change (what he terms the ‘urban revival') he says that there are “sharp spatial disparities in the growth patterns between the nation's white population and its racial and ethnic minorities”. He concludes that his findings “suggest that the immigration and internal migration processes are leading to a greater demographic balkanisation – a spatial segmentation of the population by race–ethnicity and socio–economic status across metropolitan areas” (see our footnote on 'balkanisation').

Frey notes that in addition to ‘racial selectivity distinctions in migration', previous research has shown other important distinctions for between–area migrations, namely education level and income level. Thus with the out–migration from high immigration states: “the out–migration from these states tends to select on the lower socio–economic ranks. Their out–migration rates tend to be highest for whites with below–poverty incomes, and with low college graduate education attainment levels”.

In a later paper (R72), the conclusion was reached that the ethnic displacements examined could be explained in terms of immigrants being labour substitutes for domestic migrants who could take advantage of opportunities in other areas. They could also be explained in terms of “less well–off, longer-term residents in high immigration areas...reacting to perceived increases in social costs” caused by immigration – higher crime rates, reduced services or increased local taxes”. But “in addition, one cannot ignore the possibility that race and ethnic prejudice may enter into decisions of native residents, especially whites, to relocate away from increasingly multiethnic areas in much the same manner that such prejudice prompted ‘suburban flight' in many American cities in the 1950s and 1960s” (our bold text).

All this gives us some insight into the complicated relationships between economic, social, and ethnic/racial differences that may characterise internal migration streams, and the extent these different factors may possibly be causal factors, i.e. ‘drivers' of population movement.

These complicated relationships are also found in the UK, to which country we now turn. We will however, not attempt to survey the literature on economic and social factors. Rather we look for evidence that ‘white flight' in the UK cannot be explained entirely in terms of socio–economic ranking, but that one cause is the movement of whites, for whatever specific reason, away from areas of high or increasing ethnic minority concentration.

If we look first at the media, and confine ourselves just to recent times, we note that early in 2008, Church of England Bishop Michael Nazir–Ali was saying that Islamic extremism has made some areas of Britain ‘no–go' areas for non-Muslims (Telegraph 15th January and 24th February). The black chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, supported the bishop, telling the BBC's Radio 4 programme that “there are areas in which there is no contact or very little contact between different ethnic and cultural groups. White flight is accelerating, schools are becoming more segregated” (Daily Mail 15th January 2008).

Turning to the academic literature, Gordon and Whitehead (R73) studied the impact of immigration on the population of London. In considering how international migration may have displacement effects on other Londoners, they wrote that these effects “may include (i.e. select) a ‘white flight' element”, and later, Whitehead 2008 (R74): “may include a ‘white/established household flight' element”.

Stillwell and Duke-Williams (R75), examined international migration and internal migration of ethnic groups on the basis of 2001 census data. One question they asked was: is there a relationship between non–white immigration and white internal migration?

They compared white ethnic groups with the amalgamated non–white ethnic groups.. Examining all census districts, they selected the 113 districts in which the non–white share of the population was over 5 per cent of the total population. They found that white internal net migration – movement out of districts – was highest where non–white (international) migration was greatest, and the correlation was significant. The relationship was shown graphically in their figure 10. However, the authors state that they were not able to claim a cause and effect relationship. This illustrates an important general fact, namely, correlation does not prove causation.

The most direct evidence of ‘white flight' away from areas of high or increasing ethnic minority concentration comes from interviews, to which we now turn.

Halfacree (R76) studied attitudes to urban-rural migration, making use of interviews. The key perceived positive social features of the destination (rural areas) are summarised in table 10 of his paper. This lists seven points. One is “there were far fewer 'non–white' people in the area”.

Neal (R77) drew attention to various pieces of evidence provided by other researchers: Increasingly the perception of an idyllic English countryside has become associated with white ‘safety', safety from an urban malaise – English cities that have “become increasingly diverse ('unEnglish') and synonymous with an undesirable black/Other presence”.
In the West country one researcher found that “the urban to rural migration movement contains people who openly define themselves as 'refugees from multiracialism/culturalism”. In Norfolk one researcher quoted one respondent who explained why some people “come to Norfolk for 'quality of life' and the white complexion of the area has something to do with that quality of life”. And a third researcher noted there is “a hardcore [urban/rural migrants] who believe they have left blacks behind in the city”.

Now we think that ‘white flight' from areas of high or increasing ethnic minority concentration, is probably much more extensive than is generally recognised simply because in the present politically correct climate, where if any white person expresses any concern about the effects of ethnic minority immigration they are immediately labelled as racist or fascist, most people will not talk openly about white flight. This opinion was shared by the BBC reporter Vivian White who, after interviewing residents in the Lancashire town of Blackburn, concluded that as Asian communities expanded in Blackburn, many whites moved out in response. But, he said “... the whole subject of 'white flight' and why it's happening is something people find difficult to discuss. They're afraid that if they do, they'll be labelled as racist” (BBC Panorama programme 7–5–07 , both the BBC transcript and the 'straight report').

We want to point out that ‘white flight' is not confined to Great Britain and the USA. It probably occurs widely across Europe. An example comes from The Netherlands. Zorlu and Latten concluded from their study: “The propensity to move is relatively high among natives who reside in neighbourhoods with a higher share of non–western migrants. The estimates indicate a segregatory tendency among non–western migrants and natives. The native movers tend to choose neighbourhoods with a higher share of natives, while non-western migrants are less likely to choose native neighbourhoods”. (R78).

Finally, however, we note some very recently published work (2009) by Simpson and Finney (R79) in which they reach a different conclusion about white flight. These authors examined net migration in terms of percentage of the 2001 population, to and from areas defined in terms of degree of concentration of different ethnic groups – lowest concentration, low concentration, medium concentration, high concentration and highest concentration. Considering areas classified as having the highest concentration of ethnic minority groups, both White and minority groups moved out of these areas at a similar rate. This suggests to the authors that to focus on white flight from areas of high ethnic minority concentration is misleading, for ethnic minorities are engaging in the same type of flight. They think that the movement out of areas of highest minority concentration “could be considered as non–racial movement from poor housing”. Further for areas defined in terms of concentration of Whites, and the highest concentration areas, minorities show a significant net out–migration while Whites show a low degree of net in–migration.

However, looking at the table where they summarise the flight data, if one looks again at areas defined in terms of the concentration of ethnic minorities, and in particular areas classified as medium and high concentration of ethnic minorities, while both Whites and minorities show net out–migration, the rate of out–migration is far greater for Whites than for minorities. This surely suggests white flight as generally understood. And the authors do admit that “the White movement, however, is greater from the medium quintiles with a lower proportion of minority residents”.

 

Footnote. Balkanization.

‘Balkanization' means to “divide (a region or body) into smaller mutually hostile states or groups” (The New Oxford Dictionary of English). The term derives from the area of south-east Europe known as the Balkans, an area long known for racial, ethnic and religious tensions and conflict.

Parsons (R 56) wrote about these tensions and conflicts. He pointed out that there is good reason to think that change in the proportion of different ethnic or religious groups in a population can considerably increase inter–ethnic tensions and be one of the causes of the outbreak of conflict between groups. He noted that the former Yugoslavia (part of the Balkans) provides an example. Before the civil wars which led to the break up of Yugoslavia, the country had five official nationalities, 12 ethnic minorities and three major religions; and deep and longstanding rivalries between Serbs, Croats, Muslims, and other ethnic groups, were present long before the beginning of these wars. There were also differences between the groups in birth and growth rates, and Parsons speaks of population competition and competitive breeding .

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References

Abbreviations: PT (Population Trends); ONS (Office of National Statistics); HO (Home Office); UN (United Nations).

 

1. http://www.gad.gov.uk/Demography_Data/Population/2006/methodology/basepop.asp

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8. Woodbridge , J. (2005). Sizing the unauthorised (illegal) migrant population in the United Kingdom in 2001. H0 Report 29/05.

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29. Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2007). The experiences of Central and East European migrants in the UK.

30. Iglicka, K. (2008). Survey research on legal job migrations from Poland to Great Britain after 1st May, 2004 . Center for International Relations (CIR), Warsaw.

31. Iglicka, K. (2007). Strategies for development of polish migration policy concerning legal labour migration for 2007-2012. Center for International Relations (CIR), Warsaw.

32. Centre for Economics and Business research Ltd. (2007). Future Flows. Report for Harvey Nash.

33. Shaw, C. (2007). Fifty years of United Kingdom national population projections: how accurate have they been? PT 128: 8–23.

34. Coleman, D. & Salt, J. (1992). The British population. Patterns, trends and processes. OUP.

35. Bosveld, K. & Connolly, H. (2006). Chapter 2 in ONS Focus on ethnicity and religion.

36. Lupton, R. & Power, A. (2004). Minority ethnic groups in Britain. Case–Brookings Census Briefs No. 2. London School of Economics.

37. Rees, P. & Butt, F. (2004). Ethnic change and diversity in England, 1981–2001. Area 36, 2: 174–186.

38. Rees, P. & Parsons, J. (2006). Socio–demographic scenarios for children to 2020. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York.

39. ONS. (2006 ). http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=14238 then go to Population estimates by ethnic group 2001-2005 (either Excel or CSV), and see also the revised methodology papers.

40. Penn, R. & Lambert, P. (2002). Attitudes towards ideal family size of different ethnic/nationality groups in Great Britain , France and Germany . Population Trends 108: 49–58.

41. Large, P. & Ghosh, K. (2006) . A methodology for estimating the population by ethnic group for areas within England. PT 123: 21–31.

42. HO. (2007) . Accession monitoring report May 2004 December 2006.

43. ONS. (2005 ). Browse by theme. Families. Religion. Muslim families most likely to have children.

44. ONS. (2004). Browse by theme. Religion. Age and sex distribution. Muslim population is youngest.

45. Simpson, L. (2007). Fixing the population: from census to population estimate. Environment and Planning A 39: 1045–1057.

46. Kaufmann, E. (2006). Breeding for God. Prospect November.

47. Kaufmann, E. (In Press). Faith's comeback? The demographic revival of religion in Europe. Un Nuovo Umanesimo per L'Europa, university of San Pio V. Basilica de San Giovanni in Laterano Conference volume forthcoming.

48. Peach, C. et al. (2000). Immigration and ethnicity. Chapter 4 in Twentieth–Century British Social Trends. Eds. Halsey, A.H. & Webb, J. Macmillan.

49. Coleman, D. (2006) . Immigration and ethnic change in low-fertility countries: A third demographic transition. Population and Development Review 32, 3: 401–446.

50. Rendall, M. S. & Ball, D. J. ( 2004). Immigration, emigration and the ageing of the overseas–born population in the United Kingdom. Population Trends 116: 18–27.

51. 47. Rendall, M. & Salt, J. (2005). The foreign-born population. Chapter 8 in: Focus on people and Migration, 2005 edition. ONS.

52. ONS. (2007). Population Trends 130 Web supplement.

53. Dobson, J. et al. ( 2001). International migration and the United Kingdom . Recent patterns and trends. HO, RDS occasional paper no.75.

54. Rees, P. (2007). Ethnic Population Projections: Review and Illustrations of Issues. Paper presented at the Workshop on Monitoring Population Change with an Ethnic Group Dimension at the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, Manchester University, 18th May 2007.

55. Coleman, D. (2006). Immigration and ethnic change in low–fertility countries: a third demographic transition. Population and Development Review 32, 3: 401–446.

56. Parsons, J. (1998). Human population competition. A study of the pursuit of power through numbers. Edwin Mellen Press, Lampeter, Wales . More recently the fourth edition has been available as “Population competition for security or attack. A study of the perilous pursuit of power through weight of numbers”. Population Policy Press, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, RCT.

57. Coleman, D. A. (2001) . Replacement migration, or why everyone is going to have to live in Korea : a fable for our times from the United Nations. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences (The Royal Society) volume 357 number 1420 (2002).

58. Dunnell, K. (2008). Ageing and mortality in the UK. National Statistician's annual article on the population. PT 134 6–23.

59. UN. (2000). Replacement migration: Is it a solution to declining and ageing populations?

60. ONS (2007). 2006–based population projections. Current data. Table 01.

61. Shaw, C. (2001). United Kingdom population trends in the 21st century.

62. Champion, T. et al (1998). The determinants of migration flows in England : a review of existing data and evidence. Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne universities.

63. Hatton, T. & Tani, M. (2003). Immigration and interregional mobility in the UK , 1982–2000. Centre for Economic Policy Research.

64. Dorling, D. & Thomas, B. (2004). People and places. A 2001 Census atlas of the UK . The Policy Press.

65. Champion, T. (2005). Population movement within the UK . Chapter 6 in: Focus on people and Migration, 2005 edition. ONS.

66. Dennett, A. & Stillwell, J. (2008). Population turnover and churn: enhancing understanding of internal migration in Britain through measures of stability. PT. 134.

67. ONS. (2003). Census 2001. Standard tables for wards in England and Wales.

68. Large, P & Ghosh, K. (2006). Estimates of the population by ethnic group for areas within England . ONS. PT 124: 8–17.

69. Finney, N. & Simpson, L. (2008). Internal migration and ethnic groups: evidence for the UK from the 2001 census. Population, Space and Place 14: 63–83.

70. Finney, N. & Simpson, L. (2007). Internal migration and ethnic groups: evidence for the UK from the 2001 census. CCSR Working paper 2007–4, Manchester University.

71. Frey, W. H. (1995). Immigration and internal migration ‘flight’ from US metropolitan areas: toward a new demographic balkanisation. Urban Studies 32, 4-5: 733–757.

72. Frey, W. H. & Liaw, K. (1998). The impact of recent immigration on population redistribution within the United States. In The immigration debate. Studies on the economic, demographic, and fiscal effects of immigration. Smith, J.P. & Edmonston, B (eds). National Academy Press pages 388–448.

73. Gordon, I. & Whitehead, C. (2007). Some impacts of recent immigration on the London economy. Seminar, London School of Economics.

74. Whitehead, C. (2008). The impact of migration on housing and local services in London. URC Informal Seminar, London School of Economics.

75. Stillwell, J. and Duke-Williams, O. (2005). Ethnic population distribution, immigration and internal migration in Britain: what evidence of linkage at the district scale? Paper prepared for the British Society for Population Studies Annual Conference at the University of Kent at Canterbury, 12-14 September 2005.

76. Halfacree, K.H. (1994). The importance of ‘the rural’ in the constitution of counterurbanisation: evidence from England in the 1980s. Sociologia Ruralis 34, 2/3: 164–189.

77. Neal, S. (2002). Rural landscapes, representations and racism: examining multicultural citizenship and policy-making in the English countryside. Ethnic and Racial Studies 25, 3: 442–461.

78. Zorlu, A. & Latten, J. (2007). Ethnic sorting in the Netherlands. Institute for the study of labor (IZA) DP No. 3155.

79. Simpson, L & Finney, N. (2009). Spatial patterns of internal migration: evidence for ethnic groups in Britain. Population, Space and Place 15, 1: 37–56.

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Appendix to UK section of this page

Comparison of Projections

mid-year

end of year

 

Experimental statistics and fertility estimation.

The fertility estimates of Large and Ghosh are part of 'experimental statistics' about which the acknowledged limitations of the methodology must be borne in mind when interpreting the estimates. In particular, the methodology is based on reliance on 2001 Census data for parameter estimation. The methodology papers associated with the statistics give full details of these 'limitations' and the problems faced in attempting to estimate ethnic group fertility rates. On the 2001 Census and sizes of ethnic populations we read that the method used in the experimental statistics “places great reliance on using the results of the 2001 Census to identify differences between ethnic groups”, and estimates of ethnic population size produced as standard output from the Census “necessarily fail to reflect rapid growth in some groups since 2001”. We now add our own comment that there were considerable criticisms of the Census methodology and results, following the release of these results. We gave details of the criticisms on the version of the UK section of this page that was on the web prior to July 2004. This version can still be read on our Archive page (item (b) “The United Kingdom section of the Population Trends page, as it was before the July 2004 revision of that page”).

On the fertility estimates, Large has written in e-mail correspondence with us that “ The Population Trends article describing the methodology underlying the Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (PEEG) pointed out that our estimates of the TPFR showed less variation between ethnic groups than estimated by other researchers, and that this might be attributable to convergence of rates over time (our estimates are based on results from the 2001 Census while other studies use earlier data sources) or an artefact of the different methodologies” (our italics).

“ A specific aspect of the methodology which was identified as an issue in the documents supporting the January 2006 release was the use of mother-infant ratios to estimate age-specific fertility rates. As was acknowledged at the time, this approach did not allow for differences between ethnic groups in patterns of children not linked with their mother
on a Census form”.

“Following the publication of the Population Trends article (which described the methodology used in that initial release), revised Population Estimates by Ethnic Group  were published on 17 August 2006. The revised estimates used an improved methodology which, amongst other things, does take account of these 'unlinked' children. The various changes, together with estimates of their impact on the estimates, are detailed in the Changes to Methodology and Revisions paper available at
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=14238 )”.

Finally, in later correspondence where Large kindly supplied us with the revised fertility estimates he writes “Can I emphasise that the implied estimates do not reflect any direct knowledge of fertility within each ethnic group since the 2001 Census”.


x). The Home page.

Human Population Growth and Migration

have serious consequences, globally and for the United Kingdom

Population Growth, Natural Increase and Migration

Population growth is primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. And in the United Kingdom at present, migration is a greater cause of population growth than natural increase. Both population growth and migration can affect the quality of the natural environment, the likelihood of conflict, and social cohesion between ethnic groups. In our view, the significance of both population growth and migration are often underestimated by governments and non-governmental organisations.

 


 

DID YOU KNOW?

1. The global human population is projected to grow from 6.83 billion in 2009 to 9.15 billion in 2050, an increase roughly equivalent to the population sizes of India and China combined in 2000 and nearly the size of the whole world population as it was in 1950! However, population growth will vary greatly between different world regions, the greatest growth being in the less developed regions of the world.
The continued movement of people from rural to urban areas (urbanization), means that all the growth of the world population during the next few decades will take place in urban areas.

2. In the European Union, migration not natural increase has been the main cause of population growth since 1992 and is projected to continue to be the main cause. And in some countries the population size would now be decreasing in the absence of the increased inflow of migrants during the last two decades.

3. As with the European Union as a whole, the main cause of population growth in the UK in recent years has been immigration, not natural increase and immigration is currently projected to be the main cause of future population growth. The UK population is projected to grow from 61.9 million in 2009 to 85.3 million in 2081, an increase roughly equivalent to three times the present population size of London.

4. While the main cause of UK population growth in recent years has been immigration, not natural increase, in 2007-2008, a decrease in net immigration (which seems to have been caused by the recession) and a large increase in the number of births meant that, for the first time since 1999, natural increase caused slightly more of the population increase than immigration.
Both UK born women and foreign born women have contributed to this increase in births. Factors involved here include a rise in fertility of UK born women, a large increase of foreign born women of reproductive age and the fact that women born outside the UK collectively have a higher Total Fertility Rate than UK born women.

Please do not just believe or disbelieve these statements. Read the detailed evidence given on our Population Trends page, evidence primarily taken from official sources (United Nations, European Union, the UK's Office of National Statistics) and research papers in academic journals.

READ ON IN THE NEXT BOX !

 

SOME KEY POINTS

1. Population growth is one of the most significant long-term causes of serious global environmental deterioration. This growth has already taken the global population beyond carrying capacity.

2. The impact of a population on the environment depends on P, population size and A, affluence or per capita consumption, and T, how current technology affects environmental impact. Hence the well known impact equation I=P×A×T.

3. Great stress had been laid, in the media, by environmental organisations and by governments on the importance of reducing environmental impact by, first, reducing consumption in 'developed' countries, where per capita consumption greatly exceeds that in 'developing' countries, and second, by improving technology. Both these are obviously important. But generally, the importance of reducing population growth has been denied, side-lined or completely ignored.

4. Immigration into a country can significantly contribute to total population growth, as it is doing in the UK. Yet governments in the industrialised countries tend to stress the benefits of such migration rather than adverse effects.

5. Continued population growth and immigration have social consequences. For a sparsely populated country, population growth can bring real benefits. But beyond a certain point continued population growth has the potential to create tensions and even conflict amongst groups within countries and between countries.

6. The United Nations and aid organisations affirm that individuals have the fundamental human right to determine the number and spacing of their children. We, on the contrary conclude that in the present crowded world where global environmental degradation has become so severe, group reproductive rights must take preference over individual or family reproductive rights since ultimately it is the survival of groups and hence of the species that matters. We also consider that global and national population size targets should be set with the aim of reducing the global population as soon as possible: see our “Companion to Key Points” article, which can also be accessed from the analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.

7. In our view the 'playing down' of adverse effects of population growth and migration (in points 3 and 4 above) has meant that the general public in industrialised countries and elsewhere has not been educated to understand in a balanced way, the manifold effects of population change.

8. The obvious question that arises is: Why the playing down of adverse effects of population growth and migration? We believe a fundamental problem is that ideological belief has interfered with a dispassionate analysis of the environmental and social situation and subsequent policy formulation, and the presentation to the public of information on population matters. But there is much more to it than that and we refer our readers again to our article “Companion to Key Points” .

9. THIS IS WHY THE WORK OF GAIA WATCH IS SO IMPORTANT. IT IS OUR ROLE TO PROVIDE BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT POPULATION TRENDS AND THE ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIETAL IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TRENDS, AND AT THE SAME TIME TO CHALLENGE POLITICAL PARTIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS ON THEIR APPROACH TO POPULATION ISSUES.

 

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Population Growth and Migration: GLOBAL ASPECTS

At the global level, human population growth is one significant cause of environmental problems, for two reasons.

First, Population growth has necessitated global increase in food production. More and more land has been taken over for food production to feed the growing population, to provide housing and infrastructure for that population and now, to provide land for energy crop production. And oceanic fishing has increased in intensity.

The consequences are manifold. On land there has been a move from systems of food production dependent upon fertility maintained by natural processes governed by soil organisms, to systems dependent on an exogenous source of fertility – nitrogenous fertilisers, allowing massive albeit unsustainable increases in yield per unit area. The results have been destruction of soil structure and soil organisms, depletion of essential trace elements, poisoning of the soil, and nitrogenous substances run–off into streams and rivers with harmful effects on aquatic life there and in coastal waters. In many sub–Saharan countries and some other countries, crop yields per unit area have fallen greatly because of over–intensive agricultural practices causing decrease in soil fertility, aggravated by using cow dung as fuel, dung that should have been ploughed back into the land as fertiliser. Soil erosion and salinisation of groundwater through irrigation has greatly reduced the productivity of large areas of agricultural land. Fresh water aquifers have and continue to be depleted and groundwater levels fall in major agricultural areas. Ocean fish stocks have been seriously depleted and the ecological balance of the oceanic food chains severely damaged. There has been a steady and massive decrease in the size of tropical rainforests and other natural or semi–natural ecosystems. These systems provide services to mankind, including the absorption of the climate change inducing carbon dioxide.

Second, much attention has been given to the high per capita levels of consumption and waste production in industrial countries, leading to increased climate changing emissions. But the fact is that the massive population increase in these countries has greatly increased this harmful effect. Now in developing countries, per capita consumption is generally far less than in industrialised countries. However, massive population growth there – and most future population growth will be in these countries – has at the very least still significantly increased global emissions and will continue to do so since there will be more consuming people. Further, in China and India, the two most populous countries in the world, population growth is contributing to the massive growth of the middle class population where consumption and waste production has risen towards or to the levels in industrialised countries. And the massive growth of livestock in the developing world – partly caused by human population growth, is massively increasing emissions of climate changing gases.

Population growth has in our view, already taken the human population beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. Continued growth will only make things worse. While improving technology and reducing consumption could improve the situation, we think it is also imperative to take measures to slow down population growth and hasten the day when the global population shrinks.

Through its adverse effect on the environment, population growth is a significant cause of the increase in the number of environmental refugees (people who can no longer secure a livelihood in their own areas because of environmental problems such as desertification). The number of environmental refugees will be greatly inflated if, as expected, global warming causes sea levels to rise, inundating vast areas of densely populated land. In the past, abrupt climate temperature changes have occurred. If they occur in the future, agricultural systems may be unable to adapt fast enough, causing massive decreases in food production, which in turn will swell the number of environmental refugees. Environmental refugees may simply be displaced within a country, or they may by international migration move between nations or continents. Such disruptive movements can impede attempts to achieve sustainable development. And the great affluence gap between the rich and poor countries has implications for migration: it fuels the desire to emigrate from poor countries, a desire which is likely to be increased as massive population growth continues in these poor countries.

We believe population growth in crowded countries can contribute to political instability and conflict. And increased international migration, described above, increases the potential for demographically fuelled international conflict. Declining natural resources will probably increase the incidence and severity of 'resource wars'. And current conflicts in the Middle East could lead to even greater and more widespread conflict. In parenthesis, we believe these Middle East conflicts are not simply a matter of terrorism, but also of western hegemony and western desire to secure oil supplies; continued depletion of these supplies is likely to fuel such conflicts in the near future.

So population growth and migration are very important matters when considering the well being of the planet.

We would particularly like to draw attention to the following items about the global situation. Click on any item to go to it directly.

Royal Society. “The Impact of Population Growth on Tomorrow's World”

Global Population Trends (Population Trends page)

“Population growth and environmental deterioration. Are things finally coming together — for mankind's doom?” (Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page)

James Lovelock. “The revenge of Gaia”. Possible catastrophic climate change
(Book Reviews page)

SOIL, not OIL, but what about CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH?
A summary and review of Vandana Shiva's 2008 book “Soil not oil. Climate change, peak oil and food insecurity”
(Book Reviews page)

The Tragedy of the Commons - and Human Population Growth
(Book Reviews page)

Although they have not been revised since 2002, our two essays on the subject of how many people can the earth support? still provide a useful basic introduction to this important topic (analysis section, Comment and Analysis page).

Books reviewed on our Book Reviews page and the comments on these books given in our Comment and Analysis page, show how total collapse of global human society is a very real possibility, and massive further loss of biodiversity is likely.


Population Growth and Migration: The United Kingdom

Turning from the global to the local level, we note that the United Kingdom is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, its population, we argue, already exceeding carrying capacity. And the latest (2006) set of population projections have the population, 60.6 million in 2006, rising to reach 72.7 million in 2036, an increase of twelve million. This increase is far greater than the present size of Greater London (7.6 million in 2007). Beyond 2031 the population is projected to continue to rise reaching 85.3 million in 2081, a massive increase of nearly 25 million from 2006, an increase three times the present size of Greater London! As we noted earlier, population growth is caused by natural change (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. Now current official projections have nearly 60 per cent of the population growth 2004–2031 being caused by net international migration. But later, deaths will come to exceed births, and the continued population growth will then be maintained only by net international migration.

This continued population growth will push the population even further above carrying capacity. The immigration component will, we think, increasingly threaten social cohesion. And the extent that Government relies on immigration to solve skill shortages and labour needs, will in our view, delay the development of a radical policy on participation in the workforce, adequate payment in the low–skilled job sector, further raising or abolishing of the retirement age, and pension reform, which will ultimately be required to deal effectively with employment problems including providing adequate support for the ageing population. The likely global increase in environmental and political refugees, will, in our view, maintain or increase the immigration pressure on the UK.

Clearly population growth and migration (both immigration and emigration) are very important matters for policy making in the United Kingdom.

We would particularly like to draw attention to the following items about the United Kingdom. Click on any item to go to it directly.

A comment arising from the closing of a refugee camp near Calais: “The Jungle, Sangatte, and the relentless pressure on 'developed' (industrialised) countries to accept immigrants” (Comment section, Comment and Analysis page)

The UK section of the Population Trends page, last updated 15th August 2009 with a couple of additions later the same month. Then 26th October 2009 information about new population projections added. (Population Trends page)

The European section of the Population Trends page, which provides a useful background to UK population trends, was updated 24th October 2009 (Population Trends page)

Coleman, D. (2006). “Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition” (Other Literature page)

An essay by Christopher Caldwell: “Fear masquerading as tolerance” (Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page)

“The Muhammad cartoons controversy – the context” (Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page, mid-May 2007)

We invite our readers to think for themselves how population growth and migration may have affected the quality of their lives.


Interaction with our readers – an invitation.
We would like to encourage readers to make use of our e–mail discussion group (the e–mail group page of our web site); it is not difficult to join in. You can then send comments and ask questions, about population growth and migration and related matters, and reply to other people who post to this group.
We are also willing in principle, to post on our Comments and Analysis page, critical comments made by our readers about anything that is written on our web site.

 


Gaia Watch. Private Limited Company registered in Cardiff, Company No. 3190710. Registered office address: 33, Bingham Park Crescent, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 7BH.Registered Charity (UK) No. 1060769. Charity Objectives: To advance the education of the public by conducting research into (1) the growth and movements of human populations and the relationships of these factors to all aspects of environmental health and social well-being (2) all aspects of mans impact on the environment (3) the ecology of remaining natural and semi-natural areas in the world, and to disseminate the useful results of such research.

e-mail address: jbarker@population-growth-migration.info

 


w). The Europe section of the Population Tends page.

Europe

CONTENTS

1) KEY POINTS
2) Introduction
(click on any of the following sections to go directly to it)
3) The global context
4) The present population
5) Past growth of the population and its components – natural increase and net international migration
6) Past changes in population composition – age structure, proportion of foreigners, ethnic groups and religion
7) Future changes in the population
8) References
Acknowledgements

1) Key Points

KEY POINTS
 
  1. Population growth is caused by natural increase and net migration. Net migration has gradually become the main cause of population growth in the European Union (EU). And in 2007, 80 per cent of the EU population growth was caused by net migration.
  2. Indeed several countries would by now have had their population size decreasing in the absence of the increased inflow of migrants during the last two decades. Projections suggest that the population of the EU as a whole will begin to decrease well before the end of the century.
  3. Collectively, member states of the present European Union had only a small percentage of world population in 1960. But that share has fallen considerably since then because rate of population growth in this group of countries has been lower than the rate of growth in developing countries, and these trends are set to continue.
  4. The EU population has been ageing, through falling birth rates and increased life expectancy. This ageing is set to continue, causing considerable concern as to how governments will be able to provide adequate services for the aged.
  5. To try to prevent most future ageing by increasing the flow of immigrants who, on average, are slightly younger than the host populations, would in fact have only a small effect on the ageing process unless unimaginably large yearly net immigration took place.
  6. A fundamental on–going change of the composition of the EU population, in terms of an increase in the proportion of foreign origin persons, has already been underway for several decades. This is bringing about a large increase in the proportion of the total ethnic minority population of the EU.

References in the text are given in the form Rx.

2) Introduction

Europe may be variously defined, but it certainly consists of more countries than are included in the European Union (EU). First of all there are those countries in western Europe that are not included in the EU, most notably, Norway and Switzerland. Then there are Eastern European countries – Belarus, Moldova, and the Ukraine, and many would included the western part of the Soviet Union. And the Council of Europe, consisting of 47 countries, includes other countries, most notably Turkey, yet most of Turkey lies outside of what most people regard as Europe.

In this section we will mainly deal with the European Union. We will refer to:

  • the EU15 – the EU after three more countries joined in January 1995
  • the EU25 – the EU after ten more countries joined in May 2004
  • the EU27 – the EU after two more countries, Romania and Bulgaria, joined in January 2007

The countries in the EU 15 and the countries that joined in May 2004 are shown in the following table. We will also refer to one other country grouping, the Euro zone – countries that have adopted the Euro currency. We will refer to this grouping as EA.

1995. The EU 15
Germany France Italy
Netherlands Belgium Luxembourg
Denmark Ireland United Kingdom
Greece Spain Portugal
Austria Finland Sweden
2004. The EU 25
10 New Member States
The 'A8' Others
Czech Republic Lithuania Cyprus
Estonia Poland Malta
Hungary Slovakia  
Latvia Slovenia  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3) The global context

For a long time, the population of Europe (defined in the second table below), although increasing, has fallen as a percentage of the world population. The same is true of the EU27 as the following graph shows.

The EU27's share of World Population
Data
Year Proportion Year Proportion
1960 13.29 1985 9.56
1965 12.56 1990 8.88
1970 11.76 1995 8.32
1975 10.97 2000 7.87
1980 10.27 2005 7.54
The graph
Source of data: Eurostat yearbook 2008

If we now look at the growth of the European population and compare it with the growth of countries outside Europe, we can see why despite its growth, its proportion of world population has been falling. Consider just China and India – by far the most populous countries in the world. The growth rates of these two countries have been much greater than the growth rate of Europe, or indeed of the USA. More widely, the growth rates of all World regions apart from Europe (Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern America, Oceania) have been greater that the growth rate of Europe.

Past Population Growth. Comparisons with the EU

Graph of comparison of population changes

This graph plots data for Europe and the EU27, together with the three most populous countries in the world: China, India and the USA.

The massive growth of China and India compared with Europe, means that these two countries now completely dwarf Europe in terms of population size. And if we consider world regions, while Europe grew by just 86 million 1965 to 2005, all the other regions of the world together grew by 2,147 million during the same period. So Europe's share of world population has fallen considerably in just 40 years.

Note. Europe is here defined as the EU27 together with Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Faeroe Islands,Iceland, Liechstenstein, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldava, Montenegro, Norway, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Switzerland and the Ukraine.

Source: Eurostat yearbook 2008.

 

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4) The present population

By the beginning of 2008, the population of the EU 27 had grown to nearly 500 million.
The countries with the largest populations are (millions):
Germany, 82.2
France, 63.8
UK, 61.2
Italy, 59.6
Spain, 45.3
Poland, 38.1.
The four biggest countries (in terms of population size) accounted for over half the EU27 population growth in 2007.
The size of various European country groupings and individual EU 27 countries is given in the following two tables.

The population of the European Union (millions) 2008
EU27 EU25 EU15 EA
497.5 468.3 394.2 321.5
Source of data: Eurostat: Tables – Population – Demography – Main Demographic Indicators – Total Population 1st January. See also Eurostat; Statistics in focus 81/2008.

 

The populations of the EU 27 member states (millions) 2008
Austria
8.3
Belgium
10.7
Bulgaria
7.6
Cyprus
0.8
Czech Republic
10.4
Denmark
5.5
Estonia
1.3
Finland
5.3
France
63.8
Germany
82.2
Greece
11.2
Hungary
10.0
Italy
59.6
Ireland
4.4
Latvia
2.3
Lithuania
3.4
Luxembourg
0.5
Malta
0.4
Netherlands
16.4
Poland
38.1
Portugal
10.6
Romania
21.5
Slovakia
5.4
Slovenia
2.0
Spain
45.3
Sweden
9.2
United Kingdom
61.2
 
Source of data: Eurostat: Tables – Population – Demography – Main Demographic Indicators – Total Population 1st January. See also Eurostat; Statistics in focus 81/2008.

 

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5) Past growth of the population and its components – natural increase and net international migration

5a). Actual population growth

The growth rates of all four European country groupings slowed after the mid 1960s, steadied in the 1980s, but picked up a little later (especially in the EU 27 and EU25 in the last few years):

Population Growth, European Union (EU) and Eurozone EA).
Graph of EU 27 and 25 Population Growth Graph of EU 15 and EA 15 Population Growth
Source of data: Eurostat: demo_gind Sources of data: Eurostat: demo_gind, and US Census Bureau

 

(5b).The components of population growth – natural increase and net migration

Population growth is generally primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. The following diagram summarises the causal components of population growth

natural change Population change, increase (growth) or decrease, depends on two things , first what is termed natural change and second, net migration. If births exceed deaths, then natural change is positive and we speak of natural increase. If gross immigration exceeds gross emigration, migration is positive, that is we have net immigration. In the EU, births have exceeded deaths, and gross immigration exceeded gross emigration. Consequently the population of the EU has been increasing for two reasons, natural increase and net immigration.

Considering the EU 27, if we look at live births and deaths, we find that annual births have decreased progressively since the mid–1960s (although there has been a slight increase this century). But deaths have increased during most of the same period. Consequently the gap between births and deaths has gradually decreased considerably since the mid–1960s, in other words, natural increase has decreased.. On the other hand, net migration in the EU27 has increased considerably since the mid–1980s. And in 2007, 80 per cent of the EU 27 population growth was caused by net migration. And this was an increase of 16.4 per cent compared with 2006. (R1).

The following two graphs summarise the position for the EU 25.

EU25. Components of Population Growth
Graph of Population Growth and Net Migration EU25. Components of Population Growth
Source of data: Eurostat: demo_gind

In fact migration contributes more to population growth than the mere net migration figures indicate. This is for two reasons. First, some of the live births recorded are births to migrants. Second, migrants are usually younger than the host population and so contribute less to mortality than the indigenous population does.

Considering Fertility rates, the average fertility rate in Europe fell steadily since the mid 1960s, falling below replacement level (roughly 2.1) in the mid 1970s and reaching roughly 1.4 by the end of the recent century. Europe was here defined as the EU27 together with Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Liechstenstein, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldava, Montenegro, Norway and the Russian Federation, Serbia, Switzerland and the Ukraine (R2). Here are some examples of total fertility rates in 1995. UK, 1.7; Norway, 1.9; Germany, 1.2; Spain 1.2; Russia, 1.3 (R3). Presently, in terms of regions, fertility rates are lowest in eastern and southern Europe (R4).

These fertility rates being so low, why is it that natural increase, although declining, has continued to exist? The answer lies primarily in population momentum:
The number of births in a population does not just depend on Total Fertility Rate, TFR (the average number of births per woman) but on the number of women of child bearing age in the population. If two similarly sized populations A and B had the same TFR but A had a greater number of women in the child bearing ages, A will produce more children than B. Now in 1965 Europe was at the peak of the post-war baby boom and the adults produced from this baby boom continued to have a big influence on demographic change until recently.

 

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6) Past changes in population composition – age structure, proportion of foreigners, ethnic groups and religion

(6a). Change in age structure

The age structure of the EU 25 population has changed considerably since 1965. In 1965 it was the younger age groups that dominated the age structure picture, with a gradual and fairly regular reduction in size of age groups from the 0–4 age group to the 95+ age group. So the largest age group was the 0–4 years age group. All the post retirement age groups (65+) were then much smaller than the pre–working age groups (usually taken to be 0–14, but also true for the 15–19 age group).

Now the situation is very different. Birth rates have been falling and life expectancy increasing, so the population has been ageing. The proportion of the population aged 65 and above in both the present EU 25 group of countries and the present EU27 countries has increased from a little under 14 per cent in 1990 to around 17 per cent today (R20).

In 2003, the largest age group was the 35 to 39 age group, closely followed by the 20–34 and the 40–54 age groups so there was a bulge in the 'population pyramid', with a comparatively large working age population (R4, fig 1.2). As these working age persons move towards retirement, the proportion of older people in the EU will continue to increase. This has caused fears about the ability of the working age population to provide the health services required by the elderly population in the future. These fears are strengthened by consideration of the changes in total fertility rate (TFR) that we have just described. We return to the ageing of the population in section 6c.

It is conventional in helping to quantify the support needed for the elderly population, and also the support for the population of young persons, to construct support ratios.
The young age dependency ratio is usually defined as the ratio of the number of persons aged 0–14 to the number of persons aged 15–64 expressed as a percentage. The old age dependency ratio as the number of persons aged 65 and over to the number of persons aged 15–64 expressed as a percentage. The total dependency ratio combines these two indicators. Strictly speaking these ratios are potential support ratios since not all working age persons are actually working. Here are the ratios in past times.

Dependency Ratios for the EU25
Young-age Dependency Ratio Old-age Dependency Ratio Total Dependency Ratio
Source. Eurostat Data set demo_pjanind

(6b). Changes in the Composition of European populations in terms of the number of foreigners, different ethnic groups and religions.

Immigration into both Western Europe and the USA has greatly increased since the 1950s. As a result, over 10% of the total population around the year 2000 had been born abroad in some Western European countries (R5). Further, “in some European countries around 2000, almost two–thirds of immigrants were from non–European countries (66 per cent in Britain, 62 per cent in the Netherlands, 59 per cent in France). In others such as Belgium and Sweden, those proportions are reversed” (R5).

In 2006, just under 6% of the EU27 population was composed of foreigners (that is non–nationals). The proportion ranged from 39.5% of the total population in Luxembourg, to less than 1% in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. There was a sex difference – in the whole EU male non-nationals made up 5.9% of the total population, compared with 5.3% with women. The foreigners originated from other EU countries and countries outside the EU. The geographical proximity of countries plays a role in determining the pattern of intra–Community patterns of migration. In Hungary, over 70% of non–nationals are EU citizens from another member state. The total number of non–nationals in the EU 27 at the beginning of 2006 was estimated to be nearly 28 million persons (R6).

In the EU15 the foreign population increased from 4.19 to 5.33% of the total population between 1990 and 2000. Between 1997 and 2001, most member states experienced steady increases in the inflow of foreign nationals, with some countries experiencing massive increases. Thus with Italy, the inflow of foreigners more than doubled between 1998 and 1999, while with Spain, the inflow more than tripled between 1999 and 2000. Around 2000 there were large differences between states in the percentage of foreigners in the population. Roughly a third of all foreigners were citizens of another EU member state, two–thirds coming from outside the EU15. If we look at those countries that have received the most foreign nationals, Turkish nationals (ethnic Turks and Kurds) made up the largest foreigner group. Roughly three million Turkish citizens were living in one or other of the EU 15 member states. The second largest group were citizens of the former Yugoslavia – mainly Croats, Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and ethnic Albanians. The third largest group was Moroccans, the fourth, Algerians (R7).

The inflow of immigrants has had a major effect on population size change in the EU15. Indeed several countries would by now have had a falling population for many years in the absence of this inflow, Germany Italy and Spain from 1986, 1993 and 1997 respectively (R7). More recently, 16 EU27 countries actually did report a fall in their populations 2006 to 2007 (R1). As previously mentioned, it is not just that immigrants boost the population directly by their inflow. It is also because immigrants reproduce and are on average younger than the host population. Births to foreign and foreign born nationals are a significant portion of total births – in the late 1990s, between 10 and 13% of all births in the UK, France and Germany. Now immigrant populations can, because they have a slightly younger age structure, help to slow down population ageing. But it has been concluded that so far the effect has been weak (R7).

The increase in non–nationals and their descendants from the middle of the recent century onwards has created multicultural societies. And in terms of ethnicity and religion as distinct from nationality there has been a large growth of non–Western ethnic groups (such as Blacks and Asians) and religious groups (especially Islam). In England, the country with probably the best information available, it has been estimated that the total of all non–White ethnic groups was already over 10% of the national population in 2005 (R8).

 

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7) Future changes in the population

7a). The global context

As we have already seen, the global world population has grown massively in recent decades. And it is projected to continue to grow for some decades to come. But most of the growth will take place in the less developed regions (LDR) of the world, while population growth in the more developed regions (MDR), including Europe as a whole, will flatten out. The graph below summarises the population growth situation.

World Population Growth, More Developed Regions (MDR) and Less Developed Regions (LDR)
World Population Growth
Year MDR LDR
1950 814 1722
1975 1048 3028
2007 1223 5448
2050 1245 7946
Graph of population growth
Source of data: United Nations: World population prospects. The 2006 revision.

Narrowing our focus to Europe as a whole, around the end of the recent millennium, Europe achieved its biggest ever share of the World population. But as we saw earlier, Europe's share of world population is falling, and it is projected to fall from about twenty per cent now to about 7 per cent by the end of the present century. This is virtually inevitable (R9). However, if we consider absolute numbers rather than percentages, there is a large variation between European regions and countries in their contribution to future population change in Europe and hence the EU's proportion of total world population growth. Looking at the period to 2050, decline is likely to be greatest in eastern Europe, followed by southern Europe (R9). Variation between individual countries is well illustrated by France and Germany. In France there is likely to be a considerable increase, in Germany a considerable drop in population (R21).

(7b). EU Population Projections

To investigate how populations may change size in the future, projections are made to cover a given time period. For such projections assumptions are first made about the principle factors affecting population size change, namely fertility (births), mortality (deaths, life expectancy) and migration (immigration and emigration). Assumptions may also be made about other factors, sometimes to investigate a specific hypothesis.

The European Communities Eurostat has prepared what they call a 'convergence scenario' projection for the EU27. The additional assumption here it that demographic parameters will converge between member states through decreasing socio–economic and cultural differences between the member states, and Norway and Sweden (not in the EU):

The convergence scenario projection for the EU27.
Convergence scenario
Source: Eurostat. Statistics in focus 72/2008.

As the graph shows, according to this scenario, the EU27 population will continue to increase, but at an ever decreasing rate, up to 2035, after which it will begin to fall, and soon fall quite rapidly. And at the end of the projection period, its proportion of the world population will be hardly any different from the roughly 7.4% in 2008. This scenario reflects the gradual continued reduction in natural increase, indeed from 2015, natural change is projected to be negative, as deaths are projected to outnumber births (R11).

Eurostat has also produced projections ('Trend Series') of future population size change for the EU 25 and the EU 15.
The trend series consists of a number of variant scenarios. These scenarios do not take into account future measures (such as new laws governing migration) that might affect population change. The chief scenarios are the 'baseline', the 'high population' and the 'low population' scenarios. Details of the assumptions and methodology used to produce the various scenarios is given in R12.

We give here a summary of the assumptions made for all seven scenarios, based on Table 6 in this reference.

    Total Fertility Rate Life Expectancy Net Migration
Baseline BL Base Base Base
High Population HP High High High
Low Population LP Low Low Low
Younger Age Profile Population YP High Low High
Older Age Profile Population OP Low High Low
High fertility HF High Base Base
Zero Migration ZM Base Base Zero

Of the seven scenarios, five show the EU population declining within the first half of the present century. And the EU's overall conclusion was that “the EU Population is likely to decline” (R12).

In the following graphs we summarise the results of the three main scenarios and the zero migration scenario. The zero migration scenario reflects the fact that at present, net immigration is the main driver of continued population growth in the EU. And migration will soon be the only population growth factor, because the number of deaths will come to outnumber the number of births as already mentioned. The EU concludes that continued net immigration will not be sufficient to prevent the EU population decreasing (R12).

Population Projections for the EU 25 and the EU 15
 EU25. population projections  EU15. population projections
Four projections: low variant, baseline variant , high variant, no migration variant
Source: Eurostat data sets: proj_tlp_pop; proj_tbp_pop; proj_thp_pop; proj_tzm_pop

Projections are not forecasts; nevertheless, they will be used by various parties to help them plan for the future. Yet projections become less and less reliable, the further into the future they are made, so beyond about 20 years they are very unreliable (R13).

There are various causes of uncertainty as to how the EU population is likely to change, as we know far too little about known or possible causal factors to assess their influence.

As far as fertility is concerned, immigration by persons from high fertility ethnic groups will obviously help to further the growth of populations. But what happens to the fertility of these groups in the second, third and beyond offspring generations? It is generally accepted that the fertility of high fertility groups will fairly rapidly converge to the fertility of the host population. And with the UK there is certainly evidence that this has happened for some groups in the past, most notably with the Indian national group. However, while there may be convergence, there are features of society in the countries of origin which, carried over into the UK, may at least slow convergence for particular groups. Thus in the 1992 book by Coleman and Salt (R14) we read (pages 512–513):
“the limited role outside the home prescribed for women by Islam may sustain higher than average fertility under most economic circumstances” Also “Asian extended family arrangements and the prevalence of family enterprises may make high fertility seem less disadvantageous than among West Indians”.

More widely in Europe, Coleman in a 2006 paper notes “But fertility differences may persist if immigrant groups do not achieve socioeconomic equality, if they retain strong attachment to religious or other elements of foreign culture, and if they continue to be numerically and culturally reinforced by large-scale migration, especially through importing unacculturated spouses from high–fertility countries” (R5 page 410).

As far as religion is concerned, we noted in the UK section of present page (section 6e) that next to age and marital status, it was a woman's 'religiosity' that was the strongest predictor of the number of offspring she produced, and immigrants into Europe tend to be more religious than the host population. Moreover, there seems to be little or no decline in 'religiosity' between immigrants and their first and second generation descendants, especially with Muslims.

Another uncertainty stems from the possibility of Turkey joining the EU. Turkey has some dissimilar demographic characteristics to the EU. Most importantly, the fertility rate in Turkey is higher than fertility rate in the EU. Freedom of movement in the EU could mean that the entry of Turkey into the EU will, through migration, have a significant effect on EU fertility rate.

Possible Population competition, driving up fertility where their are rival ethnic or religious groups in the population, is another source of uncertainty.
Wolfgang Lutz, leader of the World Population Program of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, said about this competition:
“Fears related to the ethnic composition of the population and ingroup-outgroup feelings can be powerful emotional forces that may directly influence individual reproductive behavior”. He cites examples of areas where rivalry between groups within a population seems associated with fertility levels higher than one would expect from socioeconomic standing: Israel, Northern Ireland and the Baltic States. But he also points out that there are counterexamples where “ethnic-linguistic rivalry is carried out by means other than fertility levels”, and he cites francophone Canadians, non–Hispanic Californians or Germans in cities where there are many Turks (R15 page 285). This view about Turks not withstanding, we think it is possible, given current world tensions, that the imperative for jihad may spread more widely through the Muslim communities in Europe, supported by networks involving Muslim countries elsewhere in the world, leading to the development of population competition with host communities.

There is no doubt that amongst Muslim groups in Europe there are sizeable numbers of activists who see their mission to be that of jihad, of conquering the country for Islam (jihad in its 'external' aspect rather than the 'internal' aspect, the daily inner struggle to be a better person). And there can equally be no doubt that many Muslims have felt threatened by or discriminated against not only by Whites but by non–Muslim ethnic minority groups. This is just the sort of situation where competitive breeding might develop. And we note that Coleman and Salt (R14 page 513) wrote: “ Where minorities feel threatened by absorption or assimilation, a 'minority effect' may make acceptance of family planning difficult and retard convergence in fertility”. And in a 2006 paper we have referred to earlier, he writes: “Increased inflows of unacculturated populations may conserve or even drive up fertility rates, as among African populations in Sweden and Britain” (R5, page 410).

Parsons in his monumental book on population competition (R16 page 281, based on work by Kapor–Stanulovic) gave details of one example of population competition, that which occurred in the former Yugoslavia:
“...Yugoslavia was the most heterogeneous country in Europe and population competition and competitive breeding were well launched before the series of civil wars erupted and it broke up......This seemed to be operating especially powerfully in the province of Kosovo in the south (neighbouring Albania) where the proportion of ethnic Albanians is expanding rapidly because of their substantially greater birthrate. In 1989 the total fertility rate here was 4.12 (compared with 1.74 in Croatia)....The ethnic Albanians demanded more power in accordance with their numbers...”.

Turning to migration, we note again that most of the future projected massive growth in the world population will take place in 'developing' countries, including the poorer countries of the world. World food supplies are already stretched to the limit, and climate change is likely, on balance, to have an adverse effect on food production. And already, some major regions of the world are experiencing severe reduction in water reserves needed for agriculture. So the 'push' factor for migration from these countries is likely to be stronger in the future. We think it is also likely that conflict, already widespread in some parts of the world, is likely to increase as a consequence of limitations on food production, and this will enhance the movement of peoples trying to escape from the difficult conditions in their countries. So the pressure to admit more migrants into Europe is likely to increase. At the same time, EU migration policy is still evolving, and the ability of the EU to regulate immigration is open to question.

Overall, we remain rather sceptical about the conclusion that the European population will decline this century, although if, as is very possible, economic conditions in Europe get considerably worse, this would reduce the attractiveness of Europe as a destination for migrants.

(7c). Projected ageing of European societies.

The population is projected to become older in European countries, including all members of the EU27, and two important north–west European Countries outside the EU, Norway and Switzerland. Two good ways to show this are first, looking at the change in the median (not mean) age. This is projected to rise in all EU27 countries together with Norway and Switzerland. For the EU27 as a whole, the median age is projected to rise from 40.4 years in 2008 to 47.9 years in 2060. There is however considerable variation in the extent of this rise between countries. At one extreme are Poland and Slovakia when the increase is over 15 years. In contrast it is less than 5 years in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK (R17).

The second way comes from looking at the changing age structure of the population. The percentage share of the total population for people aged 65 and over is projected to rise in all EU 27 countries plus Norway and Switzerland, and in only 6 countries is the projected share less than 10 percentage points. Further, considering the older old population, that is the population aged 80 and over, that population is projected to increase in all EU27 countries, not only in terms of percentage points but also in absolute numbers (R17).

As mentioned earlier, this increase in the population of older persons is of great concern to European governments, as it implies a large increase in spending on the services required to sustain this elderly population. We look now at dependency ratios (defined above in section 6a) .

The projected dependency ratios for the EU27 are shown in the following histograms. While the dependency ratio for both young as well as old persons is projected to increase, a glance at the scales on the histograms shows that the young age dependency ratio is much smaller than the old age dependency ratio in the later part of the projection period, its increase since present times being relatively small.

 

EU27 Dependency Ratios
Young age Dependency Ratio Old age Dependency Ratio Total Dependency Ratio
Source: Eurostat: Statistics in focus. 72/2008

 

We saw earlier that immigrant populations can in theory help to slow down population ageing because of their slightly younger age structure. But how big is this effect likely to be in the future? Lutz and Scherbov investigated a number of scenarios that combined different assumptions in order to produce fertility and immigration rates. They concluded that even quite extreme combinations of these assumptions would only affect the ageing process quite slowly (in R7, page 199). And Coleman in his 2001 Royal Society paper noted that various studies already made point to the conclusion that to maintain the then existing old age dependency ratio would require unimaginably high levels of immigration: With the EU15 a net immigration of 4.5 million per year by 2007 would be needed, and seven million per year by 2024! And it must be remembered that immigrants themselves age and come to require support (R19).

(7d). Projected change in the number of foreigners and ethnic composition

As we point out in the UK section of the present page, projections of ethnic change, very limited in scope, have been produced for England and Wales for the period 2001 to 2051. These show the 'White British and Irish' group decreasing from 88.7 to 63.9 per cent, the 'White non–British' group increasing from 2.7 to 11.6 per cent, and the 'non–White' ethnic minorities increasing from 8.7 to a massive 24.5 per cent! (This points to a massive ethnic transformation of England and Wales) (R5).

Unfortunately, projections of ethnic change are not a common feature in other European countries. As Coleman observed: “The criteria of ethnicity—self–ascribed but potentially perpetual — employed in the English–speaking world have no counterpart in Europe outside the UK. But concerns about integration have moved a number of European statistical offices to define as of 'foreign origin' or of 'foreign background' those belonging to the first or second generation of immigrant origin”. But he also observes that such definitions are not equivalent to ethnicity criteria just mentioned. And it is generally assumed that individuals in the third immigrant generation become part of the indigenous population and so do not contribute to the foreign origin population (R18, page 117).

So what is available for some countries are projections of persons of 'foreign origin' or 'foreign background'. Here, for England and Wales, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Austria, the percentage foreign will rise in the period to 2050, and the rise is considerable to between 15 percent and over 30 per cent (R5 and see also R9). For example, in Germany (2000 to 2050), the projected rise is from roughly 10 to 24 per cent, in Sweden (2004 to 2050) roughly 16 to 32 per cent. Further, if the percent foreign is divided into the categories per cent Western and per cent non–Western, in most countries the percentage increase is much greater in the latter than in the former. And Coleman points out that in all the continental projections the assumption is made that all or most of third generation immigrants, that is grandchildren of immigrants, become assimilated and are actually counted as native, not foreign origin. He writes “that approach tends to produce linear, not exponential, growth in the proportion of the population of foreign origin”. Furthermore, the projections ignore one significant component of populations, that is, persons of 'mixed origin' (R5 page 415).

It is clear then, that most likely there will be a large increase in the total ethnic minority population proportion of the total EU population.

Finally, it is worth noting a general point about immigration and fertility rates that Professor David Coleman (Oxford) drew attention to, and which we can apply to the ethnic minority populations of Europe:
In the long term, the minority will become the majority in a country if there remains even one region in which the proportion of the minority continues to increase through immigration and/or higher birth rates (Steinmann & Jäger 1997)” (R19).

 

Return to CONTENTS

 

8) References

1. Eurostat (2008). Statistics in focus. 72/2008. Ageing characterises the demographic perspectives of the European Societies. European Commission.

2. Eurostat (2008). Europe in figures. Eurostat Yearbook 2008. European Commission.

3. US Census Bureau (2008). International Data Base.

4. Lutz, W. & Wilson, C. (2006). Chapter 1 (pages 3–17) in The New Generations of Europeans. Demography and families in the enlarged European Union. Eds. Lutz, W. et al. Earthscan.

5. Coleman, D. (2006). Immigration and ethnic change in low–fertility countries: a third demographic transition. Population and Development Review 32,3: 401–446.

6. Eurostat. (2008). Statistics report of the European Union 2008. European Commission.

7. Pflegerl, J. (2006). Migration, migrants and their families in the EU15 member states. Chapter 9 (pages 191–221) in The New Generations of Europeans. Demography and families in the enlarged European Union. Eds. Lutz, W. et al. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Earthscan.

8. ONS. (2006 ). Experimental Statistics. Population estimates by ethnic group 2001–2005.

9. Coleman, D. (2007). The shape of things to come: world population to 2050. In Empire and the future world order, eds. Almqvist, K & Thomas, I., Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Sweden.

10. United Nations (2007). World Population Prospects. The 2006 Revision. United Nations.

11. Eurostat (2008). News release 119/2008, 26th August 2008. European Commission.

12. Eurostat (2006). Statistics in focus. 3/2006. Long–term population projections at national level. European Commission.

13. Keyfitz, N. (1981). The limits of population forecasting. Population and Development Review 7, 4: 579–593.

14. Coleman, D. & Salt, J. (1992). The British population. Patterns, trends, and processes. Oxford University Press.

15. Lutz, W. (1994). Future fertility and mortality in industrialized countries. In The future population of the world. What can we assume today? International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Earthscan.

16. Parsons, J. (1998). Human population competition. A study of the pursuit of power through numbers. Edwin Mellen Press, Lampeter, Wales. More recently the fourth edition has been available as “Population competition for security or attack. A study of the perilous pursuit of power through weight of numbers”. Population Policy Press, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, RCT.

17. Eurostat (2008). Statistics in focus. 72/2008. Ageing characterises the demographic perspectives of the European societies. European Commission.

18. Coleman, D. (2008). New Europe, new diversity. Population Studies 62, 1: 113–120.

19. Coleman, D. A. (2001) . Replacement migration, or why everyone is going to have to live in Korea: a fable for our times from the United Nations. Philosophicl Transactions: Biological Sciences (The Royal Society) volume 357 number 1420 (2002).

20. Eurostat (2008). Data base: demo_pjanind.

21. Eurostat (2008). Population – Population Projections – Site 3 TGM table.

Return to CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

We thank EU Statistics UK at ONS for clarification of certain EU statistics information.


v). Human population growth and migration.

Human Population Growth and Migration

have serious consequences, globally and for the United Kingdom

Population Growth, Natural Increase and Migration

Population growth is primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. And in the United Kingdom at present, migration is a greater cause of population growth than natural increase. Both population growth and migration can affect the quality of the natural environment, the likelihood of conflict, and social cohesion between ethnic groups. In our view, the significance of both population growth and migration are often underestimated by governments and non-governmental organisations.

 


 

DID YOU KNOW?
The global human population is projected to grow from 6.8 billion in 2009 to 9.1 billion in 2050, an increase approaching the present population sizes of India and China combined.
By the mid-2030's, if global consumption continues as it is now, we will need the equivalent of two planets to sustain the global population.
The UK population is projected to grow from 61.9 million in 2009 to 85.3 million in 2081, an increase roughly equivalent to three times the present population size of London.
The main cause of continued UK population growth will be immigration.
READ ON IN THE NEXT TWO BOXES !

 

SOME KEY POINTS
1. The impact of a population on the environment depends on P, population size and A, affluence or per capita consumption. But it also depends on T, how current technology affects environmental impact. Hence the well known impact equation I=P×A×T. The significance of population growth is often minimised or ignored by the media and environmental organisations, while the high consumption in industrialised countries is often stressed. Migration between countries affects national environmental impacts but this also receives little attention by environmental organisations and some media. Gaia Watch seeks to redress the balance by drawing attention to -
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH AND MIGRATION
2. Tropical rain forests continue to be cut down to provide land for food and oil crops. Why? A significant cause is – CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH
3. Ocean fisheries continue to be depleted, and this is aggravated by CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH
4. Fresh water aquifers continue to be depleted in an effort to continue to fulfil the needs of agriculture and human consumption. This is greatly aggravated by – CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH
5. In many sub-Saharan countries and some other countries, crop yields per unit area have fallen greatly because of over intensive agricultural practices causing decrease in soil fertility. Why? The most significant cause is usually – CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH
6. Greenhouse gas emissions, causing global warming, continue to increase. Why? Increased per capita consumption in some countries and – CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH
7. Global warming will cause some densely populated areas of the world to be submerged in the oceans and many other areas to suffer disruption of agricultural production. THIS WILL INCREASE THE FLOW OF ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES WITHIN AND BETWEEN COUNTRIES WITH CONSEQUENT DANGERS TO ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STABILITY
8. Built up areas continue to increase in size, and often in density, causing loss of vital agricultural land and natural ecosystems, and making governmental control much more difficult, with the potential to increase community tensions and conflict. Why? Most significant causes – URBANIZATION AND CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH
9. In the UK now and in the future, why does the population continue to grow massively? PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF IMMIGRATION
10. Continued net immigration of persons of different cultures to the native peoples, in the UK and other countries, COULD THREATEN SOCIAL COHESION

 

More Key points: NEGLECT OF POPULATION GROWTH BY GOVERNMENTS AND THE MEDIA, and THE ROLE OF GAIA WATCH

1. The adverse impact of mankind on the environment is well summarised by the Impact equation:
I = Population × Affluence (or consumption) × Technology. Governments, the media and major environmental organisations, often draw attention to the excessive consumption in 'developed' countries compared with 'developing countries', rightly recommending reduction of consumption in the former. But they say much less about population growth or they deny this is an underlying cause of environmental impact. Now population growth, still massive in some developed countries, is mainly in developing countries, and policies should be developed and adopted, as a matter of urgency, to mitigate this growth, including specific population growth reduction policies. We think the downplaying of the significance of population growth, especially as regards Africa, is probably mainly through belief in Christian and humanist ideologies and a sense of guilt about past influence of developed countries on African countries (see also point 3).
2. In the UK it is projected that the population will continue to grow, and grow by over three times the present population size of London by AD 2081. Think of how much agricultural land and land of scenic beauty so valuable both for maintaining ecosystems mankind needs and for recreation, will be lost to new housing and infrastructure. Net immigration will be the main cause of this continued population growth. Yet the government the media and major environmental organisations largely remain silent on, or minimise the significance of these effects of immigration.3. Why this (sometimes deliberate) failure to draw attention to the adverse impact of population growth and migration? In addition to reasons already mentioned, we suggest four reasons. (i) There seems to be an ingrained belief in humans that population growth is good and should not be tampered with. (ii) Officials have not been educated to understand the ecological and social impact of human population growth. (iii) Most economists believe (mistakenly in our view) that continued quantitative economic growth is needed in the industrialised nations and consider that continued population growth promotes such economic growth. In the European Union current and future population growth is mainly caused by immigration; not surprisingly, organisations and individuals who accept the need for such economic growth draw attention to the supposed benefits of population growth and migration, rather than to adverse effects of same (see the footnote at the bottom of the present page). (iv) Many, perhaps most developed countries including the UK, are, we think, dominated by what we term the 'left–wing–liberal politically correct brigade' (LWLPCB) which is driven by an ideology encompassing an uncritical belief in globalization, the belief that we must have open doors to all who may face persecution in home countries, and a firm belief in multiculturalism. Consequently continued immigration is viewed favourably. And for environmental organizations a fifth reason – fear of losing members who share the LWLPCB ideology.4. Consequently the public are not informed about the serious adverse consequences of continued population growth. However many people know enough, or think they know enough about continued immigration, to be worried about it; but the dominance of the LWLPCB means they are too scared ( or 'prudent') to take issue with government and main political parties on this matter. Democracy (for the native peoples!) is thrown out of the window.

5. THIS IS WHY THE WORK OF GAIA WATCH IS SO IMPORTANT. IT IS OUR ROLE TO PROVIDE BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT POPULATION TRENDS AND THE ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIETAL IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TRENDS, INCLUDING THE DANGERS OF CONTINUED MIGRATION DRIVEN POPULATION GROWTH, AND AT THE SAME TIME TO CHALLENGE POLITICAL PARTIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS ON THEIR APPROACH TO POPULATION ISSUES.

 

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Population Growth and Migration: Global Aspects

At the global level, human population growth is one significant cause of environmental problems - destruction of natural ecosystems, increased rate of species extinction, soil erosion, falling water tables and depletion of aquifers, pollution of rivers, seas and coastal waters, increase of harmful emissions to the atmosphere. Population growth has in our view, already taken the human population beyond the carrying capacity of the planet.Through its adverse effect on the environment, population growth is a significant cause of the increase in the number of environmental refugees (people who can no longer secure a livelihood in their own area because of environmental problems such as desertification). The number of environmental refugees will be greatly inflated if, as expected, global warming causes sea levels to rise, inundating vast areas of densely populated land. In the past, abrupt climate temperature changes have occurred. If they occur in the future, agricultural systems may be unable to adapt fast enough, causing massive decrease in food production, which in turn will swell the number of environmental refugees. Environmental refugees may simply be displaced within a country, or they may by international migration move between nations or continents. Such disruptive movements can impede attempts to achieve sustainable development.We believe population growth can contribute to political instability and conflict. And the great affluence gap between the rich and poor countries has implications for migration: it fuels the desire to emigrate from poor countries, a desire which is likely to be increased as massive population growth continues in these countries. Such migration increases the potential for demographically fuelled international conflict. And declining natural resources will probably increase ‘resource wars’.Current conflicts in the Middle East could lead to even greater and more widespread conflict. In parenthesis, we believe these Middle East conflicts are not simply a matter of terrorism, but also of western hegemony and western desire to secure oil supplies; continued depletion of these supplies is likely to fuel such conflicts in the near future.

So population growth and migration are very important matters when considering the well being of the planet.

We would particularly like to draw attention to the following items about the global situation. Click on any item to go to it directly.

SOIL, not Oil, but what about CONTINUED HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH?
A summary and review of Vandana Shiva's 2008 book “Soil not oil. Climate change, peak oil and food insecurity”
(Book Reviews page)

Manning the barricades. Who's at risk as deepening economic distress foments social unrest (News page, an item for the 21st March 2009),
and Social unrest in Europe as the recession deepens (just Europe, but such unrest could well spread elsewhere) (News page, an item for the 30th January 2009)

Global Population Trends (Population Trends page)

Population pressures on the environment and society (Comment section, Comment and Analysis page)

Population growth and environmental deterioration. Are things finally coming together — for mankind's doom? (Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page)

Human population as a dynamic factor in environmental degradation (Other Literature page)

'Return of the Population Growth Factor. Its impact upon the Millennium Development Goals' (Report of Hearings by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health) (Other Literature page)

634 million people at risk from rising seas (News page)

The United Nations projects massive global rise in population and massive net migration to the rich countries of the world (News page)

Is economic growth good for the environment? An approach to this question using the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis
(essay, Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page)

William Stanton. “The rapid growth of human populations 1750–2000. Histories, consequences, issues nation by nation” (Book Reviews page)

James Lovelock. “The revenge of Gaia”. Possible catastrophic climate change
(Book Reviews page)

Although they have not been revised since 2002, our two essays on the subject of 'how many people can the earth support?' still provide a useful basic introduction to this important topic (Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page).

Books reviewed on our Book Reviews page and the comments on these books given in our Comment and Analysis page, show how total collapse of global human society is a very real possibility, and massive further loss of biodiversity is likely.


Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

Turning from the global to the local level, we note that the United Kingdom is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, its population, we argue, already exceeding carrying capacity.And the latest (2006) set of population projections have the population, 60.6 million in 2006, rising to reach 72.7 million in 2036, an increase of twelve million. This increase is far greater than the present size of of Greater London (7.6 million in 2007). Beyond 2031 the population is projected to continue to rise reaching 85.3 million in 2081, a massive increase of nearly 25 million from 2006, an increase three times the present size of Greater London!As we noted earlier, population growth is caused by natural change (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. Now nearly 60 per cent of the population growth 2004-2031 is attributable to net international migration. But later, deaths will come to exceed births, the continued population growth then being maintained only by net international migration.This continued population growth will push the population even further above carrying capacity. The immigration component will, we think, increasingly threaten social cohesion. And the extent that Government relies on immigration to solve skill shortages and labour needs, will in our view, delay the development of a radical policy on participation in the workforce, adequate payment in the low-skilled job sector and pension reform, which will ultimately be required to deal effectively with employment problems including providing adequate support for the ageing population.The likely global increase in environmental and political refugees, will, in our view, maintain or increase the immigration pressure on the UK.

Clearly population growth and migration (both immigration and emigration) are very important matters for policy making in the United Kingdom.

We would particularly like to draw attention to the following items about the United Kingdom. Click on any item to go to it directly.

The UK section of the Population Trends page, last updated 15th August 2009 with a couple of additions later the same month (Population Trends page)

An essay by Christopher Caldwell: “Fear masquerading as tolerance” (Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page)

Election Protests in Iran. Were demographic factors involved? (Comment section, Comment and Analysis page)

Election Protests in Iran. Were demographic factors involved? (Comment section, Comment and Analysis page)

The European section of the Population Trends page, which provides a useful background to UK population trends, was updated end of September 2008 (Population Trends page)

Coleman, D. (2006). Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition (Other Literature page)

MacEoin, D. (2006). Music, Chess and other Sins: Segregation, Integration, and Muslim Schools in Britain (Other literature page)

Two related items:    One. UK born and non–UK born employment. (News page, 11th and 12th February, 2009).
 
Two. The right to know. The duty to inform. Examples of 'Politically Correct Brigade' fears about uncomfortable facts being made known. (Comment and Analysis page, 13th February 2009).

Sources of resentment, and perceptions of ethnic minorities among poor white people in England (Other Literature page, 21st January, 2009)

Two reports on the impact of migration on UK employment (Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page, late December 2008)

UK: Report of Cross-party group on Balanced Migration (News page, 8th September 2008)

UK. Community cohesion and migration (News page, 16th July 2008)

Counting the Population (News page, 23rd May 2008)

Analysis. A cohesive Britain? (News page, 14th June 2007)

Undercover mosque, undercover Islamism! (Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page, mid-May 2007)

We invite our readers to think for themselves how population growth and migration may have affected the quality of their lives.


Interaction with our readers- an invitation.
We would like to encourage readers to make use of our e-mail discussion group (the e-mail group page of our web site); it is not difficult to join in. You can then send comments and ask questions, about population growth and migration and related matters, and reply to other people who post to this group.
We are also willing in principle, to post on our Comments and Analysis page, critical comments made by our readers about anything that is written on our web site.


Most recent alterations/additions to the web site (not including additions to the News page)

15th August 2009. The UK section of the Population Trends page was updated.
6th August 2009. “Fear masquerading as tolerance”, an essay by Christopher Caldwell on changes in Europe's Weltanschauung, added to the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.
1st July 2009. A summary and review of Vandana Shiva's 2008 book “Soil not oil. Climate change, peak oil and food insecurity”, added to the Book Reviews page.
24th June 2009. “Election Protests in Iran. Were demographic factors involved?”. Added to the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
20th June 2009. Four tables (including a donation button) added to the top section of this Home page and a footnote added at the bottom of the page, with minor alterations 22nd, 26th and 27th of June.
27th February 2009. “Music, Chess and other Sins: Segregation, Integration, and Muslim Schools in Britain". Added to the Other Literature page.
13th February 2009. “The right to know. The duty to inform. Examples of 'Politically Correct Brigade' fears about uncomfortable facts being made known”. Added to the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
21st January 2009. A Communities and Local Government report “Sources of resentment, and perceptions of ethnic minorities among poor whites in England” was added to the Other literature page.
Mid-January 2009.The Global section of the Population Trends page was updated.
30th December 2008.Two reports on the impact of migration on UK employment, added to the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.
30th September 2008. The European section of the Population Trends page was updated.
21st May 2008. “Population growth and environmental deterioration. The neglected factor in a new report”. Added to the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
18th May 2008. The UK section of the Population Trends page was updated.
26th April 2008. “Global food crisis. A very inadequate response”. Added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
November 2007. “By stealth and deceit. Camoflaged spread of Muslim influence?” Added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
2nd November 2007. An essay on possible failure to secure adequate future global food supply “Population growth and environmental deterioration. Are things finally coming together for mankind's doom?” Added to the analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.
14th August 2007. A report on a recently published paper by J.Harte “human population as a dynamic factor in environmental degradation” added to the Other Literature page.
July 2007. “Will we be able to feed the world population?” added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
15th May 2007. A report on a paper by D. L. Carr et al “population dynamics and tropical deforestation: state of the debate and conceptual challenges” added to the Other Literature page.
8th April 2007. “Shape of things to come - water crises” added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
Beginning of April 2007. A review of a UK all party parliamentary group report “Return of the population growth factor. Its impact upon the Millennium Development Goals” added to the Other Literature page, together with page navigation aids.
March 2007. “Yes, we are right to give some emphasis to climate change on our web site that focuses on population growth and migration” added to the comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
12th March 2007. Navigation aids added to the Comment and Analysis page.
Early March 2007. A review by Peter Salonius of a book by W.Stanton “The rapid growth of human populations” (Book Reviews page); a paper by Dietz et al “driving the human ecological footprint” (Other Literature page); two items in the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page: “Student attempt to silence Oxford academic who has explored the adverse effects of immigration on society” and “Elephant cull. And the global human population?”.
Mid–February 2007. A review by Professor A. A. Bartlett, of the Scientific American September 2006 'special' issue on energy supply and the climate change challenge, pointing out the neglect of the implications of population size and growth, added to our Book Reviews page. And a comment with the title “We feel we must reiterate: Improving technology and reducing consumption will not by themselves solve our problems. We need to control population as well” added to our Comment and Analysis page.
Mid–January 2007. Other Literature page. Reports on two recently published papers: 'Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition' (a 2006 paper by D. Coleman), and 'Imagine earth without people' (article in The New Scientist, 2006).
End of November and early December 2006. The UK section of the Population Trends page, principally its section h), was updated.
End of October 2006. The Population Trends page was updated.
Early May 2006. Book Reviews page. A review of James Lovelock's new book “ The revenge of Gaia”wasadded.


FOOTNOTE
ECONOMIC GROWTH

Most economists and governments consider that to maintain a healthy economy, there must be quantitative growth in that economy. And in some circumstances such as industrial countries with an ageing population, continued population growth promotes economic growth.

However, the planet, or any country such as the UK, is of finite size. Economic growth and population growth cannot continue for ever. Further, economists in their accounts have generally ignored the harmful effects on the environment of economic growth. Herman Daly, former senior economist in the World Bank's Environment Department has repeatedly made these arguments.

As natural resources ('natural capital') become depleted, it becomes more expensive to extract sufficient quantity (e.g. ocean fish catches). And increased growth comes increasingly to entail unpleasant effects like pollution and congestion. The point is reached when economic growth becomes uneconomic growth. We need to change, Daly argues, from promoting quantitative economic growth, to promoting qualitative development.
Two useful articles by Daly are:
(1) “Economics in a full world” Scientific American September 2005; (2) “On a road to disaster” New Scientist 18th October 2008.


Gaia Watch. Private Limited Company registered in Cardiff, Company No. 3190710. Registered office address: 33, Bingham Park Crescent, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 7BH.Registered Charity (UK) No. 1060769. Charity Objectives. To advance the education of the public by conducting research into (1) the growth and movements of human populations and the relationships of these factors to all aspects of environmental health and social well-being (2) all aspects of mans impact on the environment (3) the ecology of remaining natural and semi-natural areas in the world, and to disseminate the useful results of such research.

e-mail address: jbarker@population-growth-migration.info



u). The UK section of the Population Trends page before that page was updated 15th August 2009.

Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

This is the revised version of the United Kingdom section of the page that was posted up 18th May 2008.

KEY POINTS
 
  1. All aspects of population statistics in the United Kingdom are in an unsatisfactory state. Recent censuses were unsatisfactory. Immigration flow statistics are estimated on small voluntary samples of intended immigration and emigration, of incomplete coverage and high sampling error and the number of illegal immigrants is anyone's guess.
  2. The UK population is projected to continue to grow massively. It is projected to rise from 60.6 million in 2006 to 69.3 million in 2026, an increase of 8.7 million — more than the present population size of London (7.5 million). But between 2006 and 2081, the population is projected to rise by 24.7 million — over three times the present London population size.
  3. The main driver of this population growth will be international migration.
  4. With this population growth comes a massive and fundamental on-going change of the ethnic group composition of the population, a change that started after the Second World War.
  5. The population continues to age, and the option of adequately maintaining or increasing the support for the elderly population by increased immigration is completely unrealistic. Keeping the support even at the 2000 level would require an unimaginably large number of immigrants.

 

The following two graphs and table get to the heart of the matter.

 

graph of population growth and migration

 

Estimated Total Fertility Rates (TFRs): country of birth of mother, 2001

United Kingdom 1.6
India 2.3
Pakistan 4.7
Bangladesh 3.9
East Africa 1.6
Rest of Africa 2.0
Remainder of New Commonwealth 2.2
Rest of the World 1.8
 

british: non-british migration

Sources. Left Graph: Population: ONS Population Trends 131 Table 1.2. Migration: ONS Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991-2006.
Table: ONS (2007) Birth Statistics Series FM1 no.35 Table 9.5. Right graph: ONS Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991-2006

 

CONTENTS

1) Introduction
(click on any of the following sections to go directly to it)
2) Today's population: size, age structure and density
3) Population growth in the past
  a) The actual growth in numbers
  b) The causes of population growth: natural increase and net migration
  c) Effects of recent EU enlargement
4) Projections of future population growth and net immigration
5) Past population projections: net immigration as a driving force underestimated
6) Population growth and migration in terms of nation of origin and ethnicity
  a) Today's population
  b) Growth of ethnic minority populations in the past
  c) Fertility of ethnic groups
  d) Age composition of ethnic groups
  e) Religion
  f) Past international migration of ethnic groups
  g) Relationship between migration and fertility of ethnic groups
  h) Projections of future population growth of ethnic groups
7)The ageing of the population
8) Changing population distribution within the UK: total population and ethnic groups
9) Acknowledgements
References
Appendix

 


1) Introduction

The basic source of information here is the Office for National Statistics (ONS). See the Population and Migration section of the web site http://www.statistics.gov.uk The ONS produces press releases, brief summary reports, and more in depth regular publications such as Population Trends, the Series PP2 National Population Projections and the Series MN International Migration. Other important sources of information include the Government Actuary's Department (GAD) http://www.gad.gov.uk/ , the Home Office (HO) http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/ and Eurostat, European Commission http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/ .

In the following account, note that some records refer to Great Britain (GB), that is England, Scotland and Wales, others to the United Kingdom (UK), that is Great Britain together with Northern Ireland. Note however, that in terms of total numbers, the vast majority of people in the UK live in GB (see the following section).

Note also that ONS sometimes uses mid-year population estimates, sometimes end of year estimates. It is important to bear this in mind. For example, in Population Trends 123 (Spring 2006) and the article there on national population projections, there is a figure 1 which graphs total net migration over a period of years. Later in the same volume there is a table 7 that gives actual data on total net migration. If one plots the data in this table as a graph, the shape of the graph does not coincide exactly with the shape of the graph in figure 1, although the general trend of total net migration is the same. The reason for the discrepancy is that figure 1 uses mid-year population estimates, whilst table 7 uses end of year estimates.
To illustrate the differences that occur between between graphs based on the alternative sets of data, we show, in the Appendix, population projection graphs based on mid-year and end of year data.
Finally, population projections normally work in terms of mid-year data.

Note on the value of published information on population trends including migration.

“All aspects of population statistics in the United Kingdom are in an unsatisfactory state. Even the base population remains uncertain. Despite every effort, the last two censuses have turned out to be unsatisfactory. Even the 2001 census, designed to be infallible, has had to be revised twice and its incompatibilities with other sources patched up with statistical Polyfilla. With present systems the degree of error is unknowable but possibly large. Inappropriate questions are asked, and necessary ones ignored. Immigration flow statistics are estimated on small voluntary samples of intended immigration and emigration, of incomplete coverage and high sampling error. Immigrants' destinations around the country are based initially on their stated intentions on arrival, naturally subject to revision. With these systems we cannot know who is in the country, legally or illegally, when they arrived, where they are or if and when they left. The number of illegal immigrants is anyone's guess although the government has given an estimate of about half a million. Internal migration and local population estimates are based on obsolete and often wrong census counts, sample surveys inadequate for local authority use and indirect and partial estimates from changes in doctors' registrations. Current huge migration flows quickly render estimates out of date”. Professor David Coleman (2007) Memorandum to the House of Commons Treasury Committee December 2007.

“. ...THE CENSUS OF POPULATION. ----The last 20 years have been turbulent for population estimates for two reasons. First, society has become more mobile, less accessible and less willing to respond to surveys. And increases in international migration have created major problems in the enumeration of cities and in estimating the migration component of the annual roll-forward. Second, ONS made serious errors in census design and execution in 1991 and 2001, and on present plans will repeat the errors in 2011.---- There was a marked increase in non-response in 2001 in all types of area. A record 4 million people (71/2% of the population) were not entered on census forms. Even in the "best" local authorities (the unitary and county LAs with the lowest levels of non-response and together having 10% of the national population) the non-response rate was about 3%, compared with an average rate among all LAs in 1981 of under 1% ”. Mr. Philip Redfern (2007) Memorandum to the House of Commons Treasury Committee November 2007.

For those who would like to look further into the accuracy of population estimates in relation to recent censuses, a paper by Ludi Simpson could be consulted (“Fixing the population: from census to population estimate”. Environment and Planning A 2007, volume 39, pp. 1045-1057).

For the rest of this account of population trends in the UK, references in the body of the text are given in the form (Rx) and are detailed before the appendix at the end of the account in the references section.

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Today's population

The UK Population Today

Mid–2006 populations (thousands)
England 50,763
Wales 2,966
Scotland 5,117
Northern Ireland 1,742
United Kingdom 60,587

In 2007 the UK population was growing at the fastest rate since the 1960s, and between mid–2001 and mid–2006 it increased by almost one and a half million, an increase of two and a half percent (R3). Why was it growing so fast? There are three reasons:

  1. Increased Life expectancy. In recent years mortality rates have been falling, life expectancy has been increasing (R2, R3).
  2. Increased Fertility. Total fertility rate (defined in the Global section of this page), has risen steadily from 1.63 children per woman in 2001 to 1.84 children per woman in 2006 — the highest level since 1980. (R3, R4).
  3. Increased Net International Migration. In recent years both emigration and especially immigration have been exceptionally high, with the result that net immigration has increased significantly (R3).

Of these three causes of this rapid growth, Net International migration has been the main driver (R5).

Source for table data: Governement Actuary's department ( 22nd August 2007). Base population.

•  http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/pproj1007.pdf

Illegal immigrant population
The population figures given above ignore illegal immigration, for the simple reason that no accurate figures are available for such immigration. However, the HO, in 2005, did finally produce an estimate of the total illegal migrant population in 2001 (R7). The components of this total population were 1) illegal entrants, 2) persons who exceeded their valid 'leave to remain' period, and 3) failed asylum seekers who did not comply with instructions to leave the UK. The HO gave a 'central' estimate of 430,000, within a range of 310,000 to 570,000. This same report gave an estimate of the total foreign-born population in the UK in April 2001 of 3.6 million.

An Ageing population
The UK population is an ageing population: persons under the age of 16 made up 26 per cent of the population in mid–1971, but by mid–2006, only 19 per cent. Over the same period the percentage of persons aged 65 and over rose from 13 to 16 per cent (R6). This lessens the support burden for young people (schooling etc) but increases the support burden for old people (health etc.). But the burden for old people has been partly alleviated by the fact that there was an increase in the working-age population, due to persons from the 'baby boom' generation joining the workforce from the late 1970s.

Population density (all figures population per sq. km).
According to the Council of Europe, figures for the beginning of 2005 showed the UK population density was 246, the fourth highest density in the then EU states (25 states), less than Malta (1274), (the Netherlands (393) and Belgium (341) slightly higher than Germany (231) and over twice the population density of France (110). These figures should be contrasted with countries having very low population densities like Sweden (20) and Ireland (58) (R10) . But the density of the UK varied considerably between the constituent parts, with England having the highest density, 387 (nearly as high as the present Netherlands density), Wales having 142 and Scotland 65 (R11).

However, Mr. James Clappison, MP, tabled a question on population density in Parliament on the 7th of January 2008. The question was answered by the National Statistician's office on 18th February. The estimates for 2006 were, for the UK, 250 persons per sq km, and for England, 390 per sq km. And the principal projection gave the figure of 464 persons per sq km for England in 2031, a figure greatly exceeding the present population density of the Netherlands.

 

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3) Population growth in the past

(3a). The actual growth in numbers

Since around the middle of the 18th Century, the population of the UK has grown massively. The population growth rate increased, then it steadied, and later decreased, producing the S shaped curve in the graph below. During this whole period the population went through what is known as the 'demographic transition' — the transition from a largely rural agrarian society with high fertility and mortality rates, to a predominantly urban industrial society with low fertility and mortality rates. The demographic transition is described in the Global section of the current page. It remains to be seen if the increased growth rate since mid–2001, mentioned in the previous section, will be maintained.

Growth of the Population of the UK, and of England and Wales

Numbers (millions)
Year UK E & W   Year UK E & W
1711   6.0   1871 27.4 22.7
1731   6.1   1891 34.3 29.0
1751   6.5   1911 42.1 36.1
1771   7.2   1931 46 40.0
1791   8.3   1951 50.2 43.8
1811   10.2   1971 55.9 49.2
1831 17.8 13.9   1991 57.4 50.7
1851 22.3 17.9   2005 60.2 53.4
uk population growth
Source: 1) Tranter (1973) Population since the industrial revolution: the case of England and Wales. Croom Helm.
2) ONS. Annual Abstracts of Statistics 84 and 143.

 

3b). The causes of population growth — natural increase and migration

Population growth is generally primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. The following diagram summarises the causal components of population growth

natural change Population change, increase (growth) or decrease, depends on two things , first what is termed natural change and second, net migration. If births exceed deaths, then natural change is positive and we speak of natural increase. If gross immigration exceeds gross emigration, migration is positive, that is we have net immigration. In the UK, births do exceed deaths, and gross immigration does exceed gross emigration. Consequently the population of the UK is increasing for two reasons, natural increase and net immigration.

 

We look first at natural increase.

From around the middle of the 18th century to the present time, births have exceeded deaths, and this has been the principal cause of the the massive growth of the UK population. During this period, death rates decreased first, birth rates decreasing much later. Only very recently has net migration become the main cause of population growth, as we will see shortly. The long term decline in yearly deaths has continued in recent times, although at a lower rate. People are living longer, in other words, life expectancy has increased. The situation with births is quite different: yearly births, which had been declining, have shown a marked upswing (see the table and figure below).

Two terms much used by demographers are the Total Fertility Rate (TFR)and the Replacement Fertility Rate(RFR).
The TFR is the number of children that would be born to a woman if current patterns of childbearing persisted throughout her childbearing years (usually considered to be ages 15 to 49). More technically, “the average number of live children that a woman would bear if the female population experienced the age–specific fertility rates of the calendar year in question throughout their childbearing lifespan” (R12). The Replacement Fertility Rate (RFR) is the fertility rate that will ensure that each woman will be replaced by one daughter in the next generation. It is roughly 2 because it is only women that add the males as well as the females to the population! But it is a little over 2 because, first, slightly fewer girls are born than boys, and second, some baby girls do not survive to reproduce. For many years the TFR has been well below the replacement level in the UK and it was falling in the 1990s. But in the last few years there has been a marked and fairly steady increase as the following table shows (we will look at the reasons for this increase later).

England and Wales. Natural Change and Total Fertility Rate (TFR)

Natural Change & Total Fertility Rate (TFR)
Year Live Births Deaths TFR
1996 649,485 563,007 1.74
1997 643,095 558,052 1.73
1998 635,901 553,435 1.72
1999 621,872 553,532 1.70
2000 604,441 537,877 1.65
2001 594,634 532,498 1.63
2002 596,122 535,356 1.65
2003 621,469 539,151 1.73
2004 639,721 514,250 1.78
2005 645,835 512,993 1.79
2006 669,601 502,599 1.86
 
graph of births, deaths, TFR
Source: ONS (2007). Birth Statistics Series FMI no.35 tables 1.3 & 1.4

We look, second, at migration

In the UK, trends in international migration have changed greatly over the period 1965 to the present, the country changing from being a country of net emigration to a country of net immigration.

This period from 1965 can be divided into three parts (R5):

  1. 1975-1982. In most years the annual outflow was considerably greater than the annual inflow, so there was net emigration.
  2. 1983-1993. Inflows and outflows were roughly similar. There were small net inflows in most years but small net outflows in a few years.
  3. 1994 to recent times. There has been net immigration and this has shown an upward trend.

The following box shows net migration from 1991 to 2006.

UK. Past Net International Migration (the balance between gross immigration and gross emigration)

Year Thousands Year Thousands
1991 44 1999 163
1992 -13 2000 158
1993 -1 2001 173
1994 77 2002 154
1995 76 2003 147
1996 55 2004 244
1997 48 2005 204
1998 140 2006 191
past net immigration
The red line is the linear trend line of the points on the blue line. Source of data: ONS, Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991–2006. See also Salt, J. (2007) International Migration and the United Kingdom. Report of the United Kingdom Sopemi Correspondent to the OECD.

Note. The figures for net immigration in the box above entirely ignore illegal immigration, for the simple reason that no accurate figures are available for such immigration (see previous section).

We now look more closely at the period 1994 to the present.
Both the total number of immigrants (gross immigration) and the total number of emigrants (gross emigration) have shown marked annual upward trends. But total immigration has increased much more than total emigration, so there has also been a marked upward trend in net immigration, which in recent times has been in the region of 200,000 (200 thousand) a year, which is a very large number. For example, for 2006, the latest year for which information is available, it was estimated that 400,000 people left the UK — the highest yearly number recorded, sustaining the level of high out–migration of recent years. But estimated number of people arriving to live in the UK for at least a year was 591,000 (giving the net gain of 191,000 recorded in the above table).

Now the above box shows a very recent down–turn in net international migration — whether or not this will continue in the next few years remains to be seen. But there is one important fact this box does not show us. If we look at a break down of net migration in terms of British and non-British, we see that as far as the non–British population is concerned, net immigration has in fact continued to increase, not decrease. The reason for the down turn in total net immigration is solely the massive net migration (net emigration) of the British category (we return to this topic in a later section):

 

Total recent UK Net International Migration together with its British and non–British components (thousands)

Year Total
Net migration
Net
British
Net
Non-British
2001 173 -48 221
2002 154 -87 242
2003 147 -91 238
2004 244 -107 351
2005 204 -89 293
2006 191 -126 316
components of recent net migration
In 2005 and to a lesser extent in 2006, total net migration decreased (blue graph line). This masks an important fact. We can divide net migration flows into two components, British citizens and non–British citizens. While the net migration of non–British did indeed decrease in 2005, it actually increased again in 2006. But since the British decreased much more than the non–British increased in that year (in thousands, 126 minus 89 = 37, compared with 316 minus 293 = 23), net migration continued to decrease.
Source: ONS, Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991–2006

 

A dissident view

Finally, we mention a dissident view of net international migration that comes from Ludi Simpson and colleagues at the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, Manchester University (R15). They used a different method from ONS to estimate net international migration in Great Britain. For the period 1991–2001 their estimate of total net international migration was considerably lower than the official ONS estimate. This would have a considerable effect on the total UK net international migration during this period that was documented in the table and graph at the beginning of the present sub–section.

In correspondence with us Simpson wrote about the TIM series of data — the official ONS data we have been using in the present subsection and he also referred to a paper by himself (R16) that he calls the 'EPA paper':
“Their TIM series is not consistent with their population estimate series. The difference is 'unattributed change' in their words (the EPA paper describes what is meant by unattributed change). The unattrributed change must be errors in the population estimates, or the migration series, or the births or the deaths. The errors must be in one or other of these, or a mixture of them, and add in net terms to the unattributed change. We accept ONS births and deaths and population estimates, and given that acceptance, the difference (Population change — (births–deaths) must be net migration. You could say that ONS do not fully accept their own migration, births, deaths and population estimates, because they are unwilling to name the unattributed change as migration (which we implicitly do, in our work)”.

We look, finally at the relative importance of natural increase and migration for UK population growth

Over the last 25 years, the contribution of natural increase to population growth, although varying, has been relatively constant. With international migration, the situation has been very different: “Between mid-1981 and mid-1986, the effect of net migration was to reduce the population slightly. This is in sharp contrast to recent years when net migration has been the predominant driver of population change. Between mid-2001 and mid-2006, net migration and other changes accounted for almost two-thirds of the 1.5 million growth in the UK population (not including the impact that net migration had upon the number of births in the UK)” (R17 p.15) .

We now look at the bracketed bit of the above quotation, and we will see that this means international migration has contributed significantly to population growth apart from its direct effect. The reason is that migration impacts both directly on population growth — net immigration numbers, and indirectly — through its effect on births.

Migration affects birth rates and hence population growth for two reasons. First, it is obvious that the age composition of immigrants is highly relevant to population growth. An immigrant flow of predominantly young and working age persons will tend to have more impact on population growth than an ageing population simply because it contains a greater proportion of breeding age and soon–to– be breeding age persons. Second, the impact of immigrants on population growth will depend on how many children they eventually have, on the fertility rate of the immigrant group.

What then do we know about these indirect effects?

As far as age composition is concerned, immigrants have a younger age profile than the resident population, around a half of international migrants are aged between 25 and 44, so they fall within the working and breeding age groups (R14). Now between mid–2005 and mid–2006 net international migration increased the number of births in 2006 by 7,400 solely because of the impact of immigration and emigration on the size and age structure of the UK population (R17). But this estimate makes the assumption that immigrants, emigrants and the UK population have the same fertility rate, which is not so as we will now see. But first, one complicating factor with age composition. Not all immigrants stay. We shall see in a later section that the extent that immigrants settle permanently affects the age structure of the population.

As far as births are concerned we note the following. In 2006, in England and Wales, the estimated fertility rate of women born outside the UK was much higher than that of UK born women: 2.5 compared with 1.7 for UK born women (R17). We will return to this subject in section 6.

3c). Effects of recent European enlargement.

In May 2004 ten countries joined the European Union (EU). These were the so-called 'A8' countries together with Cyprus and Malta . The A8 countries are:

  • Czech republic
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

This enlargement of the EU led to massive inflows of immigrants to the UK from the A8 countries, and received considerable attention in the media. For example, the Sunday Times stated in 2006 that the influx from the A8 during the preceeding two years had been estimated as 350,000 (Times Online May 14th 2006), and quoted Professor John Salt of University College London as saying “What we are seeing now...is something unprecedented”.

A major source of information about immigration from the A8 countries is the 'Worker Registration Scheme' (WRS) operated by the the Home Office (HO). Workers coming into the country are expected to register with this scheme. Data shows that from May 1st 2004 to the end of June 2006 there were 447,000 applications — a massive number. The Polish contingent was by far the largest national contingent, making up 62% of the applicants (R18).

It must be noted that we cannot equate number of applicants to the WRS to the number of immigrants from the A8 countries. In the first place, workers who are self–employed are not required to register with the WRS. Second, “..there may also be other workers from the accession countries who for or one reason or another do not register and are thus also not included in these (WRS) figures” (R18). Is this rather vague statement referring to illegal immigrants? Third, the WRS data “...they give no clue to the duration of stay in the UK.. ...” (R19).

Here are some details of applicants approved from May 2004 to early 2009.

Total Approved Applicants from A8 countries, by quarter years.

applicants approved
Source: Home Office. Access Monitoring Reports.

We see that the number of approved applicants fell gradually in 2008 and continued to fall in the first quarter of 2009, mirroring in general terms the economic downturn.

(suggesting that the total inflow to the UK from the A8 countries has recently decreased). Whether or not the decrease will continue is unknown, but Danny Sriskandarajah, head of migration at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), said “Migration from Poland is very unlikely to continue at the levels we have seen in the first few years we have seen after enlargement. It has always been a question of when these flows started drying up, rather than whether they would”.

Some other estimates of numbers.

Two other important sources of information about numbers of immigrants from the A8 countries are the International Passenger Survey and the Labour force survey. For details of inflows from these sources see R19 and R20. We simply note here that the IPPR, on the basis of all available sources of information concluded that since 2004 around one million migrant workers came to Britiain from A8 countries (R20). And finally In November 2007 the ONS released some detailed information on A8 migration.
“Immigration of A8 citizens staying for at least a year increased from 76,000 in 2005 to 92,000 in 2006....Emigration by A8 citizens increased from 15,000 to 22,000. This resulted in long–term net A8 immigration of 71,000 in 2006, an increase of 10,000 from 2005”. (R21). We now look at this emigration.

 

A8 Countries. Migration to (inflow) and from (outflow) the UK

Migration flows (thousands)
Year Inflow Outflow Balance
2004 53 3 49
2005 76 15 61
2006 92 22 71
2007 112 25 87
graph of the migration

In–migration and out–migration. To understand the long term impact of recent immigration from the A8 countries on UK population growth it is clearly then necessary to consider not only the migration to the UK (in–migration) but also any subsequent emigration from the UK (out–migration, principally return migration to country of origin). UK Home Office estimated before the accession of the ten new EU member that, on average 35 per cent of migrants would return home after the first year. But it was later estimated that on average 60 per cent of migrants from the new accession states returned home after the first year (R22). Now the report from the IPPR mentioned above concludes that about a half of the persons immigrating from the A8 countries since EU enlargement in 2004 have already returned home.

We will return to the question of migration flows between the A8 states and Britain later in section 6f.

The massive media attention to the flows of persons from the A8 countries should not however be allowed to obscure the fact that much larger net inflows in recent years seem to have been from New Commonwealth Countries (Indian sub–continent countries, former British Africa and Caribbean territories (R23).

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4) Projections of future population growth and net immigration

A preliminary note on the nature of projections. One can never know exactly how many people there were in the UK in past years. But the population can be estimated. As far as future populations are concerned, it is possible to estimate what the population size will be (or the net migration will be) if we make any particular set of assumptions about natural increase (fertility and mortality) and migration. But one can make many such estimates, since one can make various alternative assumptions. Every second year a set of projections has been made by the Government Actuary's Department , and more recently by the National Statistics Centre for Demography within the Office of National Statistics: the Principal Projection and Variant Projections. The following account is based on the Principal Projection. A note on the variant projections will be found at the end.

Strictly speaking, a projection is a set of calculations which show how a population will develop when certain assumptions about the future course of fertility, mortality and migration are made. A forecast, on the other hand, is a projection in which assumptions are chosen which it is thought will yield a realistic picture of the probable future development of the population (R24). However, government will use projections in its planning, so the makers of projections “must accept the responsibility that (the projections) will be used as forecasts” (R25).

It is important to realize the limitations of medium term (such as up to say 2030 in the present case), and especially long term, population projections. As one demographer noted in 1981, we can think of useable forecasts for the next five to 20 years, but virtually no information at all on populations 100 years hence (R26).

The latest population projections. The following box summarises the latest (2006–based) principal projections for the UK as a whole and England.

2006–based projections

Population Projections 2006–based (thousands)
Year UK England Year UK England
2006 60,587 50,763 2046 75,810 65,075
2011 62,761 52,706 2051 77,236 66,519
2016 64,975 54,724 2056 78,564 67,885
2021 67,191 56,757 2061 79,831 69,200
2026 69,260 58,682 2066 81,119 70,532
2031 71,100 60,432 2071 82,478 71,923
2036 72,747 62,033 2076 83,878 73,350
2041 74.306 63.571 2081 85.252 74.753
 
projections 2006-based
Source . 2006-based Population Projections http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/NPP-2006/NPP06_NSOnline.pdf

The population of the UK is projected to rise from 60.6 million in 2006 to 69.3 million in 2026, an increase of 8.7 million — more than the present population size of London (7.5 million), the most populous UK city. But between 2006 and 2081, the population is projected to rise by 24.7 million — over three times the London population.
To put it another way, the UK population will increase by the present London population size, on average each 23 years. Such a population growth has serious implications for the loss of green land to housing and related infrastructure.

The assumed levels of net international migration

It is assumed that the annual level of net international migration will decrease from the exceptionally high number in 2004, 223,000, to a long term annual number of 190,000, as follows:
Annual averages (thousands): 2006–2011: 220,000; 2011–2016: 193,000; 2016 onwards: 190,000.

To try to grasp the signifcance of 190,000, we take the current population size of one UK major city, Sheffield, namely about 526,000. It will take less than three years for net immigration to add to the UK population as many people as now are found in Sheffield.

But international migration will cause the population of the UK to increase even more than the net international immigration figure

As explained in section 3, the two determinants of population increase, natural increase (births minus deaths) and immigration are not independent of each other. And they interact in the 2006–based projections because the number of future births and deaths is influenced by net immigration. The key fact here is that migrants are concentrated at young adult ages, so the assumed level of migration affects the number of women of child bearing ages and hence the future number of births.

Considering the period 2006 to 2031, population growth can be ascribed to the components in the following table.

Directly attributed to net immigration Attributed to natural increase in the absence of net immigration Attributed to the effect of net immigration on natural change
46.7% 30.6% 22.7%
Source: Bray, H. (2008). 2006–based national population projections for the UK and constituent countries. PT 131: 8–18

 

So net immigration, directly and indirectly is projected to cause 46.7 + 22.7 = 69.4% of future population growth, or roughly 70%.

 

Uncertainties about future migration

The above projections conceal very real uncertainties about the future, to which we now turn.

Migration to and from the A8 accession states

It seems that inflows of persons from the A8 European countries are slowing down. Further, it has been estimated that on average 60 per cent of migrants from the new accession states returned home after the first year, as we mentioned earlier in the previous section. But how will these migration flows change in the future?

What are the intentions of immigrants from the new EU accession states on the question of return migration? At the time of arrival, most immigrants are stated to be not intending to stay permanantly in the UK. But researchers in a recent study conclude that, “as may be expected, some migrants who initially intended a temporary stay have decided to stay permanently, typically because they are in employment and economically successful in the UK” (R27).

A survey on legal job migrations from Poland to Great Britain carried out in a study by the Center for International Relations, Warsaw, Poland (CIR), founds that 51 % of respondents in Britain answered that they wanted to return to Poland, while 23% answered that they were not intending to return. But the study cautions that:
“ further analysis of the time horizon for such returns, as well as the qualitative material gathered in the survey, are not indicative of a high level of certainty about their coming back, and, if so, such returns should rather be expected over a longer time horizon” (R28).

Four factors will influence the extent of return migration to Poland and other accession countries, and also the continued flow from these countries to the UK: the extent that the economies of these countries improve, competition for skilled workers throughout the EU and indeed the whole of the developed world, low birth rates in the accession countries, and consequently a reduction in the pool of potential migrants and the devaluation of the Pound Sterling.

Economic growth in Accession states.

A 2007 report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research, London (CEBR) said that the accession member states were experiencing a period of economic growth that is improving wages and living standards. Therefore, the report concludes, there will be less incentive to emigrate to the UK (R22 — see also R20).

Competition for skilled workers.

As for competition between EU member states, another report from the CIR notes:
“There is no doubt that the Central European countries which for demographic reasons are for the moment a reservoir of labour force doing jobs requiring low or mid qualifications in EU 15 in a near future will need people to work. 2006 was the first year in which we noted shortages of labour force in many sectors despite high unemployment rate. These shortages in future will increase”. The report also speaks of measures that must be taken in this regard in Poland “In order not to fight a losing battle in the common European quest for legal labour force, both low and high qualified,...” (R29).

Birth rates.

The proportion of the population in the age groups 15–24 is shrinking in the new member states, and it is just these age groups that have been especially involved in migration to Britain. “As a result, the pool of people likely to migrate to the UK is getting smaller and is set to continue to do so in the coming years” (R20).

Devaluation of the Pound

The UK's currency has significantly weakened against the currencies of the new member states, and this reduces the value of remittances sent to the home countries, thus making the UK a less attractive migration destination (R20).

Emigration from the developing world

We just here highlight what is potentially the greatest driver of out-migration (emigration) in the poor countries of the world. Rising food prices, caused by rising global food shortages, in turn caused by various factors but perhaps, over the long term, most significantly by climate change and continued population growth, are already causing conflict in many countries especially those that lie in the world's equatorial zone — see for example “The new face of hunger” The Economist, briefing April 17th 20008). While some of this migration will be absorbed by other so–called developing countries, there is bound to be an overspill towards the developed world, and so to the European Union and the UK.

Variation of fertility rate between ethnic groups

In a later section (6c) we will look at the fertility rate of different ethnic groups. As these groups have now grown in size significantly in the last few decades in the UK, their fertility and how it changes, will have increasingly important repercussions on UK population growth. Some groups have a significantly higher fertility rate than the presently still dominant White: British group. While it is generally thought that the fertilities of ethnic groups will converge towards that of the UK mean, there is uncertainty as to the speed of this convergence.

A NOTE ON VARIANT PROJECTIONS

We explained at the beginning of this section, that any projection is based on a set of assumptions concerning future fertility, mortality and migration. A variant projection then is variant because it is based on a different set of these assumptions. We can say that these variant projections give us different future scenarios. It is important to realise that variant projections do not, and are not intended to, provide upper and lower limits to future population growth or of the changes in the two components of this growth, namely natural change and migration. Indeed, the actual method used in making the projections are not of the type that allows the production of probability statements or confidence limits that can be produced with many statistical calculations (R28). Details of the variant projections are given in the ONS publication series PP2, National Population Projections, and in less detail in the ONS publication series Population Trends.

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5) Recent past projections: net immigration as a driving force underestimated

The Government Actuary's Department has made a new set of projections every two years (this task has now been taken over by the Office of National Statistics) and in this section we look at recent past projections. Before we do so, however, it is important to note the effect of the 2001 census on population estimates.

Projections in the decade before the 2001 census had been based on the previous, 1991, census. These projections each started with the estimated then current population size (called the base population). The 2001 census provided a means to check the estimated then current (2001) population size. The result showed that this had been significantly over–estimated in past projections. The reason stated was that past net migration (balance of gross immigration and gross emigration) had been overestimated (R28). It was initially concluded that this over-estimation of past net migration was caused by an underestimation of past gross emigration. Some revisions have subsequently been made. Census methodology and analysis of results came in for considerable criticism, which we recorded in the version of this page before our 2004 revision of same ( now archived as item (b) on the archive page). Readers might also like to read a recent and comprehensive review of census population estimates by Ludi Simpson of the Cathie Marsh Centre, Manchester University (R16).

We now turn to the post 2001 census population estimates, namely the 2002–based and 2004–based projections, and compare these with the 2006–based projection we have already examined.

Post 2001 Census population projections.

How did the 2002–based projection compare to the pre–census 2000–based projection? Not surprisingly in view of what we have just noted about the 2001 census, the 2002–based projection for early years was lower than those of the pre–census projection. For example, for the year 2006 we have (thousands) 2000–based: 60,946; 2002–based: 59,995.
However, by 2051, the 2002–based projection estimate was larger than the 2000–based: 2000–based: 65,354; 2002–based: 65,440. And the gap between the two estimates widened progressively after 2051.

When we look at the two later projections (2004–based and 2006–based), we find that each increases population growth above the previous projection:

With the 2004–based projection, the main reason for the increase was increase in assumptions about future migration, although in the long term a reduction in mortality assumptions becomes increasingly important. With the new 2006–based projection, the increase is ascribed (in order of decreasing significance) to more births, more migrants and fewer deaths.

Finally, we would like to draw attention to one feature of projections we have not so far dealt with. In projections made in the 1990s before the 1996–based set, it was assumed that net international migration would tail off to zero in the long term. But starting with the 1996–based projections, this assumption has been dropped and replaced by the assumption that net international immigration would after a few years level off to a constant level in later years. This level is currently set at 190,000 per year, a little under the estimated net flow for 2006 (191 thousand). What are the reasons given by ONS for this constant level assumption? These appears to be merely that it is extremely difficult to predict changes in migration more than a few years ahead and that this assumption is normally made internationally ( for example, R30 page 19 left. See also ONS(1999) National Population Projections PP2 no. 21 1996-based national population projections).

These seem to us to be rather weak reasons. First, ONS makes projections for several decades later, so why not several decades for migration? If one has to choose a long term level, would it not be better to use the long term upward trend for guidance, rather than assuming net migration will soon settle to a constant annual level? Second, just because this assumption is normally made internationally, does not mean that the assumption is correct, or that UK circumstances are similar to circumstances in other countries.

We wish to emphasise that the 'push' and 'pull' factors for emigration from developing countries and conflict torn countries to developed countries that have been in operation for a long time, now aggravated by increasing wealth disparities between developed and developing countries and continued massive population growth in developing countries where levels of real poverty remain high, combined with government inability to control illegal immigration, let alone get a decent estimate of the extent of same, would suggest that net international migration may continue to increase for some years to come in the absence of government adopting firm immigration reduction measures (unlikely, we think).

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6). Population growth and migration in terms of nation of origin and ethnicity

It would be nice if there were available reliable and up–to–date statistics on birth, death, and migration trends in all ethnic groups over the last 50 years in the UK and constituent countries — there should be and could have been —but they are not. Nevertheless, the data that is available enables us to get a general picture of the present situation and how it has developed over the years

6a). Today's population

The following histogram shows the estimated sizes of ethnic groups in England in 2005, using the 2001 census classification of ethnic groups.

Ethnic Minority Group Numbers 2005 (thousands)

Group Number   Group Number
1 42,753   9 826
2 592   10 324
3 1,623   11 310
4 266   12 590
5 101   13 659
6 233   14 110
7 191   15 347
8 1,215   16 325
histogram of foreign born populations
1 White: British 5 Mixed: White and Black African 9 Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 13 Black or Black British: African
2 White: Irish 6 Mixed: White and Asian 10 Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 14 Black or Black British: Other Black
3 White: Other 7 Mixed: Other Mixed 11 Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 15 Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Chinese
4 Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 8 Asian or Asian British: Indian 12 Black or Black British: Caribbean 16 Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Other
Source: REF. ONS. Population Estimates by Ethnic Group: 2001 to 2005. Commentary. Table 1.
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/PEEGcommentary.pdf

We see then that, in decreasing size order, the largest minority groups are Other White, Indian, Pakistani, African, followed closely by Irish and Caribbean.

6b). Population growth of ethnic groups in the past

Great Britain
In Great Britain prior to the twentieth century, although there had occasionally been substantial inflows of persons from other countries, no substantial ethnic minority populations with new languages, religion, or way of life were established. This changed in the twentieth century, especially after the second world war. “The arrival after the 1940s of large numbers of immigrants from Third World countries with populations which differed sharply by colour and race and (with the exception of the West Indians) by language and religion as well, was a break with the past” (R31 p. 475.).

Since the second world war the transformation of the ethnic composition began with major influxes of people: first came West Indians (1950s), then Indians, then Pakistanis (1960s) later still people from Bangladesh. With the African population, communities were established in seaports in the late 1940s onwards, but substantial inflows came later partly resulting from political instability in Africa in the 1970s (R32, R33). It continued through further immigration, and the high fertility of some ethnic groups that we explore in sub–section 8c below. The consequence has been that “because of high fertility and continued immigration, New Commonwealth minority populations have increased rapidly from negligible numbers in 1945 to about 2.5 million in 1987... This represents an annual growth rate of about 5.2 per cent from 1971 to 1987” (R31 p. 501).

If we consider just the 1990s, the total population grew by 4 per cent.
But if population is disaggregated by ethnic group, it can be seen that 73 per cent of this total GB population growth came from the growth of the non–white populations. “The increase in the numbers of people from different ethnic backgrounds and countries is one of the most significant changes in Britain since the 1991 Census” (R34 p.2). We return to the subject of ethnic group immigration in sub–section 8f below.

England.
The majority of the ethnic minority population lives in England, and between 1981 and 2001, this population grew massively compared with the White population:

England. Population size in millions and Percentage Change
Ethnic group 1981 1991 2001 %Change
1981–1991
%Change
1991–2001
White 44682 44848 44925 0.4% 0.2%
All Ethnic Minorities 2152 3028 4213 40.7% 39.1%
While the total population in the UK/England has grown considerably in recent decades, the rate of growth of the total ethnic minority population has been much greater. The table here shows data for England (where most of the ethnic minority population resides).
Source: Based on Rees and Parsons 2006. Socio–economic scenarios for children to 2020 table 15 .
Joseph Rowntree Foundation

 

We now look at recent changes in England, base on 'experimental statistics' (see appendix).

England: Estimated mid–year population numbers of ethnic groups (thousands)
Group 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
White: British 42925.8 42867.9 42805.1 42756.2 42752.6
White: Irish 628.8 619.9 611.1 601.9 592.0
White: Other 1342.3 1396.6 1447.9 1514.1 1623.2
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 234.4 242.1 250.0 258.1 266.3
Mixed: White and Black African 78.3 83.5 89.4 95.3 101.4
Mixed: White and Asian 187.2 197.6 208.7 219.9 233.1
Mixed: Other Mixed 154.3 162.5 171.3 180.5 190.6
Asian or Asian British: Indian 1045.6 1074.7 1109.1 1156.0 1215.4
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 720.0 742.1 764.0 795.1 825.5
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 281.5 291.6 302.1 313.1 324.3
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 243.8 259.9 275.8 291.0 309.7
Black or Black British: Black Caribbean 569.8 574.5 581.0 586.5 590.4
Black or Black British: African 491.1 532.2 578.6 620.5 658.5
Black or Black British: Other Black 97.4 100.2 103.7 107.0 110.4
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Chinese 227.0 255.3 285.8 315.0 347.0
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Other 222.4 251.8 282.7 300.7 325.2
Total all Non–White British groups 6523.9 6784.5 7061.2 7354.7 7713.0
Total all Non–White groups 4552.8 4768.0 5002.2 5238.7 5497.8
ALL groups 49449.7 49652.3 49866.2 50110.7 50465.6
 
Source: REF. ONS. Population Estimates by Ethnic Group: 2001 to 2005: Commentary. Table 1. Experimental Statistics.
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/PEEGcommentary.pdf

 

What stands our most from the above table are:
1) As Karen Dunnell pointed out: “The latest experimental population estimates by ethnic group for England indicate that between mid–2001 and mid–2005 the population belonging to non–white ethnic groups increased by 945,000, accounting for almost 11 per cent of the English population in mid–2005” (R35 p. 14). See the above table, penultimate row, 945,000 = 5498 – 4553).
2) During the whole period, the White: British group decreased massively. The only other group that decreased was the small White: Irish group. All the other groups increased, in most cases massively, the largest increase being in the African group. And the African group also had the largest average annual growth rate of the major sized groups. Considering all groups that grew in size during the period, the Chinese group had the highest avarage annual growth rate (11.2 %), the Caribbean the lowest (0.9 %).
3) With all groups that increased during the period, the increase took place throughout the period, that is, there was an upward trend with each group.

There is just one caveat about the above conclusions, and that concerns the White: Irish group, for there is considerable doubt about its size in 2001(R33).

The following graphs illustrate the growth of the largest ethnic minority groups.

The following graphs show population growth for the period 2001–2005 for the present largest census category ethnic minority populations that are growing in size. These are, in decreasing 2005 size, Other White; Indian; Pakistani; Black African; Black Caribbean (the White: Irish population fits in size between Black African and Black Caribbean groups, but its population is apparently decreasing.
Beneath the graphs are the percentage increases in the corresponding populations. The graphs and percentages are based on the figures given in the above table.
White Other group Indian group Pakistani group
21 % 16 % 15 %
African group Caribbean group  
34 % 4 %  
Source: The data in the preceeding table, taken from .
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/PEEGcommentary.pdf

 

6c. Fertility of ethnic groups

We give below estimates for England of total fertility rates 2003–2004 from the so-called 'experimental statstics' of the ONS (see the appendix to this page for details of the method).

A word first about the black rectangles on the top of the columns. These increases in fertility rate derive from improvements in fertility estimation methodology (“Population estimates by Ethnic Group: 2001 to 2004: Commentary”, accessed from R36).

We see that the fertility rates of all three white groups are way below the replacement level of roughly 2.1. The ethnic minority fertility rates vary considerably. Some have a fertility rate below replacement level, like the white groups. The lowest rate is for the Chinese group. Some have a fertility rate above replacement level, sometimes greatly in excess of that level. The highest rate was for the Pakistani group, closely followed by the Bangladeshi group. The Indian group is estimated to have a below replacement fertility level, although an earlier study suggested that this group had a fertility rate a little above replacement level (37). This same earlier study also reported on attitudes to family size. The family size preferences of Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups were higher than the prefered family size of the long-term indigenous population (which were mainly the White: British group).

England. Estimated Fertility of Ethnic Groups 2003 and 2004

2004 data
Group TFR   Group TFR
1 1.74   9 2.53
2 1.69   10 2.45
3 1.66   11 2.10
4 1.93   12 1.77
5 2.13   13 2.26
6 1.62   14 1.72
7 1.68   15 1.42
8 1.62   16 1.67
1histogram
 
Colour Key. Original Estimates for 2003: red, green, purple, ochre, blue, grey. Increases for 2004: black
Ethnic group KEY

'ALL': All people
1: White: British
2: White: Irish
3: White: Other White
4: Mixed: White and Black Caribbean
5: Mixed: White and Black African
6: Mixed: White and Asian
7: Mixed: Other Mixed
8: Asian or Asian British: Indian

9: Asian or Asian British: Pakistani
10: Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi
11: Asian or Asian British: Other Asian
12: Black or Black British: Caribbean
13: Black or Black British: African
14: Black or Black British: Other Black
15:Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Chinese
16: Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Other
Ethnic Group
 
The ethnic classification is the one used in the 2001 Census
 

Data sources for the histogram. 2003 estimates: Large, P. and Ghosh, K. (2006). “Estimates of the population by ethnic group for areas within England”. Population Trends 124, ONS.
2004 estimates: Data kindly supplied to us by P. Large. All the data comes from 'experimental statistics' which have significant methodological limitations (see Appendix).
 

Now the same authors, using the same methodology as used for 2003 above, published fertility estimates for 2001 (R38).
The pattern of difference between ethnic groups there is the same as that for 2003 and 2004. But the actual value for each group is lower. This implies a rise in fertility of groups between 2001 and 2003.

6d). Age composition of ethnic group populations.

England. Percentage Age Composition of Ethnic groups 2004

Females. 15–44 age groups as % of total number for group, mid–2004
Group %   Group %
1 39   9 52
2 31   10 53
3 58   11 53
4 44   12 51
5 47   13 60
6 45   14 56
7 48   15 64
8 53   16 63
histogram
 
  Colour Key. Red: All groups. AGE GROUPS: ochre: 0–15; blue: 16–64/59; grey: 65/60+
The table is based on data in “Population estimates by ethnic group 2001–2004” Table “EE4: Estimated resident population by ethnic group, age and sex, mid–2004 (experimental statistics)”. ONS The histogram is based on data in “Population estimates by ethnic group 2001–2004” Table “EE2: Estimated resident population by ethnic group, age and sex, mid–2004 (experimental statistics)”. ONS

Turning to age structure in 2004 (the histogram above) we look first at the young age groups (0–15 years). What stands out most is the relatively high percentage of the population in these age groups in all the Mixed ethnic groups. All the Asian groups have a higher proportion of their populations in these age groups compared with the White groups, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups a much higher proportion. We note that the Pakistani group has the second largest total population of the non-White groups, much larger than any of the Mixed groups, so its relatively young age structure has obvious implications for the future changes in the ethnic composition of England. Now it is worth noting that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are predominantly Muslim peoples, and we see the significance of religion in the next sub-section.

With the working age groups (16-64/59), there is considerable variation between non–White ethnic groups. However, the the Mixed groups all have a lower percentage than the White: British, while the Black Caribbean, Black African and especially the Chinese: Chinese and the Chinese: Other have a much larger percentage. Of particular interest for future changes in ethnic composition in England are the percentages in what we may term the 'breeding age groups'. For present purposes we will take these to include the 15–19 age group through to and including the 40–44 age group (table above for mid–2004). Just considering females (only females produce offspring!) we see that apart from the White: Irish group, all the other ethnic groups have a higher proportion than the White: British, usually a much higher proportion.

Considering the older age groups (65/60+), the White: British has the largest percentage of its population in these groups than any other group apart from the White: Irish group. In terms of larger group categories (White, Mixed, Asian, Chinese and other) the Mixed group stands out as having the lowest percentage of its population in this age group.

A good way to conceptualize the variation of age structure between populations is to construct what are termed 'age pyramids'. We would prefer the term age profiles since the shapes of some 'pyramids' are decidedly not what one expects of a pyramid! The following diagram shows variation in age profiles. The vertical axis shows age and the horixontal axis shows the proportion of the population that is in each age category. Colour key for the age groups. Green: Pre–working age groups. Orange: working age groups. Grey: post–working age groups. Notice the left-right (make–female) profile asymmetry. This is because women tend to live longer than men.

young intermediate old
YOUNG. Each successive age group (from 0–4 to 85+ is smaller than the preceding age group. The working age group (shown in orange) has to provide for a comparatively large population of children. However children can help their parents in growing food, collecting firewood, etc. INTERMEDIATE. The age pyramid is dominated by the working age groups. Given appropriate conditions (low unemployment etc.) the working age population is potentially well able to support the old and the young. OLD. Now the pyramid is almost rectangular in shape. The working age population needs to support a large population of older people.
SOURCE: Our essay “the demographic dividend” accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page of our web site.

Actual age profiles of different ethnic groups have been prepared, apart from the 'mixed' and 'other' groups, whose populations are very heterogeneous (R39).
The Pakistani and Bangladeshi profiles are of the form of the 'young' profile on the left in the above diagram. The population that best approaches the 'old' population profile on the right is the White : British. The White: Irish profile has a peculiar shape, with a decided outward bulge for the age groups of about 20 to 80, with a maximum width for the age groups 50 to 70, so like the White: British, a greater proportion of the population is towards the apex of the profile. The other groups are more like the intermediate profile above, although each has its own distinctive shape.

Finally, what about the profiles of immigrant groups, that is, the first generation of the immigrants in Britain? Well: “Migrants have a younger age profile than the resident population, around a half of international migrants are aged between 25 and 44” (R5), so they fall within the working and breeding age groups. And the Home Office report on workers from the 10 countries that joined the EU since May 2004 states that the majority are young, between the ages of 18 and 34. But 94% of these workers stated that they had no dependants living with them (R40).

6e). Religion

A government article (R41) states:
“Families headed by a Muslim are more likely than other families to have children living with them. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) had at least one dependent child in the family in 2001, compared with two fifths of Jewish (41 per cent) and Christian (40 per cent) families. Muslim families also had the largest number of children. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of Muslim families had three or more dependent children, compared with 14 per cent of Sikh, 8 per cent of Hindu, and 7 per cent of Christian families” (our bold text).

The article goes on the say that while the larger proportion of families with children and larger family sizes partly reflects the younger age structure of the Muslim population (see also R42), it may also reflect the intention of Muslims to have larger families (our bold text). Noting that many Muslims have a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background, the article says that these ethnic groups intend to have on average three children, while the White population intend two.

The 2006 ONS report “Focus on Eethnicity and Religion”, reiterates the idea that Muslims tend to have larger families, but it takes the analysis a step furtheer. It notes that differences between religious groups are highly correlated with ethnicity. However, ethnicity does not explain fully the differences between religious groups. “Religion can exert a strong influence, sometimes being more important than ethnic group in determining household characterisitcs. For example, in all ethnic groups, Muslims tended to have larger average household sizes and a greater number of dependent children” (our bold text) (R43).

Now Eric Kaufmann of Birkbeck College, University of London has been studying secularisation in Europe (R38). He notes that religious people tend to have a higher fertility than non-religious people. And in an analysis of data from ten west European countries for the period 1981–2004, Kaufmann found that next to age and marital status, it was a woman's 'religiosity' (it would be better we think to use the less judgemental term 'strength of religious affiliation') that was the strongest predictor of the number of offspring she produced, and he states that many other studies have reached the same conclusion. He also argues that immigrants into Europe tend to be more religious than the host population and he states that several other studies have drawn this conclusion. Moreover, there seems to be little or no decline in 'religiosity' between immigrants and their first and second generation descendants, especially with Muslims.

As far as the native Christian population is concerned, secularisation seems to be levelling out. Turning from the Christian population to the overall religious population, Kaufmann argues that there will be a growing religious population well before 2050. This will be through a virtual cessation of apostasy from religion among those born after 1945, Muslim immigration and retention between generations of their 'religiosity', the fertility difference between secular and religious populations, and finally, females are over–represented among those under 45 who remain religious.

6f). Past international migration of ethnic groups

Introduction

“Modest migration has always been a feature of Great Britain, but much of the ethnic and religious diversity of the current population is a result of large scale migration from the 1950s onwards. Early immigration waves included economic migrants from Ireland, the Caribbean and India, followed by migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh, their wives and dependants. Since the 1980s migration from Africa and China has increased and has included students and asylum–seekers, as well as economic migrants” (R33 page 20).

Migrants from Ireland have been coming to Britain for a long time, but this immigration increased in the 1930s to 1961, then increased again in the 1980s onwards.
Until the 1950's there were few people in Great Britain from the Caribbean and South Asia. But in the 1950s this changed — there was mass immigration from these areas. The massive net Black Caribbean migration took place in the 1950s and 1960s and came to an end after 1974, but immigration from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh continued at a reduced rate. The peak flows of the countries involved came in the following order. First Black Caribbean migration, second, Indian migration, and finally, Pakistani and Bangladeshi migration. As regards the latter two nations, mass immigration from Pakistan occurred in the 1960s and continued throught the 1970s and 1980s (driven by family reunion). Immigration from the region that is now Bangladesh began before the 1960s, but it increased after the Pakistan nation was formed in 1971 as a split–nation from Pakistan.
One more nation should be mentioned, namely, China. Migration from mainland China started in the late 19th century but increased from the 1980s onwards (with many people coming from China to study), and there has also been immigration from Hong Kong (R31, R44, R33).

Inflows (gross immigration)

Available data allows us to classify immigrants in a variety of ways, each giving us insight into the ethnic composition of immigration flows. One way that is very relevant to current concerns about cultural change is to divide immigrants into those from European nations (i.e. countries with a relatively similar cultural heritage) and non-European nations (that usually have a cultural heritage very different from the European). With this classification, and around the year 2000, nearly 66 per cent of immigrants to Britian were from non-European countries. This, bearing in mind the large size of immigrant flows, presages massive cultural change . Britain is not alone in Europe in experiencing this large inflow of non-Europeans. With the Netherlands it was 62 per cent, and with France, 59 per cent (R45).

Some data is now available for a sub–division of the European: non–European level classification, i.e. to the country of origin level. This data was obtained in the UK parliament by Mr. James Clappison MP (question tabled 7th January 2008, answered from the Office of the National Statistician 18th February 2008). Parliamentary questions and answers may be viewed by going to the Parliament web site (http://www.parliament.uk/) then browsing in Hansard).

The data was only from the main source of information on immigration, the International Passenger Survey, so does not include some categories of immigrants such as asylum seekers. Nevertheless, it suggests the general way that national immigration flows have been changing over the years. Here we give information about the countries that contributed the most immigrants in each 2 year period.

Top 10 citizenships migrating to the UK
1997–98   1999–2000   2001–02   2003–04   2005–06
1 British   1 British   1 British   1 British   1 British
2 Australia   2 Australia   2 Australia   2 India   2 Poland
3 France   3 USA   3 China   3 China   3 India
4 USA   4 China   4 India    4 South Africa   4 Pakistan
5 Greece   5 France   5 South Africa   5 Australia   5 Australia
6 New Zealand   6 India   6 Phillippines   6 Pakistan   6 China
7 Germany   7 South Africa   7 USA   7 France   7 South Africa
8 South Africa   8 New Zealand   8 Germany   8 USA   8 USA
9 India   9 Germany   9 France   9 Phillipines   9 Germany
10 Malaysia   10 Pakistan   10 New Zealand   10 Poland   10 New Zealand

What stands out most from the trends across the whole period is the change from the situation where most immigrants came from countries with predominantly a white population, to the situation where there is a very significant contribution from countries that have a predominantly non-white population, certain Asian countries. Also noteworthy at this stage is the new entry into the upper reaches of the top ten in the final two year period — Poland. The Times Online May 14th 2006 article we mentioned earlier quoted Professor David Coleman of Oxford University as saying “From one country in a very short space of time, it must be the largest influx we have ever seen” and quoted Professor John Salt of University College London as saying “What we are seeing now...is something unprecedented”.

Duration of stay of immigrants. Do they usually stay permanently?

Rendall and Ball (R46) studied migration streams in the 1980s and 1990s. They found there was considerable complexity not only in the composition of migration streams in terms of nation of origin of immigrants and the date of their arrival, but also in the extent that immigrants remained in the UK. We focus here on short term immigration and nation of origin.

The report shows that short–term immigration is commoner for people from some countries than for others. A rough generalization is expressed by the reports authors in terms of wealth: short term immigration is more associated with higher–income countries than with low–income countries.

Immigrants from the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA have relatively high rates of subsequent emigration, over 50 per cent emigrating again within five years. These are the higher–income countries. In contrast, lower–income countries have a lower rate of subsequent emigration, well under twenty per cent for the Indian sub–continent. Rendall and Salt (R47) confirm the general difference between higher and lower–income countries. What Rendall and Ball's report does not draw our attention to however, is the long term consequences in terms of changing ethnic composition of our population. For instead of talking in terms of income, we can talk in terms of ethnic groups and re–phrase the authors conclusion: Return migration is commonest with people who originated in countries where White ethnic groups predominate, groups all of which have their cultural roots in Europe. In contrast, migrants from the Indian sub–continent have a greater tendency to stay in the UK, and they belong to non-White ethnic groups. These results have clear implications for the changing relative size in the UK of groups with a European heritage and groups with a non-European heritage.

Now it seems as if migration between the UK and Poland is coming to conform to this generalisation (see Section 4 for changes taking place).

Now duration of stay of immigrants affects the age structure of the foreign-born population, affects the old–age dependency ratio, that is the the ratio of people of pensionable age to people of working age. Immigrants are usually relatively young when they arrive. So a consequence of shorter length of stay is the greater youth of the foreign born population. “To have an older immigrant population requires both that immigrants settle and that they arrived a relatively long time ago” . The lowest old–age dependency ratios occur with groups characterised with shorter patterns of stay (Oceania and to a lesser extent North America), and groups where immigration has been more recent (most notably Africa but also the Far East).This relationship between duration of stay and the degree of youthfullness of the foreign born population is clearly relevant to fertility differences between ethnic groups (R47).

Now duration of stay affects total net migration, to which we now turn.

Net migration

An insight into net migration comes from information on the populations of foreign born members of the population, for these populations are likely to be the pricipal cause of the volume of net migration. Here is information for Great Britain around AD 2000.

Great Britain Foreign Born Population (15 years old +) around AD 2000

Region of Origin Numbers (thousands)
Africa (AF) 762.6
Asia (AS) 1,475.4
Latin America (LA) 324.1
North America (NA) 193.3
Oceania (OC) 156.8
EU15 1,183.1
EU A10 202.6
Other Europe (OE) 166.1
Unspecified (UN) 39.5
histogram of foreign born populations
Source of data used: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) (2008)
“A profile of immigrant populations in the 21st Century”. Table 0.1. Copyright OECD.

What stands out most is the very large population of Asian persons, and the nearly as large population of members of the EU15.

Finally, information on births to mothers who were born outside the UK gives another insight into immigrant flows. In 2006, 22 per cent of all births in England and Wales were to mothers born outside the UK. This is the highest proportion since registration of parents' country of birth at birth registration was introduced in 1969. Further, from 1969 to around 1990, the annual percentage was always roughly around 13 per cent. But about 1990 an upward trend developed. So the high value in 2006 has been reached in less than 20 years (R48).

Data is available to allow a comparison of migration trends of British versus non-British persons, a comparison we also looked into earlier (section 3b) where we saw that net migration since 2001 has two contrasting components the British and non-British. Now in the following we extend the time period backwards to 1993.

UK: Net migrant flows, British and Non–British, 1993–2006 (thousands)
Year 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
British –62 –16 –51 –62 –59 –22 –24
Non–British +62 +94 +127 +116 +107 +162 +187
All citizenships –1 +77 +76 +55 +48 +140 +163
Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
British –62 –48 –87 –91 –107 –89 –126
Non–British +220 +221 +242 +238 +351 +293 +316
All citizenships +158 +173 +154 +147 +244 +204 +191
Source: Source: ONS, Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991-2006

There has been a net outflow of British citizens, and a net inflow of non-British citizens throughout the period from 1993 onwards. But there has been a net gain of population through migration throughout this period (except for 1993). The flows of both groups have generally been substantial. Further, the flows show clear trends - increasing net immigration of non-British and increasing net emigration of British citizens.

Actually the net inflow of non-British and net outflow of British citizens did not begin in the early 1990s. There was in fact a net inflow of non-British citizens in every year from 1981 onwards. With British citizens there was a net outflow in every year in the 1980s except for 1985 (R49). So the net outflow of British and the net inflow of non-British citizens has been a feature of UK population change for a long time.

All this suggests that in terms of actual ethnic groups (as defined for the census), there has been a massive net outflow from the largest ethnic category, namely the White: British and a large net inflow of ethnic minority persons, but the data just reviewed does not allow us to go further in terms of ethnicity

So we turn now to a standard official classification of citizenship used in migration statistics: British, European Union (recently also divided into EU 15 and EUA8), Old Commonwealth, New Commonwealth and 'Other Foreign'. The following graphs summarise the situation for main categories for 2004, 2005, and 2006 (the latest year for which figures are available). As an illustration of the figures used we give the data for 2006 below the graphs.

Net International Migration. Citizenship (numbers are thousands)

international migration graph international migration graph international migration graph
international migration graph international migration graph Key: I, gross inflow. O, gross outflow. B, balance (net migration).  Blue, 2004. Pink, 2005. Orange 2006

Sources of information . Total International Migration (TIM) series 1991-2006

UK: Migrant flows, 2006, in terms of citizenship (thousands)
  British European Union Old Commonwealth New Commonwealth Other foreign
Inflow +81 +167 +62 +139 +142
Outflow +207 +66 +42 +24 +61
Balance –126 +100 +20 +115 +81
Source: Source: Source: ONS, Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991-2006. Also found in Salt, J. (2007) . International migration and the United Kingdom . Report of the United Kingdom Sopemi Correspondent to the OECD.

Note how the shape of the New Commonwealth graph differs from all the other graphs. In contrast to the other groups, relatively few persons left the UK, so that the balance, i.e. the net migration, is similar in size to the net immigration. This suggests that most New Commonwealth immigrants more generally stay permanently in the UK which is consistent with what we found in the previous sub-section.

Finally, we now have an estimate of net migration of foreign groups over the last one and a half decades:

FIGURE 2
Scale and composition of foreign net immigration to the UK by nationality,
1991-2006 (thousands and %)
 
fig.2 from chapter 2 of the economic impact of immigration
 
EU15: the fifteen EU member states before EU enlargement in 2004
A8: the eight East European countries that joined the EU in 2004
Old Commonwealth (Old CW): Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
New Commonwealth (New CW): all other Commonwealth countries
Source: ONS, Total International Migration (TIM) tables, 1991-2006
 

This figure comes from House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs (2008) “The economic impact of immigration. Volume 1: Report” HL Paper 82–1 .

Now In the media, including the BBC, in recent times, all the emphasis has been on the massive immigration from A8 countries, especially from Poland , since the recent EU enlargement. Rarely, if ever in some media, is the size of the 'Other' and New Commonwealth (NC) categories immigration mentioned. But we see from the above table that the net inflows of both 'Other' and NC migrants greatly exceeds the net inflows of the A8 countries. What is more, the net inflow of the NC group has increased in recent years.

In one sense the numerical disparity of net immigration between the A8 and the New Commonwealth groups of nations should come as no surprise, when we recall that there has been a massive outflow again of Polish immigrants to Britain (section 3c) and it is people from poor countries who, having come to Britain, tend to stay here (section 6f).

6g). Relationship between variation of fertility between ethnic groups and total fertility change in the UK

Some estimates are available on the fertility rates of UK residents by country of birth of mother:

Total fertility rates (TFRs): country of birth of mother, 2001

The Rates

United Kingdom (UK) 1.6
India (IND) 2.3
Pakistan (PAK) 4.7
Bangladesh (BAN) 3.9
East Africa (EAF) 1.6
Rest of Africa (RAF) 2.0
Remainder of New Commonwealth (RNC) 2.2
Rest of the World (RWD) 1.8
fertility rates
Source: ONS (2007) Birth Statistics Series FM1 no.35 Table 9.5. See also Chamberlain and Gill (2005) Focus on people and migration (2005) chapter 5 table 5.13.

Country of birth does not correspond to ethnicity. The 'rest of the world' is a very mixed bag, ethnically speaking. And the UK born will include minority groups as well as the White: British group, although the vast majority of persons will belong to the White: British group. The other groups are ethnically more homogeneous. And the proportion of White: British in these other groups will be small or very small.

What stands out most from the above table and graph is that with the exception of the East African group, all the outside of UK groups have fertility rates higher than the group of mothers born in the UK, the Pakistan and Bangladesh born groups having by far the highest fertilities. And we saw (section 6c) that considering the whole ethnic group populations in England and Wales, as distinct from country of birth populations, it is the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups that have the highest fertilities of all ethnic groups.

One might expect some correlation between these fertility differences in England and Wales, and the fertilities differences between countries of origin. If we look at fertility in countries of origin (table below), and consider India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the fertility rates in those countries in the period 2000 to 2005 were, respectively, 3.11, 3.99 and 3.22. All these rates are well above replacement level, and well above the rates of the corresponding total populations in England and Wales. But the order of these country of origin estimates is the same as the order of fertility rates in the above table, and the order of fertility rates in the total England and Wales populations, that is, India lowest, Bangladesh intermediate, and Pakistan highest. Another point. The differences between country of origin fertilities and total UK group population fertilities are consistent with the hypothesis that the fertility rates of immigrant populations that have a much higher fertility than the host population, will gradually over generations decrease to that of the host population. Finally, it is interesting that with the Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations, the fertility rates of the foreign born populations are much higher than the fertility rates in country of origin. Have conditions in England and Wales promoted an increase in fertility? Or is it that immigrants from these two countries are relatively young compared with country of origin total populations?

Fertility estimates
Group Total Group Fertity, 2004 Group fertility by Country of Birth of mother, 2001 Fertility in Country of Origin, 2000–2005
White: British, England and Wales(ew), or Total UK(uk) 1.74ew 1.6uk 1.7uk
Indian 1.62 2.3 3.11
Pakistani 2.53 4.7 3.99
Bangladeshi 2.45 3.9 3.22
Sources. Mr. Pete Large, ONS (total group fertlity). Birth Statistics Series FM1 no.35 Table 9.5 (by country of birth). UN. World Population Prospects the 2006 revision (country of origin)

In an earlier section (3b) we noted that the total UK fertility rate has risen sharply in recent years. So the question arises, to what extent may this be caused by higher fertility of some ethnic groups . We now add the following information about changes in fertility rate (R17):

  • Between 2002 and 2006, in England and Wales, the estimated fertility rate for women born outside the UK rose from 2.3 to 2.5, but rose from 1.5 to 1.7 for UK born women.
  • 15 per cent of births in the UK in 2001 were to mothers born outside the UK, this percentage increasing to nearly 21 per cent in 2006.
  • In terms of different age groups, the fertility of women born outside the UK has increased more in the 25–29 and 30–34 age groups than it has for UK born women. But the small increase in fertility of women in the 20–24 age group seems to be accounted for by women born in the UK.
  • There is evidence that women born outside the UK have higher intended family sizes at each age than UK born women. And with the 30–34 age group 18 per cent of women born overseas intended to have four or more children, compared with 11 percent of UK born.

Now it was concluded that international migration has impacted on the number of births in the UK in recent years. And “although it does not on its own explain the rise in the TFR for the UK over the past five years, analysis suggests that it has indeed contributed to this rise. The higher average fertility of women born overseas, especially in countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, is of particular relevance when considered alongside the relatively young adult age structure of the UK population of Asian ethnic origin” ( R17). The Press release on this publication (11th December 2007) stated the overall conclusion of the work quite simply as “Both UK born and non-UK born women have contributed to the consistent rise in fertility rates in the UK between 2001 and 2006”.

Finally, remembering the massive immigration of people from Poland in recent times, we note that the Daily Mail newspaper, 2nd December 2006, was suggesting that the birth rate of Polish immigrants was greater than in many cities in Poland (in general in Poland the fertility rate is well below replacement level).

The fertility trends discussed in this sub-section are obviously relevant to any attempt to forecast or to project the future growth of ethnic minority populations in the UK, to which we now turn.

 

6h). Projections of future population growth of ethnic minority populations

The information given so far in section 6 provides clear indications about how the size and composition of the ethnic minority population of the UK is likely to change in the future. Some salient facts are:

  1. For a long time there has been a considerble net emigration of White: British people.
  2. The total ethnic minority population of the UK has grown massively since the middle of the last century.
  3. Immigrants tend to be relatively young
  4. Fertility varies between ethnic groups within the UK. In the UK population, fertility is low and below replacement level with the White: British, White: Irish and Indian groups. It is above replacement level for the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black or Black British: African and two of the mixed group population groups.
  5. The estimated fertility rate of women born outside the UK was much higher than that of UK born women, being especially high in Pakistani and Bangladeshi born groups.
  6. The length of time that immigrants stay in the UK varies between ethnic groups. In general, immigrants from developed countries tend to stay for a shorter time than immigrants from poor countries. In terms of ethnic classification, Whites tend to stay shorter times than persons from Africa and the Indian subcontinent, although the situation with whites from the former EU nations is unclear at the present time.

We give now details of two recent projections of the size and composition of the ethnic minority population. The first looks at the period 2001–2051, the second at the shorter period 2001–2020.

Ethnic population Projections, England and Wales

Numbers (millions) and percentages
Group 2001 2051
Whole population 52.0 63.1
White British & Irish 46.1 (88.7%) 40.3 (63.9%)
White non-British 1.4 (2.7%) 7.3 (11.6%)
Non-White ethnic minoriies 4.5 (8.7%) 15.5 (24.5%)
future change in ethnic composition
Source. Data in: Coleman, D. (2006). Migration and ethnic change in low-fertility countries: a third demographic transition.
Population and Development Review 32 (3) 401-446.
Coleman states the assumptions he made as follows:
1) Mortality is assumed to be the same in all groups.
2)The aggregate trend of ethnic minority fertility is assumed to decline from the present 2.14 to 1.9, slightly higher than the projected national overall total (1.75).
3) Fertility of the white population (immigrant and native) is assumed to increase from 1.64 to 1.74.
4 Net annual inflow of the non-white population is assumed to be a constant 108,000, and for the British and Irish population, -53,000 (minus 53,000). A variable level of immigration is assumed for the white non-British population.

 

Ethnic Population Projections, UK

     
    RESULTS:    How    much    is     each     group
  projected     to   change    from     2001   to   2020?
 
     
 
Ethnic group, all
ages
UK population
2001 Census
% Change 2001-
2010
% Change 2010-
2020
White 54118 +2 +2
Mixed 674 +41 +30
Asian 2336 +25 +19
Black 1148 +22 +14
Chinese and Other 471 +68 +28
Sum of groups 58747 +4 +4
 
     
     The mixed group grows fastest. Other groups are growing at a
  slower rate than they did in the 1981–91 and 1991–2001 periods.
 
     
Source: Rees, P. (2007). “Ethnic Population Projections: Review and Illustrations of Issues”. Paper presented at the Workshop on Monitoring Population Change with an Ethnic Group Dimension at the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, Manchester Unuiversity, 18th May 2007.
Table reproduced by kind permission of Professor Rees.
Rees states the assumptions he made as follows:
1) Constant fertility rates from 2001. 2) Mortality rates declining at 2%/year. 3) Migration model 1- see below. 4) Constant intensities and flows. 5) Plenty of scope for improvement and different scenarios.
Technical explanation, kindly supplied to us by Professor Rees:
(1) Migration model 1: this is one combination of choices made in handling migration in the model:
 a. Internal out-migration is projected by multiplying the population by a rate of internal out-migration.
 b. Emigration is projected by multiplying the population by a rate of emigration.
 c. Internal in-migration is projected by assuming a flow (count) of in-migrants.
 d. Immigration is projected by assuming a flow (count) of immigrants.
 Internal = within the UK
 External = outside the UK.
(2) Intensities is a generic term that includes demographic (occurrence-exposure) rates and demographic probabilities. For some components rates are used (e.g. fertility), for other components probabilities are used (e.g. mortality). NB. This study was concerned with ethnic group distribution within the country as well as with change in country level ethnic group size.
More information on the migration model may be found in Rees, P. & Parsons, J. (2006). “Socio–demographic scenarios for children to 2020”. Report to Joseph Rowntree Foundation Child Poverty Programme.

 

The paper by Rees provides a stark contrast between the futures of the White and the non-White ethnic minority populations of the UK during the period 2001–2020. Rees states:
While “the White population grows a little”, “the ethnic minority population grows very substantially because of demographic momentum and high immigration”
(R51).

Finally, Coleman in the paper from which we have given projection details above, presents details of population projections for a number of other countries and shows how a projected massive increase in the proportion of foreign born persons is not confined to England and Wales. It is found with other low-fertility countries in the developed western world. He thinks this might merit being described as a 'third demographic transition'. But the changes in these countries and the changes in the developing world will be asymmetrical : “the composition of the population of the developed world will come to resemble more that of the developing world, but not conversely”.

And his final conclusion for western countries is that “without restraint from policy, or spontaneous moderation of trend, the process is likely soon to become irreversible in some countries. In ignoring its long-term consequences the countries of the West are facilitating a radical transformation of the composition of their societies and the cessation of a specific heritage: a transition by default, through embarrassment at discussing difficult issues or in a fit of absence of mind. Democratic approval might have been thought necessary for so notable and pemanent a change, the prospect of which would have been dismissed as absurd just a few decades ago” (R52) .

 

Doubts about how things will change in the future.

We think that the two issues over which there is serious doubt about how things will change in the future are fertility rate change and the extent of net immigration.

Changes in fertility rate.
Immigration by persons from high fertility ethnic groups will obviously help to further the growth of the UK population. But what happens to the fertility of these groups in the second, third and beyond offspring generations? It is generally accepted that the fertility of high fertility groups will fairly rapidly converge to the fertility of the host population. And there is certainly evidence that this has happened for some groups in the past, most notably with the Indian national group. However, while there may be convergence, there are features of society in the countries of origin which, carried over into the UK, may at least slow convergence for particular groups. Thus in the 1992 book by Coleman and Salt (R31) we read (pages 512-5130):
“the limited role outside the home prescribed for women by Islam may sustain higher than average fertility under most economic circumstances” Also “Asian extended family arrangements and the prevalence of family enterprises may make high fertility seem less disadvantageous than among West Indians”. And Coleman in his 2006 paper notes “But fertility differences may persist if immigrant groups do not achieve socioeconomic equality, if they retain strong attachment to religious or other elements of foreign culture, and if they continue to be numerically and culturally reinforced by large-scale migration, especially through importing unacculturated spouses from high-fertility countries” (R52).

As far as religion is concerned, we noted in section 6e above that next to age and marital status, it was a woman's 'religiosity' that was the strongest predictor of the number of offspring she produced, and immigrants into Europe tend to be more religious than the host population. Moreover, there seems to be little or no decline in 'religiosity' between immigrants and their first and second generation descendants, especially with Muslims.

Then we have the possibility of population competition between ethnic groups, and more specifically, competitive breeding - the situation where, unconsciously or consciously, an ethnic group promotes its own breeding. Parsons in his monumental book on population competition (R53 page 281) gave an example from the former Yugoslavia based on work by Kapor-Stanulovic):
“...Yugoslavia was the most heretogeneous country in Europe and population competition and competitive breeding were well launched before the series of civil wars erupted and it broke up......This seemed to be operating especially powerfully in the province of Kosovo in the south (neighbouring Albania) where the proportion of ethnic Albanians is expanding rapidly because of their substantially greater birthrate. In 1989 the total fertility rate here was 4.12 (compared with 1.74 in Croatia)....The ethnic Albanians demanded more power in accordance with their numbers...”.

Now there is no doubt that amongst Muslim groups in the UK there are sizeable numbers of activists who see their mission to be that of jihad, of conquering the country for Islam (jihad in its 'external' aspect rather than the 'internal' aspect, the daily inner struggle to be a better person). And there can equally be no doubt that many Muslims have felt threatened by or discriminated against not only by Whites but by non-Muslim ethnic minority groups. This is just the sort of situation where competitive breeding might develop. And we note that Coleman and Salt (R31 page 513) wrote: “ Where minorities feel threatened by absorption or assimilation, a 'minority effect' may make acceptance of family planning difficult and retard convergence in fertility”. And in his 2006 paper we have referred to earlier, he writes: “Increased inflows of unacculturated populations may conserve or even drive up fertility rates, as among African populations in Sweden and Britain” (R45 page 410).

Net Immigration
The magnitude and composition of the future net immigration flows to the UK will depend on two factors. First, the balance of the 'push' and 'pull' factors experienced by potential immigrants; second, the extent and way that the UK government controls the country's borders.

'Push and Pull' factors (previously discussed in section 4).
Poverty and insecurity in the developing world are factors that stimulate emigration to the developed world. With global food supplies shrinking, continued population growth and loss of agricultural land through global warming (rise in sea levels inudating vast areas of land and alteration of rainfall patterns) are likely to increase poverty and increase insecuriity through conflict over scarce resources. This will strengthern the 'push' factor.
On the other hand, deterioration of the economic situation in the developed world, of which the present financial crisis may be an indicator, may make developed countries much less attractive as a destination to people in the developing world.
As for migration within the EU, if the economic conditions in the A8 accession countries to improve significantly, this is likely to both reduce immigration to the UK and stimulate return migration of Polish citizens and other A8 country citizens.

Government control of borders.
It is clear that the government has not had, and does not have proper control over the UK borders. The vast, but actually unknown numbers of illegal immigrants is clear evidence of this as is the muddle over deporting failed asylum seekers and criminals, this made worse by decisions in the law courts, which, at almost every end and turn, seem to frustrate even the government's very modest attempts at gaining control. And then there is the problem of EU regulations, especially human rights, that militate against the government taking firm control of the UK borders, even if it wanted to (and we supsect it doesn't). And finally, there is the fact that the left-wing liberal elite and the Christian Church seem bent upon putting the interests of asylum seekes and illegal immigrants above those of British citizens.

Further enlargement of the European Union.

If Turkey joins the EU, which even our Head of State seems to support, we are likely to see a significant increase of movement of people between the UK and Turkey. To what extent this will turn out to be net immigration to the UK is difficult to predict. It will partly at least depend on the relative strength of the economies of the two countries when and if Turkey joins the EU.

Conclusion
All in all, the factors just reviewed mean it is impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy how fertility and migration changes will affect the growth not only of the whole UK population, but of the ethnic minority groups. We think that, on balance, present high fertility in some ethnic groups may only reduce very slowly, and that siginficant net immigration to the UK is likely to continue for some years at least.

Finally, it is worth noting a general point about immigration and fertility rates that Professor David Coleman drew attention to, and which we can apply to the ethnic minority populations of the UK:
In the long term, the minority will become the majority in a country if there remains even one region in which the proportion of the minority continues to increase through immigration and/or higher birth rates (Steinmann & Jager 1997)” (R56).

 

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7) The ageing of the population and associated problems

People are living longer, and at the same time, the number of children born has declined, so the population in ageing.
So while the total population grew by 8 per cent in the last 35 years — 55.9 million in 1971 to 60.6 million in mid–2006, this growth was not evely distributed over all age groups. In this period of time, the population of people aged over 65 grew by 31 per cent — 7.4 million to 9.7 million. But the population aged under 16 declined by 19 per cent — from 14.2 to 11.5 million (R6).

One might expect these changes would greatly increase the old–age dependency ratio. In fact it only increased slightly over this time period. The reason was that there was an increase in the working–age population (caused by the 1960s 'baby boomers' joining the working–age population from the late 70s onwards). But another important index is the ageing index, that is, the ratio of older persons to children. This rose greatly from 1971 to 2006: 64.0 to 97.8 (R6).

Two other ratios concern the old age population compared with the working age population.

The Potential Support Ratio (PSR)(defined earlier in the European section as the ratio of the number of people in the working age groups (15–64) to the number of people who are 65 or over). During the last (20th) century, in the UK, the PSR has fallen considerably. At the beginning of the 20th century it was 13.3. By 1950 it was down to 6.2. By 1995 it was down to 4.1. And projections tell us that under present conditions, the support ratio will fall steadily further for some time to come (R54).

The old age dependency ratio (ODR). This, in effect, is the number of older persons expressed as a percentage of the size of the working–age population. A recent study gave estimates of this ratio for the total UK born population (all ethnic groups), the total overseas–born population and various components of the overseas–born population defined in terms of geographical areas (R46). The authors here defined the older population as the pension age population, which is 65 years old and over for men and 60 years and over for women. The ODR for the UK–born population and the total overseas–born population in 2001 were respectively 30.7 and 23.1 (there were big variations between different immigrant groups but that need not concern us here).

Current projections with revised population estimates (the 2006-based projections) have the ODR (UK) changing from 30.1 in 2006 to 34.4 in 2031 , 36.9 in 2061 and 39.6 in 2081 (R55).

Now the ageing of the population has raised concerns about how to provide for the needs of older people. So the question was raised — can we maintain or increase the relative size of the working age population – the backbone of economic activity – and hence the support for older people. One way that has been much discussed in recent years is to maintain or increase immigration flows, because immigrants are more concentrated in the working age groups than the population as a whole.

However, we need to be careful not to exaggerate the significance of migration flows to maintaining support for the aged. For immigrants are not very much younger on average than the populations they are moving into – roughly ten years on average (R.56). Furthermore, immigrants themselves age, adding to the problem of an increased old-age population.

In fact to keep the potential support ratio even at the 2000 level level would require an unimaginably large number of immigrants. The UN estimated this as 524 million ( or 13 million a year) — far far larger annual levels of net migration than has ever been experienced in recent times or the more distant past (R54, R56, R57). See also our essay “What policy should the UK Government adopt towards immigration?” which is attached to our Comment and Analysis page.

So significantly encouraging increased support for the ageing population by increasing immigration flows is not a viable option.

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8) The changing population distribution within the UK

8a. The population ignoring ethnic classification

Perhaps the most significant phenomenon in the last half century has been what is termed the ‘counter-urbanisation cascade', the movement of people from inner cities to suburbs, large cities to small towns, urban areas to rural areas. This must be understood in terms of ‘push' and ‘pull' factors. Push factors include high population density, noise, high crime rates, lack of open green spaces, etc . Pull factors are the reverse of the push factors – low population density, plenty of green space, peace and quiet, perceived lower crime rates. More generally there has been a response to a ‘rural idyll', an idealization of the rural way of life. Another important trend has been the migration of people from the north to the south of Britain, although the magnitude of this trend has fluctuated over the years.

A useful introduction to changing population distribution is provided by the report of Champion et al (1998) on migration flows in England (R58).

Of all regions in England, the South East Region with Greater London has seen the highest level of both in and out migration, but with a net outflow. Net international immigration has come to make a very significant contribution to migration flows. It seems to have been “highly focused on the inner areas of London, and a relatively small number of other places that in turn are losing population to other areas through internal migration”.

The report concludes that the various population movements in England are all linked together: “There is clear research evidence of the various population movements being linked together to form a single national urban system, notably in the form of London's pivotal role and in terms of the counter–urbanisation cascade. This is a system in which international migration appears to be playing an increasingly crucial role”.

The inter–relationships of international migration and inter–regional migration (migration between the 11 standard statistical regions of GB) were investigated by Hatton and Tani (R59). They conclude that “immigration to a region of foreign nationals generates between a third and two thirds as much out–migration to other regions”. They further conclude that this varies across regions – the effect seems to be larger for the southern regions, especially London, the same regions where the inflow of foreign nationals is greatest. The authors interpret their results in terms of British labour market adjustments.

A recently published study by Dorling and Thomas, based on the 1991 and 2001 censuses, paints a fascinating but very complicated picture of changes in distribution of population, household types, employment, occupation, health, poverty, car ownership and other matters between these two dates (R60). The information is primarily presented in a series of very detailed maps of the UK.

There has been much talk in recent years of what has been called the north–south divide in England: a poorer north and a wealthier south. Associated with this has been the north to south movement of population already mentioned. The authors of the present report conclude that the north south divide has increased. They identify the dividing line as roughly running from the Severn to the Humber estuaries – it is shown in red on the map on page 187. They conceptualise things in this way. We used to think of the north and south as each consisting of a group of cities, towns, villages and countryside. The divide was to a large extent just a regional one.

Now however, the boundary lies between two places even more dissimilar from each other, a Greater London to the south and the rest. The authors use the term city structure: a dense urban core, suburbs, parks, and a rural fringe. To the south the city structures are converging as a single great metropolis (centering on London), while the north is a “provincial archipelago of city islands”. So for example, the old counties of Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire are no longer counties, but rather city limits of London. And the commuter belt of the metropolis extends up to the ends of the M3 and M11, up to Leamington Spa on the M40 and to Chepstow on the M4. Half the population of the UK now lives within the immediate influence of Greater London. “Built–up Greater London now extends as far north as its suburbs of Leicester and Northampton, as far west as its edge suburbs of Bristol and Plymouth. Between these places are green fields, but they are now the parkland of this city. Hardly anyone living near those fields works on the land”.

The pattern of population movements is complicated. However, the population of the metropolis has grown, and the population of the UK is slowly moving south. Thinking in terms of population density (number of people living in a district for every hectare in that district), population density has grown nationally. However, as people have moved south, densities have increased most in London and the South East. In contrast, almost all the falls in density in the UK have been outside the South East, with the largest fall being in Manchester in the north.

The economic needs of London drive the whole population and economic system. In the metropolis are found the most qualified people and the fewest with no qualifications. Indeed the centre of the metropolis swarms with university graduates. The metropolis is the financial centre, employs the bulk of managers and is the workplace of preference for professionals.

“Almost no one in the metropolis is sick or disabled in comparison with the archipelago”. And “it is in the archipelago islands that people are most likely to need to care for family or friends who are ill”, “where most lone parents without work are found, and where the fewest households have two earners”. Yet there are fewer doctors and dentists per head in the archipelago than in the metropolis. The employment picture is complicated, but it is the north that has suffered the great upheaval with the decline in coal mining. The number of people working in skilled trades has declined, mainly in the north. Likewise the number of machine operatives have fallen, also mostly in the north.

Finally, we return to the flow of people between the north and the south. We noted at the beginning of this section, that in recent decades, the dominant trend has been a movement from the north to the south. However, in some very recent years, this trend has been reversed, and Champion (R61) gives details in his survey of the north-south flows from 1971 to 2003 to which we now turn.

Champion notes that the net north to south flow dates back at least to the early 1930s and the Great Depression, and the net flow continued in subsequent decades. In recent decades, the process has fluctuated considerably. The biggest net north to south flows occurred in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s. This was followed by a few years(1989 to 1992) where north–south and south–north flows were roughly in balance – i.e. very little net migration either north or south. Then in the 1990s the net flow north to south developed again, although net flows were not as large as they has been in in the 1970s–1980s. Then in 2001–2003 there was a significant reversal of net flows. And the north's net gain in 2003 was a little over 35,000 people.

8b. Ethnic groups

We set the stage by something that was in the version of this web page before the May 2008 revision:
"According to the 2001 census, in numerous electoral wards (districts of the country used for census purposes) white people are now in a minority compared with the total of all other ethnic groups. While these wards only make up a small minority of the total number of wards, in London, Whites are in a minority in all the electoral wards of two whole boroughs (Brent, 21 wards, Newham, 20 wards)" (R65). "In some areas of London and elsewhere "temples, shops, cafes, cinemas – the whole ambience – suggest Bombay rather than, say, Burnley or Southall, Port of Spain rather than Brixton ..." (R 53). For Whites living in such areas, swamping has become a fact. However, considering that all ethnic minorities only make up a total of roughly eight per cent of the total UK population, there is no likelihood of ethnic replacement of the indigenous population at the national level in the short or medium term.

Ethnic minority groups are heavily concentrated in inner urban areas. However, they have also been taking part in the counter–urbanisation cascade that was mentioned above, and now ethnic minoriy persons are found in all districts of England. The report by Dorling and Thomas (R60) discussed earlier, provides an interesting insight into the distribution of ethnic minority populations in the UK in the section of their work covering both religion and ethnicity.

In this report each religious and ethnic group is considered separately. A complicating factor is that the categories offered to people to identify themselves by were not identical in the 1991 and 2001 censuses. In particular, in 2001, several mixed white and other groups were offered as categories.

Ethnic minorities remain heavily concentrated in urban areas, particularly in London (however, there has been some spread from cities to more distant suburbs, small towns and more rural areas, and we will return to this movement later). People of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin remain very concentrated in areas of initial settlement. Not only are ethnic minorities concentrated in urban areas, but they are concentrated in just a few particular districts; the magic number here is 13. Again and again we read that roughly fifty per cent of a particular ethnic group live in just 13 districts. These are concentrated in London, but also occur in several midland and northern cities. In terms of religion, the two largest non-Christian religions are Islam and Hinduism. The majority of Muslims live in urban areas in just 20 districts, Hindus live predominantly in suburban areas, and mainly in 13 districts.

One thing that stands out in the maps is the changing percentage of the White ethnic group in different districts (nationally the White population decreased from 94.4 per cent to 92.1 per cent). Here it is better to look not at the maps on page 45 but the replacement maps given in the replacement map pages supplied separately to the main document. Compare these maps with any map of the UK showing the size and distribution of cities and towns. You can then see that the greatest falls in the white percentages have occurred in larger urban areas.

A final word about how the report describes the distribution of ethnic groups in the UK. The introductory section of the chapter on religion and ethnicity says:
“The UK remains a White desert with a few oases of colour” (page 36).
Now the word desert is associated with barrenness and desolation. The word oasis is associated with renewal, and high productivity. We may wonder what would have been the reaction if the authors had contrasted the distribution of Whites and ethnic minorities in some opposite fashion there would have been an outcry and they would have been accused of being racist and fascist. White people are entitled to object to this unnecessary depiction of race. However, there is unlikely to be any adverse reaction to how the authors describe things from the politically correct establishment which in our view is in power generally in the UK.

We turn now to a report by Lupton and Power (R34), as it provides detailed information on the distribution of the ethnic minority populations in GB at the time of the 2001 census and changes in these populations since the 1991 census.;

In 2001, ethnic minorities were concentrated in large urban areas. However, each ethnic group was, in geographical terms, concentrated differently. For example, the Pakistani population was strongly represented in Manchester, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, and midland cities, with a smaller proportion of the population in London than was the case for Indians. In contrast, the Black Caribbean population was heavily concentrated in London, and to a lesser extent in Birmigham. Through this concentration of ethnic minorities in large urban areas, most local authorities in GB had minority populations at, or more usually below, the national average.

Since 1991, the increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities has been widespread in GB, occurring in virtually every local authority area. However, in numerical terms, the greatest increases have occurred where minorities were already concentrated, that is mainly inner urban areas. “This has led to the greatest percentage point increases in minority ethnic groups as a share of population in the areas where they were already well established. In inner urban areas, this trend has been accompanied by a continuing decline in white population, leading to significant changes in overall ethnic composition ”.

The authors were unable to say to what extent settlement patterns of ethnic minorities were through choice or constraint. “Nor can we say how much of the loss of white populations from inner urban areas is 'white flight' from areas that are becoming dominated by minority groups, or a product of the natural ageing of white communities, or a product of out-movement for other reasons ”.

Champion (61) confirms that the increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities has been widespread. In terms of the UK's 434 districts in 2001, 244 registered an increase in non–White population due to within–UK migration. However, he points out that things are more complicated than the simple generalisation of Whites moving out of areas as non–Whites move in, and the associated notion of 'white flight'. He writes that “many of these 244 districts also had net inflows of White people”. Further, “a fair number of districts — but especially London boroughs — that lost White population through their migration exchanges with the rest of the UK during this one-year period were also losing non–Whites through this process”.

A paper by Large and Ghosh (R62) adds further information about recent (2003) ethnic population structure in different areas and change over the period mid–2001 to mid–2003, with particular reference to the main regions of England. These regions ('Government Office Regions' or GORs) are nine in number:
North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West.

London still has the greatest number, the greatest concentration of peoples of the non–'White British' population, although the proportion of the total non–'White British' that is found in London fell from 44.7 per cent in 2001 to 42.5 per cent in 2003. Of all the nine regions of England, London has shown the lowest annual growth rate of the non–'White British' population. The two regions with the highest growth rate of the non-'White British', North East and South West, are the regions with the smallest base of that population.

Perhaps the most interesting and important facts to note about London, however are, first that there has been a pattern of net internal migration of the non-'White British' population out from London very similar in magnitude to the net international migration of this group into London. Second, while the non–'White British' population has grown in all regions, a distinction can be made between more and less urban areas. There is a pattern of the non-'White British' population growth being driven by international in-migration in the more urban areas, and, in the more rural areas, largely by migration from the more urban areas.

Large and Ghosh went on to discuss different measurements of the ethnic diversity of different areas, a topic very relevant to current concerns about multiculturalism and segregation. One measure of diversity showed (as the authors say, not surprisingly) that in terms of Local Authority Districts (LADs), the most ethnically diverse LADs are concentrated in London, with Birmingham and Leicester also showing a very high diversity. Using a different measure of diversity, they found that Asian Pakistani, Asian Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African groups showed the greatest degree of segregation, the Mixed Groups and the Chinese the lowest.

If we link this information with the information we presented earlier in section 6c. we see that Muslim groups tend to be highly segregated from the rest of the population.

Finally, Nissa Finney and Ludi Simpson at the Cathie Marsh Centre, University of Manchester, conclude from their analyses that most differences in migration patterns between ethnic groups within Britain are not primarily differences between ethnic groups per se, but rather they are caused by socioeconomic and demographic factors that operate with white groups as well as with non–white groups (R63, R64). Further, despite some marked differences in migration patterns between whites and non–whites, “counter–urbanisation, a north–south shift and dispersal from areas of co–ethnic concentration are common to all ethnic groups. If 'white flight' is to be identified, 'non-white flight' should be also”. (R63. And see also R66). However, we think the causation of movement of white and minority groups and the idea of 'white flight' mentioned above, deserve further examination. More specifically, and despite the conclusions of Finney and Simpson, we ask the question, has internal migration of whites been partly caused by a wish to move away from areas of high or increasing ethnic minority concentration, either through fear of possible adverse effects on society of this concentration or because of a simple dislike of 'others', of ethnic minorities?

8c. White flight

Until recently, the analysis of movement in terms of ethnicity has received more attention in the USA than in the UK. A key figure here is W.H. Frey. In his 1995 paper (R67) he looked at the possible influences of international migration (immigration) on internal migration. In the course of this paper he refers to ‘flight' (pages 733, 736 and 755, and, more specifically, ‘white flight' page754).

Frey divided the States of the USA into three categories: high immigration states, high internal migration states and high out–migration states. He notes that one consequence of migration patterns for high immigration states “is an increase in their minority populations resulting from immigration dominated by new minorities – Latinos and Asians and, in some cases, an out–migration that is largely white”.

In writing about urban change (what he terms the ‘urban revival') he says that there are “sharp spatial disparities in the growth patterns between the nation's white population and its racial and ethnic minorities”. He concludes that his findings “suggest that the immigration and internal migration processes are leading to a greater demographic balkanisation – a spatial segmentation of the population by race–ethnicity and socio–economic status across metropolitan areas” (see our footnote on 'balkanisation').

Frey notes that in addition to ‘racial selectivity distinctions in migration', previous research has shown other important distinctions for between–area migrations, namely education level and income level. Thus with the out–migration from high immigration states: “the out–migration from these states tends to select on the lower socio–economic ranks. Their out–migration rates tend to be highest for whites with below–poverty incomes, and with low college graduate education attainment levels”.

In a later paper (R68), the conclusion was reached that the ethnic displacements examined could be explained in terms of immigrants being labour substitutes for domestic migrants who could take advantage of opportunities in other areas. They could also be explained in terms of “less well–off, longer-term residents in high immigration areas...reacting to perceived increases in social costs” caused by immigration – higher crime rates, reduced services or increased local taxes”. But “in addition, one cannot ignore the possibility that race and ethnic prejudice may enter into decisions of native residents, especially whites, to relocate away from increasingly multiethnic areas in much the same manner that such prejudice prompted ‘suburban flight' in many American cities in the 1950s and 1960s” (our bold text).

All this gives us some insight into the complicated relationships between economic, social, and ethnic/racial differences that may characterise internal migration streams, and the extent these different factors may possibly be causal factors, i.e. ‘drivers' of population movement.

These complicated relationships are also found in the UK, to which country we now turn. We will however, not attempt to survey the literature on economic and social factors. Rather we look for evidence that ‘white flight' in the UK cannot be explained entirely in terms of socio–economic ranking, but that one cause is the movement of whites, for whatever specific reason, away from areas of high or increasing ethnic minority concentration.

If we look first at the media, and confine ourselves just to recent times, we note that early in 2008, Church of England Bishop Michael Nazir–Ali was saying that Islamic extremism has made some areas of Britain ‘no–go' areas for non-Muslims (Telegraph 15th January and 24th February). The black chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, supported the bishop, telling the BBC's Radio 4 programme that “there are areas in which there is no contact or very little contact between different ethnic and cultural groups. White flight is accelerating, schools are becoming more segregated” (Daily Mail 15th January 2008).

Turning to the academic literature, Gordon and Whitehead (R69) studied the impact of immigration on the population of London. In considering how international migration may have displacement effects on other Londoners, they wrote that these effects “may include (i.e. select) a ‘white flight' element”, and later, Whitehead 2008 (R70): “may include a ‘white/established household flight' element”.

Stillwell and Duke-Williams (R71), examined international migration and internal migration of ethnic groups on the basis of 2001 census data. One question they asked was: is there a relationship between non–white immigration and white internal migration?

They compared white ethnic groups with the amalgamated non–white ethnic groups.. Examining all census districts, they selected the 113 districts in which the non–white share of the population was over 5 per cent of the total population. They found that white internal net migration – movement out of districts – was highest where non–white (international) migration was greatest, and the correlation was significant. The relationship was shown graphically in their figure 10. However, the authors state that they were not able to claim a cause and effect relationship. This illustrates an important general fact, namely, correlation does not prove causation.

The most direct evidence of ‘white flight' away from areas of high or increasing ethnic minority concentration comes from interviews, to which we now turn.

Halfacree (R72) studied attitudes to urban-rural migration, making use of interviews. The key perceived positive social features of the destination (rural areas) are summarised in table 10 of his paper. This lists seven points. One is “there were far fewer 'non–white' people in the area”.

Neal (R73) drew attention to various pieces of evidence provided by other researchers: Increasingly the perception of an idyllic English countryside has become associated with white ‘safety', safety from an urban malaise – English cities that have “become increasingly diverse ('unEnglish') and synonymous with an undesirable black/Other presence”.
In the West country one researcher found that “the urban to rural migration movement contains people who openly define themselves as 'refugees from multiracialism/culturalism”. In Norfolk one researcher quoted one respondent who explained why some people “come to Norfolk for 'quality of life' and the white complexion of the area has something to do with that quality of life”. And a third researcher noted there is “a hardcore [urban/rural migrants] who believe they have left blacks behind in the city”.

Now we think that ‘white flight' from areas of high or increasing ethnic minority concentration, is probably much more extensive than is generally recognised simply because in the present politically correct climate, where if any white person expresses any concern about the effects of ethnic minority immigration they are immediately labelled as racist or fascist, most people will not talk openly about white flight. This opinion was shared by the BBC reporter Vivian White who, after interviewing residents in the Lancashire town of Blackburn, concluded that as Asian communities expanded in Blackburn, many whites moved out in response. But, he said “... the whole subject of 'white flight' and why it's happening is something people find difficult to discuss. They're afraid that if they do, they'll be labelled as racist” (BBC Panorama programme 7–5–07 , both the BBC transcript and the 'straight report').

Finally, we want to point out that ‘white flight' is not confined to Great Britain and the USA. It probably occurs widely across Europe. An example comes from The Netherlands. Zorlu and Latten concluded from their study: “The propensity to move is relatively high among natives who reside in neighbourhoods with a higher share of non–western migrants. The estimates indicate a segregatory tendency among non–western migrants and natives. The native movers tend to choose neighbourhoods with a higher share of natives, while non-western migrants are less likely to choose native neighbourhoods”. (R74).

Footnote. Balkanization.

‘Balkanization' means to “divide (a region or body) into smaller mutually hostile states or groups” (The New Oxford Dictionary of English). The term derives from the area of south-east Europe known as the Balkans, an area long known for racial, ethnic and religious tensions and conflict.

Parsons (R 53) wrote about these tensions and conflicts. He pointed out that there is good reason to think that change in the proportion of different ethnic or religious groups in a population can considerably increase inter–ethnic tensions and be one of the causes of the outbreak of conflict between groups. He noted that the former Yugoslavia (part of the Balkans) provides an example. Before the civil wars which led to the break up of Yugoslavia, the country had five official nationalities, 12 ethnic minorities and three major religions; and deep and longstanding rivalries between Serbs, Croats, Muslims, and other ethnic groups, were present long before the beginning of these wars. There were also differences between the groups in birth and growth rates, and Parsons speaks of population competition and competitive breeding .

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9) Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the various persons in the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and in universities who, in e-mail and telephonic correspondence have attempted to answer our queries.

For ONS publications, our tables, graphs, histograms and figures are based on data that are reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence (Licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics website: www.statistics.gov.uk  Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO.

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References

Abbreviations: PT (Population Trends); ONS (Office of National Statistics); HO (Home Office); UN (United Nations).

 

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25. Long, J.F. (1992). Accuracy, monitoring and evaluation of national population projections. From National Population Forecasting in Industrialised Countries. Eds. Keilman, et al. Lisse.

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27. Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2007). The experiences of Central and East European migrants in the UK.

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29. Iglicka, K. (2007). Strategies for development of polish migration policy concerning legal labour migration for 2007-2012. Center for International Relations (CIR), Warsaw .

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31. Coleman, D. & Salt, J. (1992) . The British population. Patterns, trends and processes. OUP.

32. Haskey, J. C. (1992). Demographic characteristics of the ethnic minority populations of Great Britain . In Bittles, A. H. & Roberts, D. F. (eds.). Ethnic minority populations. Genetics, demography and health. London . Macmillan.

33. Bosveld, K. & Connolly, H. (2006). Chapter 2 in ONS Focus on ethnicity and religion.

34. Lupton, R. & Power, A. (2004). Minority ethnic groups in Britain . Case-Brookings Census Briefs No. 2. London School of Economics.

35. Dunnell, K. (2007). The changing demographic picture of the UK . PT 130: 9-21.

36. ONS. (2006 ). http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=14238 then go to Population estimates by ethnic group 2001-2005 (either Excel or CSV), and see also the revised methodology papers.

37. Penn, R. & Lambert, P. (2002). Attitudes towards ideal family size of different ethnic/nationality groups in Great Britain , France and Germany . Population Trends 108: 49-58.

38. Large, P. & Ghosh, K. (2006) . A methodology for estimating the population by ethnic group for areas within England. PT 123: 21-31

39. Bosveld, K & Connolly, H . (2006). Population. Chapter 2 in ONS. Focus on ethnicity and religion. Palgrave Macmillan.

40. HO. (2007) . Accession monitoring report May 2004 December 2006.

41. ONS. (2005 ). Browse by theme. Families. Religion. Muslim families most likely to have children.

42. ONS. (2004). Browse by theme. Religion. Age and sex distribution. Muslim population is youngest.

43. Connolly, H. and Raha, C. (2006). Households and families. Chapter 4 in ONS. Focus on ethnicity and religion. Palgrave Macmillan.

44. Peach, C. et al. (2000). Immigration and ethnicity. Chapter 4 in Twentieth-Century British Social Trends. Eds. Halsey, A.H. & Webb, J. Macmillan.

45. Coleman, D. (2006) . Immigration and ethnic change in low-fertility countries: A third demographic transition. Population and Development Review 32, 3: 401-446.

46. Rendall, M. S. & Ball, D. J. ( 2004). Immigration, emigration and the ageing of the overseas-born population in the United Kingdom . Population Trends 116: 18-27.

47. Rendall, M. & Salt, J. (2005) . The foreign-born population. Chapter 8 in: Focus on people and Migration, 2005 edition. ONS.

48. ONS. (2007). Population Trends 130 Web supplement.

49. Dobson, J. et al. ( 2001). International migration and the United Kingdom . Recent patterns and trends. HO, RDS occasional paper no.75.

50. UN. (2007). World population prospects 2006 revision.

51. Rees, P. (2007). Ethnic Population Projections: Review and Illustrations of Issues. Paper presented at the Workshop on Monitoring Population Change with an Ethnic Group Dimension at the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, Manchester Unuiversity, 18th May 2007

52. Coleman, D. (2006). Migration and ethnic change in low-fertility countries: a third demographic transition. Population and Development Review 32, 3: 401-446.

53. Parsons, J. (1998). Human population competition. A study of the pursuit of power through numbers. Edwin Mellen Press, Lampeter, Wales . More recently the fourth edition has been available as "Population competition for security or attack. A study of the perilous pursuit of power through weight of numbers". Population Policy Press, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, RCT.

54. UN. (2000). Replacement migration: Is it a solution to declining and ageing populations?

55. ONS (2007). 2006-based population projections. Current data. Table 01.

56. Coleman, D. A. (2001) . Replacement migration, or why everyone is going to have to live in Korea : a fable for our times from the United Nations. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences (The Royal Society) volume 357 number 1420 (2002).

57. Shaw, C. (2001) . United Kingdom population trends in the 21st century.

58. Champion, T. et al (1998). The determinants of migration flows in England : a review of existing data and evidence. Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne universities.

59. Hatton, T. & Tani, M. (2003). Immigration and interregional mobility in the UK , 1982-2000. Centre for Economic Policy Research.

60. Dorling, D. & Thomas, B. (2004). People and places. A 2001 Census atlas of the UK . The Policy Press.

61. Champion, T. (2005). Population movement within the UK . Chapter 6 in: Focus on people and Migration, 2005 edition. ONS.

62. Large, P & Ghosh, K. (2006). Estimates of the population by ethnic group for areas within England . ONS. PT 124: 8-17.

63. Finney, N. & Simpson, L. (2008). Internal migration and ethnic groups: evidence for the UK from the 2001 census. Population, Space and Place 14: 63-83.

64. Finney, N. & Simpson, L. (2007). Internal migration and ethnic groups: evidence for the UK from the 2001 census. CCSR Working paper 2007-4, Manchester University .

65. ONS. (2003). Census 2001. Standard tables for wards in England and Wales.

66. Hinsliff, G. (2008). Ethnic middle classes join the ‘white flight’. The Observer.

67. Frey, W. H. (1995). Immigration and internal migration ‘flight’ from US metropolitan areas: toward a new demographic balkanisation. Urban Studies 32, 4-5: 733-757.

68. Frey, W. H. & Liaw, K. (1998). The impact of recent immigration on population redistribution within the United States. In The immigration debate. Studies on the economic, demographic, and fiscal effects of immigration. Smith, J.P. & Edmonston, B (eds). National Academy Press pages 388-448.

69. Gordon, I. & Whitehead, C. (2007). Some impacts of recent immigration on the London economy. Seminar, London School of Economics.

70. Whitehead, C. (2008). The impact of migration on housing and local services in London. URC Informal Seminar, London School of Economics.

71. Stillwell, J. and Duke-Williams, O. (2005). Ethnic population distribution, immigration and internal migration in Britain: what evidence of linkage at the district scale? Paper prepared for the British Society for Population Studies Annual Conference at the University of Kent at Canterbury, 12-14 September 2005.

72. Halfacree, K.H. (1994). The importance of ‘the rural’ in the constitution of counterurbanisation: evidence from England in the 1980s. Sociologia Ruralis 34, 2/3: 164-189.

73. Neal, S. (2002). Rural landscapes, representations and racism: examining multicultural citizenship and policy-making in the English countryside. Ethnic and Racial Studies 25, 3: 442-461.

74. Zorlu, A. & Latten, J. (2007). Ethnic sorting in the Netherlands. Institute for the study of labor (IZA) DP No. 3155.

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Appendix to UK section of this page

Comparison of Projections

mid-year

end of year

 

Experimental statistics and fertility estimation.

The fertility estimates of Large and Ghosh are part of 'experimental statistics' about which the acknowledged limitations of the methodology must be borne in mind when interpreting the estimates. In particular, the methodology is based on reliance on 2001 Census data for parameter estimation. The methodology papers associated with the statistics give full details of these 'limitations' and the problems faced in attempting to estimate ethnic group fertility rates. On the 2001 Census and sizes of ethnic populations we read that the method used in the experimental statistics “places great reliance on using the results of the 2001 Census to identify differences between ethnic groups”, and estimates of ethnic population size produced as standard output from the Census “necessarily fail to reflect rapid growth in some groups since 2001”. We now add our own comment that there were considerable criticisms of the Census methodology and results, following the release of these results. We gave details of the criticisms on the version of the UK section of this page that was on the web prior to July 2004. This version can still be read on our Archive page (item (b) “The United Kingdom section of the Population Trends page, as it was before the July 2004 revision of that page”).

On the fertility estimates, Large has written in e-mail correspondence with us that “ The Population Trends article describing the methodology underlying the Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (PEEG) pointed out that our estimates of the TPFR showed less variation between ethnic groups than estimated by other researchers, and that this might be attributable to convergence of rates over time (our estimates are based on results from the 2001 Census while other studies use earlier data sources) or an artefact of the different methodologies” (our italics).

“ A specific aspect of the methodology which was identified as an issue in the documents supporting the January 2006 release was the use of mother-infant ratios to estimate age-specific fertility rates. As was acknowledged at the time, this approach did not allow for differences between ethnic groups in patterns of children not linked with their mother
on a Census form”.

“Following the publication of the Population Trends article (which described the methodology used in that initial release), revised Population Estimates by Ethnic Group  were published on 17 August 2006. The revised estimates used an improved methodology which, amongst other things, does take account of these 'unlinked' children. The various changes, together with estimates of their impact on the estimates, are detailed in the Changes to Methodology and Revisions paper available at
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=14238 )”.

Finally, in later correspodence where Large kindly supplied us with the revised fertility estimates he writes “Can I emphasise that the implied estimates do not reflect any direct knowledge of fertility within each ethnic group since the 2001 Census”.



 

t). The upper part of the Home page as it was before new material (four tables) was added 20th June 2009

Human Population Growth and Migration

have serious consequences, globally and for the United Kingdom

Population Growth, Natural Increase and Migration

Population growth is primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. And in the United Kingdom at present, migration is a greater cause of population growth than natural increase. Both population growth and migration can affect the quality of the natural environment, the likelihood of conflict, and social cohesion between ethnic groups. In our view, the significance of both population growth and migration are often underestimated by governments and non-governmental organisations.


Population Growth and Migration: Global Aspects

At the global level, human population growth is one significant cause of environmental problems - destruction of natural ecosystems, increased rate of species extinction, soil erosion, falling water tables and depletion of aquifers, pollution of rivers, seas and coastal waters, increase of harmful emissions to the atmosphere. Population growth has in our view, already taken the human population beyond the carrying capacity of the planet.



s). The Global section of the Population Trends page as it was before mid-January 2009

Global

Contents
a) Past world population growth
b) The world population in 2006
c) The Demographic Transition
d) The Second Demographic Transition
e) International migration in recent times
f) The future
References

 

a) Past World Population Growth

The present world population is vastly greater in size than it has been during nearly all of the history of mankind. It is only comparatively recently that the population entered into the phase of continued and accelerating population growth that has now brought the population to over 6 billion persons. In the Paleolithic Age the population was probably only around 1 million, in the Neolithic Age around 10 million, and in the Bronze age around 100 million. But during these ages, periods of population growth alternated with periods of stagnation and decline (R1).

The growth of the world population in the last two thousand years is depicted in Fig. 1. Except for recent times, data is scanty and population estimates are conjectural. There were various population fluctuations such as that caused by the plague in Europe in the 14th century, but these are ignored in the graph which simply shows the overall population trend.

 

Figure 1
world population

Graph based on data in The world at six billion, United Nations Population Division (undated)

The twentieth century saw the largest total century population increase ever. At the start there were 1.6 billion people. At the end there were 6.1. billion people. There was however a big difference in population growth between more developed regions and less developed regions. In the former the population more than doubled, but in the latter the population more than quadrupled (R2).

b) The world population in 2006

The world population in October 2006 was around six and a half billion. The U.S. Census bureau puts it at 6,554 million (R3). The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) puts it at 6,555 million (R4). Both these estimates are mid-year. The PRB gives this data on the 10 countries with the largest populations (millions):

Country Population Country Population
China
1,311
Pakistan
166
India
1,122
Bangladesh
147
US
299
Russia
142
Indonesia
225
Nigeria
135
Brazil
187
Japan
128

Aids epidemic

The AIDS epidemic has had massive demographic consequences. In countries worst affected by the epidemic, there has been a massive increase in mortality, and a corresponding fall in life expectancy. In terms of world regions, Sub-Saharan Africa has been the worse hit region. Here the countries with the highest percentages of the population affected by HIV/AIDS are: Swaziland (33.4 per cent of the population), Botswana (24.1 %), Lesotho (23.2 %), Zimbabwe (20.1 %), Namibia (19.6 %) South Africa (18.8 %), Zambia (17 %), Mozambique (16.1 %) (R4).
The next most affected region of the world is the Caribbean. So the two most affected regions of the world are those where Black populations predominate.

c) The Demographic transition

The Demographic Transition

 

Births (olive)

Deaths (red)

Population size (blue)

 

Graph showing the trends in population size, death and birth rates. Death rate decline started earlier than birth rate decline, allowing a massive growth in population.

 

Time in years

 

Births and Deaths per Year and Total Population Size

Since about 1750, the world population has grown massively, at an increasing rate until recently, from some size of the order of 500 million, to over 6 billion now. In the 'industrialised' or 'developed' world, during this period of population growth, national populations have largely completed going through what is called the 'demographic transition' (see graph above). This is the transition from a largely rural agrarian society with high fertility and mortality rates, to a predominantly urban industrial society with low fertility and mortality rates.

In the industrialised countries, generally speaking, the transition began with a large drop in mortality rate. Only much later did fertility rate decline, so the decrease in mortality rate allowed a massive population explosion. Then with the later decline in fertility rate, the population growth slowed down and has or will soon cease (we ignore here the effect of possible high future immigration). It can be seen then that there are two key transitions within the 'demographic transition' - first a mortality transition and second a fertility transition.

The underlying causation of the demographic transition was complex; various factors were involved, such as changes in modes of agricultural production and improvements in hygiene. The timing and details of the transition however, varied considerably between countries, and in Europe, between different regions. And in France, where fertility declined relatively early, there was no big time gap between the onset of mortality decline and the onset of fertility decline (R5).

It is worth noting at this point the meaning of two much used demographic terms. First, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR). This is the number of children that would be born to a woman if current patterns of childbearing persisted throughout her childbearing years (usually considered to be ages 15 to 49). Second, The Replacement Fertility Rate (RFR). The RFR is the fertility rate that will ensure that each woman will be replaced by one daughter in the next generation (it is only women that add the males as well as the females to the population!). In developed world countries the RFR is a little over two rather than two because, first, slightly fewer girls are born than boys, and second, some baby girls do not survive to reproduce. But in the developing world, the RFR is usually higher, sometimes much higher, because in some countries there is a relatively high likelihood that newborn girls will not survive to their own reproductive age; also, if in a country many women undergo abortion to avoid the birth of unwanted daughters, this will also affect RFR. To bring fertility rate down to about two in these countries it would be necessary to lower the number of abortions and lower the high death rate amongst girls and young women.

What then has been happening, and what is likely to happen in future, in developing countries? As far as mortality is concerned, after World War Two, mortality declined considerably in developing world countries; this was mainly a consequence of public health action that reduced the impact of infectious diseases. But in recent decades improvements levelled off, the HIV pandemic playing a major role. With the worsening environmental conditions in some regions, and the likelihood of further worsening through the effects of climate change, further mortality reductions are not guaranteed.

And while fertility has generally been declining in developing world countries, there has been a considerable variation in the time of onset, rate, and extent of this fertility decline. Bongaarts considers that two of the key facts that emerge in his study of the fertility transition in developing countries are (R6 and see also R7):

1. Taking together those countries where fertility decline has proceeded for a long time with a considerable reduction in fertility, the decline of fertility slowed down in later stages of the decline (interestingly, the United Nations in its projections for future fertility change assumes for most countries that the rate of decline of fertility will be constant throughout the fertility transition rather than slowing down later on in the transition). In a few countries the slowing was dramatic in the 1990s and is now close to stalling or has stalled. The fertility transition stalled in Argentina and Uruguay; here the transition began in the first half of the twentieth century, with fertility reaching about 3 in the 1950s. But since then, there has been little change in fertility and it was still above 2.5 in 1995-2000. With Kenya there was a dramatic fall in fertility rate, but the fall stalled in the early years of the present century and births per woman remained at around 4.8 (R8). Other countries where the fertility decline stalled were Bangladesh, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Peru and Turkey (R7).

2. A certain level of human development must be reached (in particular improvements in both health and education) for any fertility transition to occur at all. Key indicators of human development here are life expectancy and literacy. And it seems likely that life expectancy needs to rise to above 70 and literacy to above 90 if fertility rate is to come down to replacement level in the near future. “Since the large majority of developing countries fall well short of these levels of human development, considerable progress will have to be made before near-replacent fertility becomes widespread”. And we add that the HIV/AIDS crisis of the last 25 years has halted or reversed much of the life-expectancy gains of earlier decades in many African countries (R9).

So it is quite possible, we think, that some developing countries may never achieve a massive reduction of fertiltiy to replacement level, and so never complete the demographic transition. As Jones wrote quite a long time ago now:
“But although the early stages of demographic transition may be observed in the Third World, there is no assurance that later stages will replicate European experience and achieve, through fertility regulation, environmentally sustainable population levels” (R10).

Nevertheless the United Nations and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis think average regional TFR will eventually reduce to below replacement level, even in Sub-Saharan Africa, the region where fertility has declined the least (R11).

d) The Second Demographic Transition

Since very roughly 1960, presently developed countries have been going through further demographic changes. The degree of commonality of these changes has led some experts to think these countries have been going through what they term the Second Demographic Transition (SDT). The SDT has the following features:
A decline of the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) not just to replacement level (2.1), but to well below replacement level, an upward trend in divorces, the postponement of marriage and parenthood, the substitution of cohabitation for marriage, an increase in extra–marital and extra cohabitational childbearing and increase in non–family living. The adoption of modern contraception, especially the pill, has played a catalytic role, giving individuals the possibility to almost completely control their reproduction (R12, R13).

These demographic changes have coincided with, and have been driven by, socio–economic trends:
Increased secularisation, an increasing number of young people enrolled in secondary and tertiary education, growing emancipation and labour participation of women, the growth of the service economy, the expansion of the welfare state, and the development of what are sometimes referred to as post material values, emphasizing self–realisation and autonomy (R12, R13).

However, when the demographic changes are examined in detail, it appears that developed countries can be divided into groups which differ in some demographic features. While some convergence of trends has occurred between all developed countries, convergence between the above mentioned groups, has been incomplete. Thus, taking all developed nations together, the average TFR fell steadily from about 2.8 in 1964 to under 1.5 in 2000. However, in 1995, while the average TFR for all developed countries was 1.58 (very much below replacement level), Southern Europe had an even lower average TFR of 1.28. And at the end of the 1990s, some countries of Europe had a TFR 60% higher than in some others (R14).

In the USA while TFR fell below replacement level in the 1970s, it later increased again and since about 1990 has been roughly around replacement level (R5). In Sweden the TFR dropped from almost 2.5 in the mid–1960s to about 1.7 around 1980, and then increased again to above the replacement level in 1990, after which it fell back to below 1.7 over the subsequent six years (R6). There has also been variation between nations in sociological variables. For example, Mediterranean countries have relatively low levels of cohabitation (R12)

e) International migration in recent times

Over the last 35 years, the number of international migrants worldwide has more than doubled. And at the start of the 21st century, one out of every 35 persons worldwide was an international migrant. In 2002, almost one in every 10 persons living in the more developed regions of the world was a migrant (R16 & 17). Indeed, since 1960, the more developed regions of the world have experienced a gain in population through net immigration from the less developed regions, and this net gain increased over this period (net immigration is the balance of gross immigration and gross emigration). By the 1990–2000 period, the more developed regions were gaining about 2.6 million persons annually through net international migration (RR15) and this migration was accounting for two thirds of the population growth in these regions (R16 & 17).

f) The future

The growth of the world population is now slowing down, but the total population will still increase massively in the near future.

The world population is projected to increase by 2.6 billion from 2005, to reach 9.1 billion in 2050. This additional population is equivalent in size to the combined present day populations of China and India! During this period there will be little change in the population of the more developed regions of the world, most of the population growth taking place in developing countries. By 2050, 86 per cent of the world population is expected to be living in the less developed regions of the world (R15). Now the UN prepares various projections of future population growth, which have different assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration. The above information comes from the medium variant which is considered to be the variant which is most likely to correspond to future population changes.

The urban population of the world is continuing to grow faster than the total world population. In 2003 about 48 per cent of the world population lived in urban settlements. By 2030, the world urban population, 3 billion in 2003, is expected to grow to five billion. In contrast, the rural population during the same period is expected to decline slightly from 3.3 billion to 3.2 billion (R18).

International migration is projected to remain high during the first half of the present century, although after 2010 net migration to the more developed regions of the world is expected to continue at a lower level than recently, around 2.1 million a year instead of the high 2.6 million experienced in the 1990–2000 period. The more developed regions are expected to remain net receivers of international migrants, the major net receiving countries being (annual numbers) USA (1.1 million), Germany (204,000), Canada (201,000), the UK (133,000), Italy (120,000) and Australia (100,000). The countries with the greatest net emigration are projected to be China (–333,000), Mexico (–304,000), India (–245,000), the Philippines (–180,000), Pakistan (–173,000) and Indonesia (–168,000) (R15).

References

R1. Livi-Bacci, M.(2001). A concise history of the world population. Blackwell.

R2. Population Reference Bureau Staff (2004). Transitions in world population. Population Bulletin 59, 1.

R3. US Census Bureau (2006). Population clocks.

R4. Population Reference Bureau (2006). 2006 World Population Data Sheet.

R5. Woods, R. (1982). Theoretical Population Geography. Longman.

R6. Bongaarts, J. (2002). The end of the fertility transition in the developing world. Working Paper 161. Population Council.

R7. Bongaarts, J. (2005). The causes of stalling fertility transitions. Working Paper no. 204. Population Council .

R8. Westoff, C. F.& Cross, A. R. (2006). The stall in the fertility transition in Kenya. USAID.

R9. Ashford, L.S. (2006). How HIV and AIDS affect populations. PopulationReference Bureau.

R10. Jones, H. (1990). Population Geography (2nd edition). Paul Chapman.

R11. Lutz, W. et al (eds) (2004). The end of world population growth in the 21st century. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

R12. Lesthaeghe, R. (1995).The second demographic transition in western countries: an interpretation. In Mason, K.O. & Jensen, A.M. (eds.). Gender and family change in industrial countries. Clarendon press, Oxford pp. 17–62.

R13. Sobotka, T. et al. (2003). Demographic shifts in the Czech Republic after 1989. A Second Demographic Transition view. European Journal of Population 19: 249–277.

R14. Coleman, D.A. (2002). Populations of the industrial world – a convergent demographic community? International. Journal of Population Geography 8:319–344.

R15. United Nations. (2004). World population prospects. The 2004 revision.

R16. United Nations (2003). International Migration report 2002.

R17. International Organization for Migration (2003). Migration policy issues no.2.

R18. United Nations. (2004). World urbanization prospects. The 2003 revision.



 

r). The European section of the Population Trends page as it was before October 2008

Europe

Contents
a) Introduction
b) The global context
c) Population size and density
d) Non-national populations in the EU member states
e) Past population growth
f) net migration into the EU-15 and the EU-25
g) International labour migration
h) The future change in size of the European population
i) The changing age composition of the population
References

 

a) Introduction

This section of the page deals with the countries which belong to the European Union (EU). Information will sometimes cover the old 15 member EU (referred to as EU–15) and sometimes the new 25 member EU (referred to as EU–25).

b) The global context

The EU–25 share of the total world population fell from 12.4 per cent in mid-1960 to 7.3 per cent in mid-2002. The total fertility rate (TFR) in the EU-25 is now amongst the lowest in the world, and the EU-25 contribution to annual world population increase dropped from well over 2 per cent in 1960 to below 1 per cent by 2002. While since the early 1960s the total world population had more than doubled (3 to 6.2 billion), the EU-25 population increased by 75 million only (R1).

In mid-2002, with an estimated population of 453 million, the EU-25 had a far smaller population than both China (1,279 million) and India (1,034 million) (R1).

c) Population size and density

At the beginning of 2004, there were 458.6 million people living in EU–25, 384.5 in the EU-15, and 74.1 million belonging to the ten new member states (R2).
It is estimated that by the beginning of 2005, the total EU-25 population had increased to 459.5 million, the EU-15 population to 385.4 million, but the number of people belonging to the ten New Member states remained at 74.1. Germany was the country with the largest population (82.5 million), followed by France (60.6 million), the UK (60 million) and Italy (58.5 million). Of the new member states Poland made the biggest contribution to the total EU population (38.2 million) followed by the Czech Republic (10.2 million) and Hungary (10.1 million). And it is estimated that by the beginning of 2006 the total EU-25 population had risen further to 461.5 million (R3).

In 2000, the population densities (persons per square kilometre) of Western, Southern, Northern (which includes the UK) and Eastern Europe were 168.6, 112.5, 57.2 and 16.4 respectively, compared with a global average of 46.5.
Within the EU, by far the most densely populated country was Malta (1216). But in mainland Europe the highest densities were The Netherlands (469), Belgium (339), UK (243) Germany (236). The least dense countries were Sweden (22), Finland (17), Norway (15) (R4, R3 tables 13 & A16).

d) Non-national populations in the EU member states

The total number of non-nationals living in the European Union (EU) is very large - around 25 million in 2004, but this is only about 5.5 percent of the total population. Actually, the percentage of the total population varies from less than 1 percent in Slovakia to 39 percent in Luxembourg; but most countries have between 2 and 8 percent.

With the exception of Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland and Cyprus, the majority of foreigners in EU states are citizens of non-EU-25 countries. The number of citizens from the 10 new member states that live in the EU-15 is, in percentage terms, very small - about 0.2 percent of the total EU-15 population; the largest proportion is in Germany - about 0.6 percent.

The size and composition of the foreign populations in EU states strongly reflect geographical proximity, recent labour migration and political developments, and historical links. For example, the largest non-national group in Germany is Turkish, in Portugal it is citizens of former colonies (R5).

e) Past population growth

Between 1960 and 2003, the EU–25 population grew by 77.3 million people. Of this total, the EU–15 countries account for 64.7 million, the ten new Member States, 12.6 million. And as we mentioned earlier, In January 2004, the EU-25 population stood at 456.9 million (R6).

However, between the 1960s and the second half of the 1980s the annual population growth strongly declined, with this decline being stronger in the EU–15 than in the ten new Member States. Of the two causes of population increase, natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration, up to the 1990s, natural change was by far the major component of population growth in EU–25. So the decline of population growth was entirely due to the decrease in natural growth. After 1990, net migration became the major component of population growth (R1).

f) Net migration into the EU–15 and the EU-25

Net migration as far as EU–15 is concerned, was almost zero in 1960. Then during the 1960s, gross emigration increasingly came to exceed gross immigration. Then this tend was reversed. By the mid 1970s gross immigration was exceeding gross emigration. This net immigration (inward migration) then continued to grow during the rest of the 20th century and is continuing in the present century. Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK received 71 per cent of the net inflow in 2003:

 

net inflow of migrants

This Pie Diagram is reproduced from page 53 of R8 (Eurostat yearbook 2004), by kind permission from the Copyright Office of the European Communities, for which we are very grateful.

Net immigation into the EU-25 is estimated to have been 1.707 million in 2002, 2.092 million in 2003 ,1.852 million in 2004, and 1.691 million in 2005, i.e. slightly less than in 2004 (R3 and R8).

For a detailed study of international migration between the rest of the world and Europe and within Europe, see R9.

g) International labour migration

It has proved difficult to classify the large variety of labour migration. Also there is some lack of between–country comparability of statistics, and emigration statistics are frequently absent. And then there is illegal immigration, about which Salt and Clarke write: "no one knows the size of the illegal population stocks or flows across Europe or in individual countries" (R10). Note, in the following brief account 'foreign' persons may either be persons from another country within the European Union, or from further afield.

Nevertheless, it is possible to conclude that the inflow of foreign labour into Western European Countries has increased in most (not all) countries since 1995, with Germany and the UK showing large individual increases (table 1.1 in (R11). Thus for Germany the inflow (in thousands) was 270.8 in 1995, rising to 275.5 in 1998 and 333.8 in 2000 (no data given beyond 2000). For the UK the figures for 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2002 were 51.0, 68.0, 86.5 and 99.0 respectively. However, according to this set of data, the inflow has apparently fallen in Spain from 126.4 in 1996 to 91.6 in 1999 (the last year for which information was given).

In the absence of good comprehensive figures for labour flows, statistics on the flows of working–age persons may be used as a proxy. A study was made of percentage change per annum of immigration of the working–age foreign population in 12 countries (from the EU–15 plus Iceland and Norway, unfortunately not including Germany and the UK), over a period which varied form country to country, from the mid 1990s to between 1998 and 2001. This showed there was an increase in most countries. However there were large increases in only three countries (by far the biggest increase was in Spain), and three countries showed a decrease (Table 1.5 in R10).

There are significant differences between the picture given by the labour migration figures, and the picture given by the working–age figures (e.g. Spain). The authors give reasons for these differences, and they are inclined to think the working–age figures may give the better indication of the real scale of labour migration.

Now in all countries foreigners have a significantly higher rate of unemployment that the native peoples. Wanner (R11) considered that this "questions the capacity of European States to enable their migrants to integrate professionally and socially in the host country". Further, inequalities of employment access between nationals and immigrants, "can lead to social segregation of certain migrant populations following from problems of poverty".

Details of demographic trends such as fertility can be found in R1 and R12, the latter having excellent supporting coloured maps. Some breakdown of foreign labour is given in terms of whether or not it originated in the European Economic Area (R10) or in terms of nationality or world region (R11). Estimates of the foreign component of national labour forces 2000 -2001 are given in R13.

h) The future change in size of the European population

There are considerable uncertainties about future population trends. A significant factor here is the increasing difficulty of actually counting the existing population as population movement (to and from the EU and between member states of the EU) is greater than ever before (R14).

The European Union (EU) produces projections of possible future population growth in the European Union (R15). For these projections assumptions are made about the three determinants of population size change, namely fertility, mortality and migration. For example, with migration, account is taken of the likely impact of EU enlargement. But the projections do not take account of possible future measures that might influence demographic trends (for example, if the EU was to introduce some programme to deliberately encourage larger families). Collectively the projections are named 'trend' and the seven individual projections are called 'variants'. These variant projections differ from each other in the assumptions made. The projection period is up to 2050.

The variants all show the total EU population continuing to increase slowly for a while, then all except one variant show the population entering into decline during the projection period. Starting with the EU-215 population at the beginning of 2004 of 456.8 million, the spread of population sizes between the variants at 2050 is from 388.1 million to 529.0 million.

Of the two causes of population growth, natural change (the balance between births and deaths) continues at present, but sooner or later, deaths will come to outnumber births so natural change will then take a negative value. The other cause of population growth, net international migration, is currently playing an increasing role in causing total population growth, but in the EU's view, while it will postpone the eventual total population decline for a while, it will not continue to do so indefinitely.

i) The changing age composition of the population

1. Introduction

It is people within the working age groups who are the principle drivers of the economy. At the same time, younger people, and old people, require the support of the working people. So changing age composition has important economic implications. It is important here to be clear on the terminology used in studies of age composition of any population.
For a view on the implications of changing age structure in populations see our essay "The demographic dividend" attached to the analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page. For an assessment of the issues associated with population ageing see R16.

2. Terminology

While of course not all people of working age are actually employed, the change of age composition in a population is usually expressed in terms of the relative size of the working age population (sometimes defined as 15–64, sometimes as 20–59) to the size of the younger, and the older age groups. Ratios commonly calculated are the young age dependency ratio (YDR), and the old age dependency ratio (ODR).
The European Commission defines the two terms as follows.
The young age dependency ratio (YDR) is the number of people aged under 20, expressed as a percentage of the population aged 20–59.
The old age dependency ratio (ODR) is the number of people aged 60 and over, expressed as a percentage of the population aged 20–59.
If we add up the young age and old age dependency ratio, we get the total age dependency ratio (TDR), i.e. the number of people aged 0-19 and 60 and over expressed as a percentage of the population aged 20-59.

Sometimes the relationship between working age and older age populations is expressed as the potential support ratio (PSR). Thus if we take the working aged population to be 15–64, the PSR is the ratio of the number of people in the working age groups (15–64) to people who are 65 or over (population 15–64 divided by population 65+).

3.Change in the European Union

The European population has been getting older in the sense that old people are becoming a larger percentage, and young people a smaller percentage of the the total population. We focus first on older persons and more particularly those aged 65 and over. In very recent times the share of the total population of persons aged 65 and over in the EU-25 increased from 15% in 1995 to 17% in 2005. In 2005, Germany and Italy had the highest proportions - both 19%, Ireland the lowest - 11%. Projections have the number of persons aged 65 and over in the EU-25 increasing to about 30% by 2050 (R1 and R17). The actual number of older persons is projected to double between 1995 and 2050, to reach 135 million (R17). Turning to the young population, the population aged up to 14 years decreased from 18.8% in 1993 to 16.5% in 2004 (R8).

At the beginning of 2003, the population of the ten new member states was slightly younger, on average, than in the EU-15 countries. Consequently the accession of the ten new member states has had a small rejuvenating effect on the total EU-25 population. The accession caused the proportion of young people aged under 20) to rise from 22.4 to 22.8%, and the proportion of elderly people (aged 60 and over) declined from 22.2 to 21.5% (R1).

Looking now at the situation in terms of dependency ratios, in the European Union, the YDR has been decreasing, while the ODR has been increasing. With the YDR, the decrease has been in both the former EU–15 and the new Member States.
Between 1970 and 2003 the YDR fell from 64 to 40 per cent, and from 68 to 44 per cent in the EU–15 and the new Member States respectively. Within the EU–25, the YDR is at present highest in Cyprus and Ireland (both 51 per cent) and lowest in Italy (35 per cent) (R1).

In contrast to the YDR, the ODR has been rising. Between 1960 and 2003 the ratio went up from 29 to 40 per cent, and 22 to 32 per cent in the EU–15 and the new Member States respectively. So the ratio is significantly higher in the former EU–15 than in the new Member States (R1).

For the countries that now make the EU-25, the TDR has decreased from nearly 100 in the mid 1970s to a level below 80 in 2003. It seems that Sweden now has the highest (87 per cent) followed by the three Baltic States. The lowest ratios are in the Czech Republic (70 per cent) and Slovenia (71 per cent) (R1).

References

R1. Eurostat (2004). Theme 3 population and social conditions. Population Statistics.

R2. Eurostat (2004). Portrait of the European Union 2005.

R3. Eurostat (2006). Statistics in focus 1/2006.

R4. United Nations (2004). World population to 2300.

R5. Eurostat (2006). Statistics in focus 8/2006.

R6. Eurostat (2005). Portrait of the European Union 2006.

R7. Eurostat (2004). Eurostat yearbook 2004. The statistical guide to Europe. Data 1992–2002.

R8. Eurostat (2005). Europe in figures.Eurostat yearbook 2005.

R9. Salt, J. et al (2000). Patterns and trends in international migration in Western Europe. Eurostat theme 3. European Commission.

R10. Salt, J. & Clarke, J. (2004). International labour migration towards and within Europe. In J. Salt et al “International labour migration”. Coucil of Europe Publishing.

R11. Wanner, P. (2004). Migrants in the labour force. In J. Salt et al “International labour migration”. Coucil of Europe Publishing.

R12. Council of Europe Publishing (2003). Recent demographic developments in Europe.

R13. Münz, R. & Straubhaar, T. (2006). Migrants and the European labor market. In Papademetriou, D. G. (ed) “Europe and its immigrants in the 21st century”. Migration Policy Institute.

R14. Jones, J. & Chappell, R. (2004). European wide issues in population statistics. Population Trends 118: 17–22.

R15. Eurostat (2006). Statistics in focus. 3/2006.

R16. De Santis, G. (2001). Population ageing in industrialized countries: challenges and issues. Policy and research paper no. 19, International Union for the scientific study of population. (IUSSP).

R17. Eurostat (2006). News release 129/2006



 

q).

Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

NB. Late October 2007. The demographic picture of the future UK population has changed considerably since this page was last updated at the end of 2006 (see for example, the news item on our News page for 23-10-07). This UK section of the page will be revised during the winter 2007–2008.

Contents
a) Introduction
b) Key Points
c) Population growth in the past
d) Recent international migration
e) Projections of future population growth and net immigration
f) Changing population distribution within the UK
g) The ageing of the population and associated problems
h) Changing size, composition and distribution of the ethnic minority population
i) Fears of ethnic replacement or swamping, and threats to national identity and sovereignty, and national security
j) Acknowledgements
References
Appendix

 

a) Introduction

The basic source of information here is the Office for National Statistics (ONS). See the Population and Migration section of the web site http://www.statistics.gov.uk The ONS produces press releases, brief summary reports, and more in depth regular publications such as Population Trends, the Series PP2 National Population Projections and the Series MN International Migration.

In the following account, note that some records refer to Great Britain (GB), that is England, Scotland and Wales, others to the United Kingdom (UK), that is Great Britain together with Northern Ireland. Note however, that in terms of total numbers, the vast majority of people in the UK live in GB. For example, estimates of the 2001 population put the UK and GB populations as, respectively 59.1 million and 57.4 million (R1).

Note also that ONS sometimes uses mid-year population estimates, sometimes end of year estimates. It is important to bear this in mind. For example, in Population Trends 123 (Spring 2006) and the article there on national population projections, there is a figure 1 which graphs total net migration over a period of years. Later in the same volume there is a table 7 that gives actual data on total net migration. If one plots the data in this table as a graph, the shape of the graph does not coincide exactly with the shape of the graph in figure 1, although the general trend of total net migration is the same. The reason for the discrepancy is that figure 1 uses mid-year population estimates, whilst table 7 uses end of year estimates.
To illustrate the differences that occur between between graphs based on the alternative sets of data, we show, in the Appendix, population projection graphs based on mid-year and end of year data.
Finally, population projections normally work in terms of mid-year data.

Fig.1

The growth of the United Kingdom population and the Net International Migration (that is the difference between gross immigration and gross emigration)

 

graph of population growth and migration

Data sources (ONS). Population: Population Trends 124, table 1.1 (mid-year data). Migration: Population Trends 124 table 7.1 (end of year data).

 

b) Key Points

a)  The UK population grew from about 22.3 million in 1851 to 60.2 million in 2005.

b)  73 per cent of the growth of the GB population 1991–2001 was caused by the non–white (minority) populations.

c)  The total ethnic minority population of GB, while still comparatively small, has grown massively in the last half century from 0.2 million in 1951 to 3.0 million in 1991, and as a proportion of the total GB population, from 0.4 per cent in 1951 to 5.2 per cent in 1991, and it continues to grow. And the increase in the numbers of people from different ethnic backgrounds and countries is one of the most significant changes in Britain since the 1991 Census.

d) Considering age groups in England, with the young age groups (0-15 years), what stands out most is the much higher percentage of the population in these age groups in all the 'Mixed' ethnic groups compared with the White groups. All the Asian groups also have a higher proportion of their populations in these age groups compared with the White groups, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups a much higher proportion.

e) All the non-White ethnic groups have a greater proportion of the population in the 15-44 year age groups ('breeding age groups') than the White: British group. Considering the older age groups (65/60+), the White: British has the largest percentage of its population in these groups than any other group apart from the White: Irish group

f) Migrants have a younger age profile than the resident population, around a half of international migrants are aged between 25 and 44, so they fall within the working and breeding age groups.

g) Fertility rate varies considerably between ethnic groups. The White: British fertility rate is well below replacement level. The Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups have a very high fertility rate, well over replacement level (and the Pakistani group is one of the largest of the non-White groups). These two groups are predominantly Muslim. Now Muslims in Britain tend to retain their religious affiliation over generations, and religious people tend to have larger families than non- religious families or families with weak religious affiliation.

h) Both inward and outward international migration have increased over the last two decades, during which time there has been a net outflow of British, and a net inflow of non–British persons.

i)  During the last decade, international migration has become increasingly significant as a cause of UK population growth; in the year to mid-2004, it contributed about two-thirds of the UK's annual population increase, and its contribution was slightly higher during each of the previous five years.

j)  The UK population is forecast to continue to grow up to 2071, by which time it will have reach 70.5 million.

k) During the next several decades, continued net immigration will prevent the decline of the UK population that would otherwise have taken place, a decline that is desirable on carrying capacity grounds.

l)  For a long time, there has been a substantial movement of people from more urban areas towards more rural areas.

m)  For decades there has also been a significant movement of people from the north to the south in England, although this has varied considerably between years, and recently the trend was reversed.

n)  The various movements of population within England, and international migration, are all causally linked, with London having a pivotal role.

o)  London and its surroundings has so grown physically and in terms of economic importance, that England may now be conceptualised as consisting of a Greater London in the south and a provincial archipelago of city islands to the north.

p)  The UK population is getting older and will continue to do so.

q)  Fears of ethnic replacement (swamping), and loss of social cohesion, national identity and sovereignty, are unjustifed in the short term, justified in the long term.

r)  Persons belonging to terrorist networks are now present throughout the UK.

 

c) Population growth in the past

Up to about the middle of the 18th century, the population of GB had grown at a low rate, with various fluctuations. Then around the middle of the 18th century the growth of the population accelerated (R2–4). We know that the UK population was roughly 22.3 million in 1851, 38.2 million in 1901, 50.2 million in 1951 (R5) over 59 million in 2001, and in mid-2005, 60.2 million, of which 50.4 million lived in England (R6).
Fig.1 above shows the population growth in recent decades.

Now, a report by R. Lupton and A. Power notes that considering the GB population, the total population grew by 4 per cent in the 1990s. But if population is disaggregated by ethnic group, the report shows that 73 per cent of this total GB population growth came from the growth of the non–white populations.(R7). We return to ethnic population growth in section (h) below.

Now national population growth is caused by natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. And the main cause of the increase in the UK population has been natural increase, immigration from outside the British Isles, at least between the 11th Century and the Second World War, playing only a minor role in the development of the total population size despite a few notable immigration episodes (R8). Actually from the 17th to the mid–20th Century, the UK has been a nation of emigrants, not immigrants; this then changed (R8–10). And during the recent decade the UK has been gaining population through net migration (gross immigration minus gross emigration) as well as through natural increase (R11). See Fig.1 above and the next section). In fact, “in the year to mid-2004 international migration contributed approximately two-thirds of the UK's annual population increase; this is slightly less than each of the previous five years”(R55).

d) Recent international migration

Migration estimates are based on the International Passenger Survey (interviews with a small percentage of persons entering or leaving the UK), data on migration between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and information from the Home office on expected numbers of asylum seekers granted leave to remain in the UK.

Both inward and outward international migration have increased in recent years, but immigration has come to exceed emigration, i.e. in recent years there has been net immigration (R14, R15 and see Fig. 1 above). And over the decade to 2002, gross immigration was 3.9 million people while gross emigration was 2.8 million people; so there was a net inflow of over one million (R13). Here are figures for net international migration in recent years, using end of year data (R14 and R15, table 2.1; see also R.32 and R 51).

UK Net International Migration 1993–2004 (thousands)
year 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
numbers -1 +77 +75 +54 +47 +139
year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
numbers +163 +163 +172 +153 +151 +223

Now on the second of November 2006, the official international migration estimates for 2005 were released (R53) . An estimated 185,000 more people entered than left in 2005, i.e. the net migration was 185,000. This is, on average, equivalent to the addition of 500 people a day. This net inflow was lower than the estimate for 2004, as can be seen by comparison with the 2004 figure in the above table, but it was still higher than all the other years since the current method of estimating total international migration began in 1991. The recent increase in net international migration to the UK has caused migration to become much more important in determining UK population increase.

The estimated gross inflow and gross outflow in 2005 were 565,000 and 380,000 respectively. In terms of citizenship, the pattern seen in recent years of net in-migration of foreign citizens and net out-migration of British citizens (see section h3 below) continued. An estimated 198,000 British citizens emigrated from the UK in 2005.

Effects of recent European enlargement.

In May 2004 ten countries joined the European Union. Of these, the following are generally referred to as the 'A8':

  • Czech republic
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

This enlargement of the EU had a very significant effect on recent international migration. The estimated number of A8 citizens migrating to the UK for a period of at least a year increased from 52,000 in 2004 to 80,000 in 2005. The explanation given for this is that the year 2005 was the first full calendar year after the May accession for which migration by A8 citizens could be estimated. Analysis showed that with long-term immigration of A8 citizens since the second half of 2004, there has been a fairly consistent inflow of about 40,000 every six months. In terms of net inflows, In 2005, 64,000 more citizens of the A8 countries migrated long-term to the UK than left, and this was a clear increase from 2004 (49,000) (R53).

Now prior to the enlargement, the UK Home Office (HO) forecasted that the effects on immigration would be “relatively small, at between 5,000 and 13,000 per year up to 2010” (R16). How wrong the HO was! The actual influx was mainly from Poland - estimated to have been more than 350,000 in 2004 and 2005. David Coleman, Professor of Demography at Oxford University is reported to have said “from one country in a very short space of time, it must be the largest influx we have ever seen”. Other east European nationalities have also been arriving, in quite large numbers - Slovaks (36,355), and Lithuanians (44,715). It is noteworthy that while most EU countries blocked citizens of the new member states from migrating in search of work until 2009, Britain opened its doors (R12). It should however be emphasised that many of the people from east European countries did not stay long (R49).

Finally, the figures for net immigration given earlier ignore illegal immigration, for the simple reason that no accurate figures are available for such immigration. However, the HO, in 2005, did finally produce an estimate of the total illegal migrant population in 2001 (R18). The components of this total population were 1) illegal entrants, 2) persons who exceeded their valid 'leave to remain' period, and 3) failed asylum seekers who did not comply with instructions to leave the UK. The HO gave a 'central' estimate of 430,000, within a range of 310,000 to 570,000. This same report gave an estimate of the total foreign-born population in the UK in April 2001 of 3.6 million.

e) Projections of future population growth and net immigration

A preliminary note on the nature of projections and forecasts. One can never know exactly how many people there were in the UK in past years. But the population can be estimated. As far as future populations are concerned, it is possible to estimate what the population size will be (or the net migration will be) if we make any particular set of assumptions about natural increase (fertility and mortality) and migration. But one can make many such estimates, since one can make various alternative assumptions. So there is no one 'estimate' of population size or net migration for any particular year. It is important to realize the limitations of medium term (such as up to say 2040 in the present case), and especially long term, population projections.As one demographer put it in 1981, we can think of useable forecasts for the next five to 20 years, but virtually no information at all on populations 100 years hence (R20).
Strictly speaking, a projection is a set of calculations which show how a population will develop when certain assumptions about the future course of fertility, mortality and migration are made. A forecast, on the other hand, is a projection in which assumptions are chosen which it is thought will yield a realistic picture of the probable future development of the population (R21).

1. Population projections.

The latest set of population projections (R22) have the population of the United Kingdom (UK), 59.8 million in 2004, rising to reach 67.0 million by 2031, an increase of over seven million. Beyond 2031 the population is projected to continue to rise, but at a lower rate of growth, reaching 70.5 million in 2071 (table 1.1 in R22), a masive increase of 10.7 million from 2004!

Now as we noted earlier, population growth is caused by natural change (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. Now 57 per cent of the population growth 2004-2031 is attributable to net international migration. But towards the end of the projection period, deaths will come to exceed births, continued population growth then being maintained only by net international migration.

The figures given so far belong to what is termed the Principal Projection, but variant projections have also been prepared that make different sets of assumptions. Even by 2031, these variant projections give the total population as between 64 million and 72 million, a very wide range of possibilities.

Now the current projections, published this year (2006) are 2004 data based. These follow interim 2003-based projections published in 2004, and 2002-based projections published earlier in 2004. Each projection has 'upped' the future population growth as can be seen from the following table which gives estimates of the 2031 population ('principal projection' data from ONS 'Population Trends' 115, 118 and 123).

Estimates of population at 2031 (millions)
2002-based 2003-based 2004-based
64.8 65.7 67.0

And the following graph gives the 2002-based and the 2004-based principal projections.

Fig. 2
projections 2006-2074
 
The lower graph is the 2002-based projection; the upper graph, the 2004-based projection
Projections based on data in National Population Projections, Appendix 1, in Series PP2 No. 24 (2004) and Series PP2 No. 25 (2006), Government Actuary's Department

Now there were clearly changes in assumptions made between these two projections. These are stated as follows:
“...in the medium term, the main change is an increase in the assumptions made about future net migration. But, beyond 2029, changes made to the long-term mortality assumptions become of gradually increasing significance” (R22 page 13).

The changes in assumptions between the interim 2003-based projections and the 2004-based assumptions are stated elsewhere as:
“The projected population of the UK at 2031 is 1.3 million (2.0 per cent) higher than in the 2003-based projections. This is due to a combination of more migrants, more births and fewer deaths” (R23, page 17).

2.Net immigration projections

Fig.3 gives details of estimated past, and projected future net UK international migration.

Fig.3
estimates to 2001, projections 2002 onwards
 
estimates to 2003, projections 2004 onwardsbr />  
These graphs are based on mid-year data. The left graph projections are 2002-based, the right graph projections 2004-based. In each graph, the red line is the trend line for the estimates that are joined together by a blue line
Projections based on ONS International Migration Series MN no.31 table 1.3 and ONS Population Trends 123 table 2 page 11, apart from data for 1991 kindly supplied by the ONS Migration Statistics Unit

Now at the time when the 2002-based projections were made, it was assumed that net immigration would reduce to 130,000 per year from 2003-2004 onwards (R1), although, as we noted in our previous (2005) version of this page, the trend for the past decade was upwards (see graph). When the 2004-based projections were produced, this long term net migration was 'upped' from 130,000 to 145,000 (R23).

f) Changing population distribution within the UK

A useful introduction is provided by the report of Champion et al (1998) on migration flows in England (R42). A prominent trend in recent decades has been what has been termed the counter–urbanisation cascade, the flow of people towards a more rural environment. People have migrated from inner cities to suburbs, large cities to small towns, urban areas to rural areas. Another important trend has been the migration of people from the north to the south of Britain, although the magnitude of this trend has fluctuated over the years, and we look later at the flow in recent years where there has been a reversal of this trend.

Of all regions in England, the South East Region with Greater London has seen the highest level of both in and out migration, but with a net outflow. Net international immigration has come to make a very significant contribution to migration flows. It seems to have been “highly focused on the inner areas of London, and a relatively small number of other places that in turn are losing population to other areas through internal migration”.

The report concludes that the various population movements in England are all linked together: “There is clear research evidence of the various population movements being linked together to form a single national urban system, notably in the form of London's pivotal role and in terms of the counterurbanisation cascade. This is a system in which international migration appears to be playing an increasingly crucial role”.

The inter–relationships of international migration and inter–regional migration (migration between the 11 standard statistical regions of GB) were investigated by Hatton and Tani (R25). They conclude that "immigration to a region of foreign nationals generates between a third and two thirds as much out–migration to other regions". They further conclude that this varies across regions – the effect seems to be larger for the southern regions, especially London, the same regions where the inflow of foreign nationals is greatest. The authors interpret their results in terms of British labour market adjustments.

A recently published study by D. Dorling and B. Thomas, based on the 1991 and 2001 censuses, paints a fascinating but very complicated picture of changes in distribution of population, household types, employment, occupation, health, poverty, car ownership and other matters between these two dates (R.26). The information is primarily presented in a series of very detailed maps of the UK.

There has been much talk in recent years of what has been called the north–south divide in England: a poorer north and a wealthier south. Associated with this has been the north to south movement of population already mentioned. The authors of the present report conclude that the north south divide has increased. They identify the dividing line as roughly running from the Severn to the Humber estuaries – it is shown in red on the map on page 187. They conceptualise things in this way. We used to think of the north and south as each consisting of a group of cities, towns, villages and countryside. The divide was to a large extent just a regional one.

Now however, the boundary lies between two places even more dissimilar from each other, a Greater London to the south and the rest. The authors use the term city structure: a dense urban core, suburbs, parks, and a rural fringe. To the south the city structures are converging as a single great metropolis (centering on London), while the north is a "provincial archipelago of city islands". So for example, the old counties of Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire are no longer counties, but rather city limits of London. And the commuter belt of the metropolis extends up to the ends of the M3 and M11, up to Leamington Spa on the M40 and to Chepstow on the M4. Half the population of the UK now lives within the immediate influence of Greater London. "Built–up Greater London now extends as far north as its suburbs of Leicester and Northampton, as far west as its edge suburbs of Bristol and Plymouth. Between these places are green fields, but they are now the parkland of this city. Hardly anyone living near those fields works on the land".

The pattern of population movements is complicated. However, the population of the metropolis has grown, and the population of the UK is slowly moving south. Thinking in terms of population density (number of people living in a district for every hectare in that district), population density has grown nationally. However, as people have moved south, densities have increased most in London and the South East. In contrast, almost all the falls in density in the UK have been outside the South East, with the largest fall being in Manchester in the north.

The economic needs of London drive the whole population and economic system. In the metropolis are found the most qualified people and the fewest with no qualifications. Indeed the centre of the metropolis swarms with university graduates. The metropolis is the financial centre, employs the bulk of managers and is the workplace of preference for professionals.

"Almost no one in the metropolis is sick or disabled in comparison with the archipelago". And "it is in the archipelago islands that people are most likely to need to care for family or friends who are ill", "where most lone parents without work are found, and where the fewest households have two earners". Yet there are fewer doctors and dentists per head in the archipelago than in the metropolis. The employment picture is complicated, but it is the north that has suffered the great upheaval of the decline in coal mining. The number of people working in skilled trades has declined, mainly in the north. Likewise the number of machine operatives have fallen, also mostly in the north.

Finally, we return to the flow of people between the north and the south. We noted at the beginning of this section, that in recent decades, the dominant trend has been a movement from the north to the south. However, in some very recent years, this trend has been reversed, and Champion (R54) gives details in his survey of the north-south flows from 1971 to 2003 to which we now turn.

Champion notes that the net north to south flow dates back at least to the early 1930s and the Great Depression, and the net flow continued in subsequent decades. In recent decades, the process has fluctuated considerably. The biggest net north to south flows occurred in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s. This was followed by a few years(1989 to 1992) where north–south and south–north flows were roughly in balance – i.e. very little net migration either north or south. Then in the 1990s the net flow north to south developed again, although net flows were not as large as they has been in in the 1970s–1980s. Then in 2001–2003 there was a significant reversal of net flows. And the north's net gain in 2003 was a little over 35,000 people.

We return to the subject of changing population distribution in the UK when we look at the distribution of ethnic minority populations in section (h) sub-section 5 later.

g) The ageing of the population and associated problems

People are living longer, and at the same time, the number of children born has declined, so the population in ageing. The proportion of the population aged 65 and over increased from 13 per cent in mid–1971, to 16 per cent in mid–2003. At the same time, during the same period, the proportion of young people, that is the population below the age of 16, has declined from 25 per cent to 20 per cent (R27). And in GB, the number of people aged 90 and over was 380,000 in 2002, more than triple the number in 1971 (R.23).

Curent projections have the number of older people increasing significantly relative to the number of younger people, with the mean age of the population rising from 39.5 years in 2004 to 43.3 years by 2031. Considering the number of children under the age of 16, this is projected to fall by 4 per cent 2004 to 2014, then slowly rise until the late 2020s. As for people of working age (16-64 for men, 16-59 for women), the number is projected to rise by 3.1 percent 2004-2010. Continuing to rise until 2020, the working age population is projected to then remain at the 2020 level (R22).

The ageing of the population is sometimes quantified using the Potential Support Ratio (PSR)(defined earlier in the European section as the ratio of the number of people in the working age groups (15–64) to people who are 65 or over). During the last (20th) century, in the UK, the PSR has fallen considerably. At the beginning of the 20th century it was 13.3. By 1950 it was down to 6.2. By 1995 it was down to 4.1. And projections tell us that under present conditions, the support ratio will fall steadily further for some time to come (R24).

Age pyramids help us to visualize changing population age distribution. In such pyramids, a population is divided into 5–year age groups stacked one above the other, with the youngest age group (0–4 year olds) at the bottom. The essay "the demographic dividend" attached to our Comment and Analysis page provides examples of age pyramids.

Now the ageing of the population has raised concerns about how to provide for the needs of older people. More specifically, how can we maintain or increase the relative size of the working age population – the backbone of economic activity – and hence the support for older people. Various approaches have been considered here. One way that has been much discussed in recent years is to increase immigration flows, because immigrants are more concentrated in the working age groups than the population as a whole, as we will now discuss.

As explained in the European section of this page, besides the potential support ratio, a commonly used ratio for expressing the relative size of the older population groups to the working age groups is the old age dependency ratio (ODR). This, in effect, is the number of older persons expressed as a percentage of the size of the working–age population. A recent study gave estimates of this ratio for the total UK born population (all ethnic groups), the total overseas–born population and various components of the overseas–born population defined in terms of geographical areas (R28). The authors here defined the older population as the pension age population, which is 65 years old and over for men and 60 years and over for women. The ODR for the UK–born population and the total overseas–born population were respectively 30.7 and 23.1 (there were big variations between different immigrant groups but that need not concern us here).

However, we need to be careful not to exaggerate the significance of migration flows to maintaining support for the aged. For immigrants are not very much younger on average than the populations they are moving into – roughly ten years on average (R.29). To bring and keep the support ratio even at its 1995 level of 4.1 would require 59.8 million migrants between 1995 and 2050, on average slightly more than a million a year, rates far in excess of what we have experienced in the past. The overall population would reach 136 million in 2050, so our population would more than double (R27). So maintaining this support ratio is a wholly unrealistic scenario (R27, R25, R30 ). See also our essay "What policy should the UK Government adopt towards immigration?" which is attached to our Comment and Analysis page.

For another brief discussion of the possible rejuvenating effect of ethnic minority immigration see the discussion on p.140 of R31.

Now there is another problem with immigration flows. Immigrants themselves age and join the old age groups so an immigration stream needs to be maintained indefinitely, with obvious consequences in terms of population growth, and therefore carrying capacity, not to mention possible adverse effects on social cohesion.

However, in considering population ageing we need to consider outward as well as inward migration. And the recent study mentioned above (R28) provides useful information. This report focuses on an analysis of the overseas–born UK population.

The report notes that by no means all immigrants stay in the UK. Many repatriate to country of origin or emigrate elsewhere. Overall, as many as 29 per cent of overseas–born immigrants emigrate within two years of arrival, and 46 per cent within five years. This significant amount of return migration coupled with continued immigration means, the authors argue, that the overall overseas–born population ages more slowly than does the UK–born population (remember that immigrants are concentrated in younger age groups). They say that this implies "the currently observed processes of immigration and emigration among UK's overseas–born immigrants will lower the UK's old–age dependency ratio in the long run as well as in the short run". The authors do not however go on to quantify this statement. And although current migration may improve the support ratio, we should not forget the basic fact that average gross immigration into the UK in the last decade has been of the order of three to four hundred thousand per year, whereas the number needed to maintain the earlier high support ratio would be about a million per year as mentioned earlier.

For an earlier discussion of the implications of immigration for the support ratio and government policies in developed (industrial) countries see the papers in the journal Population and Environment volume 22, number 4, March 2001, and R29.

h) Changing size, composition and distribution of the UK ethnic minority population.

Sub-sections
1) Census 2001 ethnic classification
2) Size and growth of the ethnic minority populations
3) Migration flows
4) Fertility, Age Structure and Religion
5) The geographical distribution of ethnic minority populations
6) The future

1). Ethnic group classification.

In this section some information will be given in terms of an ethnic group classification used in the 2001 Census, shown in the following table.

'ALL': All people
1: White: British
2: White: Irish
3: White: Other White
4: Mixed: White and Black Caribbean
5: Mixed: White and Black African
6: Mixed: White and Asian
7: Mixed: Other Mixed
8: Asian or Asian British: Indian

9: Asian or Asian British: Pakistani
10: Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi
11: Asian or Asian British: Other Asian
12: Black or Black British: Caribbean
13: Black or Black British: African
14: Black or Black British: Other Black
15:Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Chinese
16: Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Other Ethnic Group
 

2. Size and growth of the ethnic minority populations

There has been a massive increase in the total ethnic minority population in the last half century. Before the 1950s the number of non–whites in the UK was negligible, perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 people (R9).

For GB, here are some estimates of the total ethnic minority population size (in millions) and its size as a percentage of the total population over the period 1951 to 1991 (R39 and R40; see also R33):

Total Ethnic Minority population 1951–1991, in millions and percentage of GB population
year 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991
numbers 0.2 0.5 1.2 2.1 3.0
per cent 0.4 1.0 2.3 3.9 5.2

It is clear that the total ethnic minority population has grown massively between 1951 and 1991, both in terms of its total size, and in terms of its percentage of the total population.

Turning now to changes in GB during the 1990s, as noted in section (c) earlier, the total GB population grew by 4 per cent in the 1990s. But if population is disaggregated by ethnic group, the report by R. Lupton and A. Power (R7) shows that 73 per cent of this total GB population growth came from the growth of the minority populations.

There were however, big differences between ethnic groups:

The most noticeable change was in the Black African population, which, changing from 212 thousand in 1991 to to 485 thousand in 2001, more than doubled its population – an actual percentage increase of a staggering 128.7 per cent. In terms of percentage change, during the same period, the second biggest change was in the Bangladeshi population (73.7 per cent) – an increase from 163 to 283 thousand, followed by the Pakistani population (56.7 percent) – an increase from 477 to 747 thousand. In contrast, the Indian population grew by just 25.2 per cent. But in sharp contrast to all these changes, the White population grew by a mere 1.2 per cent, although being by far the largest population initially, its numerical growth was greatest.

For the UK as a whole, in 2001, 4.64 million people belonged to non–White ethnic groups, which is 7.9 per cent of the total population. Leaving out the Mixed group ethnic categories, the remaining non–White groups comprise 3.96 million, 6.7 per cent of the total population (R13).

In terms of the categories used in the 2001 census, the size of the various minority groups in the UK from the largest to the smallest in 2001 were: Indians, Pakistanis, mixed ethnic backgrounds (four sub-categories), Black Caribbeans, Black Africans, Bangladeshis, Other Asian, Chinese, Other Black. This leaves out a category "any other ethnic groups" which has a size a little smaller than Chinese. In terms of broader categories, comparing Asians (Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and "Other Asian" groups), and Blacks (Black Caribbean, Black African, Black Other), we find the Asian population is over twice the size of the Black population (4.4 per cent of the total UK population compared with 2 per cent). Without the small Chinese group, the Asian percentage becomes 4 per cent. This is a reversal of the relative sizes of the Asian and Black populations of a few decades ago.

On the basis of the Annual Local Area Labour Force Survey, 2001/02 (R41), the percentage sizes of the different ethnic group populations were as follows.

The UK population: by ethnic group, 2001/02
Group Total population % Minority ethnic population %
White 3 categories) 92.4 n/a
Mixed(4 categories) 0.8 11.0
Asian or Asian British    
Indian 1.7 21.7
Pakistani 1.3 16.7
Bangladeshi 0.5 6.1
Other Asian 0.4 5.7
Black or Black British    
Black Caribbean 1.0 13.6
Black African 0.9 12.0
Black Other 0.1 1.5
Chinese 0.3 4.2
Other 0.6 7.4
Not stated 0.2 n/a
     
All minority ethnic population 7.6 100.0
All population 100 n/a
Source: Annual Local Area Labour Force Survey, 2001/02, ONS

Ethnic minority populations are made up of persons who have been born in the UK together with persons who were foreign-born. As far as the latter component is concerned, Rendall and Salt (2006) give sizes of different groups in 2001 (R 52):

UK. Foreign-born population, 2001
Group Number (thousands)
All White Groups 2575.1
All Mixed groups 140.8
Asian or Asian British: Indian 569.8
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 336.4
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 151.6
Asian or Asian British:Other Asian 171.4
Black or Black British: Caribbean 238.5
Black or Black British: African 321.5
Black or Black British: Other Black 20.5
Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Chinese 176.2
Chinese or other Ethnic Group: 194.7
TOTAL NON-WHITE GROUPS 2321.4

Rendall and Salt note that the total foreign born population of the UK more than doubled between 1951 and 2001 - from 2.1 million to 4.9 million.

England

Rees and Butt (2004) - see R. 51 and the presentation by P. Rees - gave details for the pace of ethnic change 1981 to 1991 and 1991 to 2001 . Here the ethnic groups are classified into just the following categories: White, Black, South Asian, Chinese and Other

For both periods the percentage change for the White category was zero. But for the other groups, the pace of upward change was great. For the two periods it was (percentages):
Black: 30, 40
South Asian: 44, 41
Chinese and Other: 51, 32

We turn now to the amount of change and average annual growth rate 2001-2004. The information comes from “Population estimates by ethnic group” (PEEG), the work of P. Large and K. Ghosh in what the ONS terms 'experimental statistics': “This means that they have not yet been shown to meet the quality criteria for National Statistics, but are being published to involve users in the development of the methodology and to help build quality at an early stage”. “The acknowledged limitations of the methodology must be borne in mind when interpreting the estimates. In particular, the methodology is based on reliance on 2001 Census data for parameter estimation” (R35). The methodology is detailed in Reference 17. The estimates, for 2001–2003, were originally released in January 2006 and form the basis for Reference 35. Subsequently , after some alteration of methodology, revised estimates (now 2001–2004) were published in August 2006 (R 50, which also has details of the revised methodology).

The table below shows changes mid-2001 to mid-2004 (from data in the EE1 Tables of reference 50). The original 2003 estimates from the January data (R35) are also included to give some indication of the scale of differences between the January and August estimations.

England: Estimated mid-year population numbers of ethnic groups (thousands)
Group 2001 2002 2003 (Jan) 2003 2004
ALL groups 49449.7 49646.9 49856 49855.7 50093.1
White: British 42925.8 42844.9 42785 42777.1 42708.9
White: Irish 628.8 619.6 613 610.8 601.4
White: Other 1342.3 1398.8 1438 1444.6 1523.7
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 234.4 241.8 251 249.6 257.3
Mixed: White and Black African 78.3 83.6 90 89.6 95.2
Mixed: White and Asian 187.2 197.9 209 208.7 220.1
Mixed: Other Mixed 154.3 162.4 172 171.1 180.2
Asian or Asian British: Indian 1045.6 1077.1 1113 1115.5 1167.7
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 720 742.7 765 770.1 803
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 281.5 292.4 302 304.1 314.9
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 243.8 262.4 280 279 294
Black or Black British: Black Caribbean 569.8 574.8 584 581 585.2
Black or Black British: African 491.1 534.1 587 584.2 624
Black or Black British: Other Black 97.4 100.2 104 103.6 106.7
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Chinese 227 258.6 285 287.9 312.4
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group: Other 222.4 255.5 278 278.9 298.6

What stands out most from these estimates is that while the White: British decreased massively during the 2001-2004 period, all the other groups increased, in most cases massively, during the same period, except for the small White: Irish group.

Large and Ghosh, commenting on the earlier (January) data that covered just 2001-2003 noted that if all the 15 non-'White British' ethnic groups are lumped together, there was a pronounced difference in amount of change and average annual growth rate between the large White British group on the one hand and the non-'White British' on the other hand. The former had an average annual growth rate of -0.1 percent (minus 0.1 ) over the 2001-03 period, while the figure for the latter was 3.8 per cent. The absolute change for these two groupings were (in thousands): -100 ( minus 100) and 507.

With the revised (August) population estimates, revised average annual growth rate figures were produced. For the whole 2001-2004 period, the figure for the White British group was -0.2% (minus 0.2%). The figure for the non-'White British' was raised from 3.8% to 4.2%.

The growth rates for alll individual groups 2001 to 2004 produced with the revised methodology are given in the following table (source: “Population Estimates by Ethnic Group: 2001 to 2004: Commentary” in reference 50).

Average annual growth rate: 2001-2004 (percentages)
All people 0.4
White: British -0.2
White: Irish -1.5
White: Other White 4.3
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 3.2
Mixed: White and Black African 6.7
Mixed: White and Asian 5.5
Mixed: Other Mixed 5.3
Asian or Asian British: Indian 3.7
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 3.7
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 3.8
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 6.4
Black or Black British: Caribbean 0.9
Black or Black British: African 8.3
Black or Black British: Other Black 3.1
Chinese or other ethnic group: Chinese 11.2
Chinese or other ethnic group: Other Ethnic Group 10.3

There is clearly much variation between ethnic groups. The Chinese or other ethnic group categories stand out as having by far the highest growth rates. Of more interest as far as the future is concerned are changes for the larger ethnic groups. In order of decreasing population size, and leaving out the White: British group, these are Other White; Indian; Pakistani; African; Irish. Here the African group stands out as having the the highest growth rate.

Considering the two causes of population growth, natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and migration, the relative importance of these two causes varied considerably between ethnic goups. With the January based estimates, in the Mixed groups, growth was caused mainly by natural increase. With the Asian groups, growth of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups was primarily caused by natural increase; in contrast, the growth of the Indian and Other groups was primarily caused by net international migration. Within the Black Groups the Black African group had a high growth rate, mainly caused by international migration, while the Black Caribbean group had a low growth rate caused about equally by natural change and international migration (R.35). The August based estimates generally paint the same picture, although with the Mixed: White and Black African group international migration was almost as important as natural increase.

It is interesting to note the significance of asylum seekers for the general picture. As was noted for the January estimates, about half the growth of the Other Asian group was caused by flows of asylum seekers from Iraq and Iran. With the Black African group, more than a third of the growth was caused by asylum seekers from Somalia, Zimbawbe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.

Finally, we end with a conclusion of Lupton and Power (R7):
“The increase in the numbers of people from different ethnic backgrounds and countries is one of the most significant changes in Britain since the 1991 Census”.

Having examined the growth of ethnic minority populations, we now turn to causes of this growth, beginning with international migration.

3). Migration flows

Rendall and Ball (R28) studied migration streams in the 1980s and 1990s. They found there was considerable complexity in the composition of migration streams in terms of nation of origin of immigrants, the date of their arrival, and the extent that immigrants remained in the UK. We focus here on short term immigration and nation of origin.

The report shows that short–term immigration is commoner for people from some countries than for others. A rough generalization is expressed by the reports authors in terms of wealth: short term immigration is more associated with higher–income countries than with low–income countries.

Immigrants from the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA have relatively high rates of subsequent emigration, over 50 per cent emigrating again within five years. These are the higher–income countries. In contrast, the corresponding figure for the Indian sub–continent is well under twenty per cent. What the authors of the report do not draw our attention to however, is the long term consequences in terms of changing ethnic composition of our population. For instead of talking in terms of income, we can talk in terms of ethnic groups and re–phrase the authors conclusion: Return migration is commonest with people who originated in countries where White ethnic groups predominate, groups all of which have their cultural roots in Europe. In contrast, migrants from the Indian sub–continent have a greater tendency to stay in the UK, and they belong to non-White ethnic groups. These results have clear implications for the changing relative size in the UK of groups with a European heritage and groups with a non-European heritage.

We now leave aside the distinction between short and long term migration, and look at total migration flows into and from the UK. Two publications (R14, R15) together give us the information for the years 1993-2004. The migrant flows are divided into the categories British and non–British. The non–British are divided into the categories: European Union, Old Commonwealth, New Commonwealth, and Other Foreign (the Old Commonwealth consists of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa; the New Commonwealth includes all other Commonwealth countries, notably the countries of the Indian sub–continent, former British Africa and Caribbean territories). The two tables below give some basic data. The first quantifies the changes with all non–British groups combined together. The second table shows the estimated migration flows of different citizen categories during 2004. The data for the tables comes from table 2.1 in R14 and R15.

Net migrant flows, British and Non–British, 1993–2004 (thousands)
Year 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
British –62.7 –16.8 –51.6 –62.1 –59.8 –22.7
Non–British +61.5 +93.6 +127.0 +116.2 +106.6 +161.6
All citizenships –1.2 +76.8 +75.4 +54.1 +46.8 +138.8
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
British –22.8 –57.0 –53.0 –91.1 –85.2 –119.6
Non–British +185.8 +219.7 +224.8 +244.5 +236.2 +342.2
All citizenships +163.0 +162.8 +171.8 +153.4 +151.0 +222.6

 

Migrant flows, 2004, in terms of citizenship (thousands)
  British European Union Old Commonwealth New Commonwealth Other foreign
Inflow 88.0 117.3 76.2 143.0 157.7
Outflow 207.6 43.1 35.1 20.0 53.6
Balance –119.6 +74.1 +41.1 +123.0 +104.0

 

A striking feature of the flows estimated is that throughout the period 1993–2004 there has been a net outflow of British, and a net inflow of non–British persons. In terms of the flows of the different non–British categories, note, in the second table, the small outflow compared to the large inflow, of New Commonwealth citizens, which the publications show was characteristic of the whole 1993–2004 period (although the difference between inflow and outflow was not so pronounced in the other years). This ties in with what was said earlier about short–term immigration.
Information for the earlier period of 1981 to 1993 is given by Dobson et al (R56). Usually, in these earlier years, there was also a net outflow of British, and a net inflow of non- British citizens. And yearly outflows of New Commonwealth citizens were always much smaller than inflows. Both inward and outward gross migration have increased in the last two decades (R. 55).

Another publication that gives details of international migration by citizenship, with details of inflows, outflows and net immigration, for the period 1993-2004, is R51.
And finally, the massive net immigration into the UK in 2004, 223,000 to the nearest thousand, was “ the highest since the present method of estimation began in 1991” (R32).

4. Fertility, Age Structure and Religion

The change in size of the UK population and of individual ethnic groups within that population depends not only on migration but also on natural increase (fertility and mortality) and age structure. Mortality rate is generally low, so the focus in considering natural increase is fertility. And fertility varies between ethnic groups. Age structure is also important: Consider two populations of equal size and equal total fertility rates (TFR). Population A is a relatively young population - the greater part of that population consists of young and working age persons. Population B has a much smaller proportion of people in such groups, and a much bigger proportion of elderly people. Now it is the working age groups that supply the breeding females, so Population A has more of these than population B. There is also a correlation between religion and fertility. We will now consider fertility, age structure and religion in turn.

4a. Fertility

How then does fertility differ between ethnic groups? Generally speaking, the main minority ethnic groups have had higher fertility than the White population in the past (R.33). A recent (2002) paper by R. Penn and P. Lambert (R34) presents data from an analysis of the 1991 census by Murphy in 1996. Not only do Penn and Lambert conclude that this data shows all the main ethnic minority groups in Britain had higher fertility than the White population, but also that this difference was particularly noticeable with people whose familial origins were in the Indian sub–continent (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi). They go on to find collaborative evidence for these conclusions in a 1997 paper by T. Modood and colleagues.

The main subject of the Penn and Lambert paper is the attitudes of people to ideal family size. The study ran from 1997 to 2000 and involved the collection of information on young people aged 16–25 in Britain, France and Germany, respondents being asked to comment on ideal family size. In Britain, there were clear differences between ethnic/nationality groups. The long–term indigenous population respondents expressed a preference for two or fewer children, Indian and Pakistani respondents expressed “a far stronger preference for more than two children” although looking at the figures suggests this may possibly apply more to the Pakistani group than the Indian. The authors also write “it is generally accepted that attitudes towards ideal family size closely correlate with actual patterns of fertility”.

The more recent publication by Large and Ghosh using the January experimental statistics (R.35) dealing with populations mid-2003 paints a partly different picture They give fertility in terms of Total Period Fertility Rate (TPFR). This is similar to the Total Fertility Rate and the replacement level of the TPFR is 2.1. According to this publication, of the three Indian sub-continent groups, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups have relatively high fertility rates; however the Asian Indian group has a fertility rate lower than that of the the White British (see Fig.4a below). This finding for Indians is surprising in view of the fact that according to Penn and Lambert, as we have already noted, “it is generally accepted that attitudes towards ideal family size closely correlate with actual patterns of fertility”, and these authors report that 56 per cent of Indian respondents gave their preferred number of children as more than two. Now fertility estimates for the year to mid 2004, made using a revised methodology, and kindly supplied to us by P. Large, do decrease the difference in TPFR between the White British and the Asian Indian group by about half:

Year White British Asian Indian
2003 1.73 1.50
2004 1.74 1.62

However, this change does not alter the fact that the estimate for the Asian Indian group is way below that for the other two groups from the Indian subcontinent. So the difference of the conclusion of Penn and Lambert from that of Large and Ghosh largely remains. We are unable to resolve the problem of this difference. As the limitations of the 'experimental statistics' of Large and Ghosh we mentioned in sub-section 2 above, and the methodology of the fertility estimation, are highly technical matters, we will not discuss them here. Rather we put some notes on these matters in the Appendix at the end of this web page.

Three final comments. First, a major cause of the massive increase in fertility rate 2003-2004 (black rectangles in Fig. 4a) with the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups was the improvements in fertility estimation methodology between the January and August estimations (“Population estimates by Ethnic Group: 2001 to 2004: Commentary”, accessed from reference 50).

Second, Large and Ghosh (R 35) write that TPFR changed over the period of study. Referring to earlier work of theirs that used similar methods, they find that there had been an overall rise in TPFR between 2001 and 2003, each ethnic group sharing in this rise.

Third, the reported difference betwen India on the one hand and the other two Indian sub-continent countries is interesting because this separates a predominantly Hindu nation from predominantly Muslim nations. We will see later that religion has an effect on fertility.

Fig. 4. England. Fertility and age composition of ethnic groups

 

Fig. 4a. Estimated Fertility of Ethnic Groups 2003 and 2004

histogram
 
Colour Key. Original Estimates for 2003: red, green, purple, ochre, blue, grey. Increases for 2004: black
Ethnic group KEY

'ALL': All people
1: White: British
2: White: Irish
3: White: Other White
4: Mixed: White and Black Caribbean
5: Mixed: White and Black African
6: Mixed: White and Asian
7: Mixed: Other Mixed
8: Asian or Asian British: Indian

9: Asian or Asian British: Pakistani
10: Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi
11: Asian or Asian British: Other Asian
12: Black or Black British: Caribbean
13: Black or Black British: African
14: Black or Black British: Other Black
15:Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Chinese
16: Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Other
Ethnic Group
 
The ethnic classification is the one used in the 2001 Census
 

Fig. 4b. Percentage Age Composition of Ethnic groups 2004

histogram
 
Colour Key. Red: All groups. AGE GROUPS: ochre: 0-15; blue: 16-64/59; grey: 65/60+
Sources for Fig. 4
Fig. 4a.
Data sources for the histogram. 2003 estimates: Large, P. and Ghosh, K. (2006). “Estimates of the population by ethnic group for areas within England”. Population Trends 124, ONS.
2004 estimates: Data kindly supplied to us by P. Large
 
Fig. 4b.
The histogram is based on data in “Population estimates by ethnic group 2001-2004” Table “EE2: Estimated resident population by ethnic group, age and sex, mid-2004 (experimental statistics)”. ONS
 

4b. Age Structure
Turning to age structure (fig.4b above), we look first at the young age groups (0-15 years). What stands out most is the relatively high percentage of the population in these age groups in all the Mixed ethnic groups. All the Asian groups have a higher proportion of their populations in these age groups compared with the White groups, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups a much higher proportion. We note that the Pakistani group has the second largest total population of the non-White groups, much larger than any of the Mixed groups, so its relatively young age structure has obvious implications for the future changes in the ethnic composition of England. Now it is worth noting that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are predominantly Muslim peoples, and we see the significance of religion in the next sub-section.

With the working age groups (16-64/59), there is considerable variation between non-White ethnic groups. However, the the Mixed groups all have a lower percentage than the White: British, while the Black Caribbean, Black African and especially the Chinese: Chinese and the Chinese: Other have a much larger percentage. Of particular interest for future changes in ethnic composition in England are the percentages in what we may term the 'breeding age groups'. For present purposes we will take these to include the 15-19 age group through to and including the 40-44 age group. This grouping is not shown in the above figure. However, examination of Table EE4 for 2004 and just considering females (only females produce offspring!) shows that all of the non-White ethnic groups have a higher proportion than the White: British, usually a much higher proportion.

Considering the older age groups (65/60+), the White: British has the largest percentage of its population in these groups than any other group apart from the White: Irish group. In terms of larger group categories (White, Mixed, Asian, Chinese and other) the Mixed group stands out as having the lowest percentage of its population in this age group.

Finally: “Migrants have a younger age profile than the resident population, around a half of international migrants are aged between 25 and 44” (R19), so they fall within the working and breeding age groups.

4c. Religion
A recent government article (R37) states:
“Families headed by a Muslim are more likely than other families to have children living with them. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) had at least one dependent child in the family in 2001, compared with two fifths of Jewish (41 per cent) and Christian (40 per cent) families. Muslim families also had the largest number of children. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of Muslim families had three or more dependent children, compared with 14 per cent of Sikh, 8 per cent of Hindu, and 7 per cent of Christian families” (our bold text).

The article goes on the say that while the larger proportion of families with children and larger family sizes partly reflects the younger age structure of the Muslim population (see also R36), it may also reflect the intention of Muslims to have larger families (our bold text). Noting that many Muslims have a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background, the article says that these ethnic groups intend to have on average three children, while the White population intend two.

Now Eric Kaufmann of Birkbeck College, University of London has been studying secularisation in Europe (R38). He notes that religious people tend to have a higher fertility than non-religious people. And in an analysis of data from ten west European countries for the period 1981-2004, Kaufmann found that next to age and marital status, it was a woman's 'religiosity' (it would be better we think to use the less judgemental term 'strength of religious affiliation') that was the strongest predictor of the number of offspring she produced, and he states that many other studies have reached the same conclusion. He also argues that immigrants into Europe tend to be more religious than the host population and he states that several other studies have drawn this conclusion. Moreover, there seems to be little or no decline in 'religiosity' between immigrants and their first and second generation descendants, especially with Muslims.

As far as the native Christian population is concerned, secularisation seems to be levelling out. Turning from the Christian population to the overall religious population, Kaufmann argues that there will be a growing religious population well before 2050. This will be through a virtual cessation of apostasy from religion among those born after 1945, Muslim immigration and retention between generations of their 'religiosity', the fertility difference between secular and religious populations, and finally, females are over–represented among those under 45 who remain religious.

But the effect on ethnic proportions will be an increase in the Muslim proportion of the population in several western countries so that by 2104 non-Whites may form half the population. Austria is one of the few European countries that collect religious data in their censuses, and a recent projection of the Austrian population to 2050 concluded that the Muslim population will increase from 4.6 per cent in 2001 to between 14 and 26 per cent by 2051.

4d. Conclusions for sub-section 4.

It is clear that ethnic groups differ widely in their demographic regimes. Groups differ in the relative importance of natural increase and immigration for their growth. They differ in fertility and age structure.

Fertility varies considerably between ethnic groups, some having a lower, some a higher fertility than the White: British Group. But three of the four Asian groups, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Other, have a much higher fertility than the White: British Group. The same is true for the Mixed: White and Black African and the Black or Black British: African groups. For future changes in UK ethnic group composition, it is significant that two of these groups, namely the Pakistani and African groups, are amongst the non-White groups with the largest populations. Strenght of religious affiliation affects fertility.

All the non-White ethnic groups have a greater proportion of the population in the 'breeding ages' and a lower proportion in the elderly age classes than the White: British group, while most of the Mixed, Asian and Black groups have a higher proportion in the young age groups (under 16) than the White: British, in the case of the Asians, this applies especially to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups.

Muslim families tend to have the largest number of children. We note that the Pakistani group is a predominantly Muslim group and this group is the second largest non-White group at present.

Immigration of persons belonging to Muslim groups, and retention of religious affiliation across generations in Muslim groups, will probably cause future increase in the Muslim proportion of the total population.

5. The geographical distribution of ethnic minority populations

The report by D. Dorling and B. Thomas (R26) discussed earlier in section (f), provides an interesting insight to the distribution of ethnic minority populations in the UK in the section covering both religion and ethnicity.

In this report each religious and ethnic group is considered separately. A complicating factor is that the categories offered to people to identify themselves by were not identical in the 1991 and 2001 censuses. In particular, in 2001, several mixed white and other groups were offered as categories.

Ethnic minorities remain heavily concentrated in urban areas, particularly in London (however, there has been some spread from cities to more distant suburbs, small towns and more rural areas, and we will return to this movement later). People of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin remain very concentrated in areas of initial settlement. Not only are ethnic minorities concentrated in urban areas, but they are concentrated in just a few particular districts; the magic number here is 13. Again and again we read that roughly fifty per cent of a particular ethnic group live in just 13 districts. These are concentrated in London, but also occur in several midland and northern cities. In terms of religion, the two largest non–Christian religions are Islam and Hinduism. The majority of Muslims live in urban areas in just 20 districts, Hindus live predominantly in suburban areas, and mainly in 13 districts.

One thing that stands out in the maps is the changing percentage of the White ethnic group in different districts (nationally the White population decreased from 94.4 per cent to 92.1 per cent). Here it is better to look not at the maps on page 45 but the replacement maps given in the replacement map pages supplied separately to the main document. Compare these maps with any map of the UK showing the size and distribution of cities and towns. You can then see that the greatest falls in the white percentages have occurred in larger urban areas.

A final word about how the report describes the distribution of ethnic groups in the UK. The introductory section of the chapter on religion and ethnicity says:

"The UK remains a White desert with a few oases of colour" (page 36). Now the word desert is associated with barrenness and desolation. The word oasis is associated with renewal, and high productivity. We may wonder what would have been the reaction if the authors had contrasted the distribution of Whites and ethnic minorities in some opposite fashion – there would have been an outcry and they would have been accused of being racist and fascist. White people are entitled to object to this unnecessary depiction of race. However, there is unlikely to be any adverse reaction to how the authors describe things from the politically correct establishment which in our view is in power generally in the UK.

We return now to the report by Lupton and Power (R7) mentioned earlier, as it provides detailed information on the distribution of the ethnic minority populations in GB at the time of the 2001 census and changes in these populations since the 1991 census.

In 2001, ethnic minorities were concentrated in large urban areas. However, each ethnic group was, in geographical terms, concentrated differently. For example, the Pakistani population was strongly represented in Manchester, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, and midland cities, with a smaller proportion of the population in London than was the case for Indians. In contrast, the Black Caribbean population was heavily concentrated in London, and to a lesser extent in Birmigham. Through this concentration of ethnic minorities in large urban areas, most local authorities in GB had minority populations at, or more usually below, the national average.

Since 1991, the increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities has been widespread in GB, occurring in virtually every local authority area. However, in numerical terms, the greatest increases have occurred where minorities were already concentrated, that is mainly inner urban areas. “This has led to the greatest percentage point increases in minority ethnic groups as a share of population in the areas where they were already well established. In inner urban areas, this trend has been accompanied by a continuing decline in white population, leading to significant changes in overall ethnic composition”.

The authors were unable to say to what extent settlement patterns of ethnic minorities were through choice or constraint. “Nor can we say how much of the loss of white populations from inner urban areas is 'white flight' from areas that are becoming dominated by minority groups, or a product of the natural ageing of white communities, or a product of out-movement for other reasons”.

Champion (54) confirms that the increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities has been widespread. In terms of the UK's 434 districts in 2001, 244 registered an increase in non–White population due to within–UK migration. However, he points out that things are more complicated than the simple generalisation of Whites moving out of areas as non–Whites move in, and the associated notion of 'white flight'. He writes that “many of these 244 districts also had net inflows of White people”. Further, “a fair number of districts – but especially London boroughs – that lost White population through their migration exchanges with the rest of the UK during this one-year period were also losing non–Whites through this process”.

The paper by Large and Ghosh (R35) adds further information about recent (2003) ethnic population structure in different areas and change over the period mid–2001 to mid–2003, with particular reference to the main regions of England. These regions ('Government Office Regions' or GORs) are nine in number:
North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West.

London still has the greatest number, the greatest concentration of peoples of the non–'White British' population, although the proportion of the total non–'White British' that is found in London fell from 44.7 per cent in 2001 to 42.5 per cent in 2003. Of all the nine regions of England, London has shown the lowest annual growth rate of the non–'White British' population. The two regions with the highest growth rate of the non–'White British', North East and South West, are the regions with the smallest base of that population.

Perhaps the most interesting and important facts to note about London, however are, first that there has been a pattern of net internal migration of the non–'White British' population out from London very similar in magnitude to the net international migration of this group into London. Second, while the non–'White British' population has grown in all regions, a distinction can be made between more and less urban areas. There is a pattern of the non–'White British' population growth being driven by international in-migration in the more urban areas, and, in the more rural areas, largely by migration from the more urban areas.

Large and Ghosh went on to discuss differerent measurements of the ethnic diversity of different areas, a topic very relevant to current concerns about multiculturalism and segregation. One measure of diversity showed (as the authors say, not surprisingly) that in terms of Local Authority Districts (LADs), the most ethnically diverse LADs are concentrated in London, with Birmingham and Leicester also showing a very high diversity. Using a different measure of diversity, they found that Asian Pakistani, Asian Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African groups showed the greatest degree of segregation, the Mixed Groups and the Chinese the lowest.

If we link this information with the information we presented earlier in sub-section 4. Fertility, Age Structure and Religion, we see that Muslim groups tend to be highly segregated from the rest of the population.

6). The future

The analyses given in earlier subsections point to a continuing growth in the total ethnic minority population in the future, and a continuing increase relative to the White: British population. We noted:
In subsection 2, the high growth rates of major ethnic groups in recent years.
In subsection 3, the long continued net out–migration of British and net in– migration of non–British. Also, return migration is commonest with people who originated in countries where White ethnic groups predominate, groups all of which have their cultural roots in Europe. In contrast, migrants from the Indian sub–continent have a greater tendency to stay in the UK, and they belong to non-White ethnic groups.
In subsection 4, the high fertility of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, both predominantly Muslim groups; Muslims tend to retain their religious affiliation over generations, and religious people tend to have larger families than non- religious families or families with weak religious affiliation.

We also noted in subsection 2 the high annual growth rate of the White: Other group (4.3 percent) compared with the White: British (-0.2 percent), and the White: Other group is the largest population group after the White: British.

For the period 2001-2020, P. Rees has made projections (R.51):

The total White population is projected to grow a little, although the White: British population is projected to decline. In contrast, the total ethnic minority population is projected to grow substantially through 'demographic momentum' and high immigration. Note. 'Demographic momentum' here refers to the fact we noted earlier that the existing ethnic minority population has a high proportion of persons in the breeding age groups (see also our comment on age groups at the beginning of sub-section 4 above).

Looking at age groups in the total Asian population, the highest relative growth occurs in most labour force age groups and the older age groups. In fact, the projection has the largest actual growth to be in the 60+ age category. This to us illustrates the fact, usually ignored by politicians and even many economists who, in lauding the continued high immigration into the UK, give as one of their reasons that immigrants tend to be relatively young compared with the host population, thus boosting, through employment, the needed support for the elderly population. They ignore the obvious fact that these immigrants will themselves grow old; and net immigration thus needs to be maintained indefinitely - obviously impossible on carrying capacity grounds.

And on continued net immigration, the projections lead to the conclusion “the substantial impact that continuing net immigration has on the future population of the UK. Without this immigration, the UK population would decline (as the White British population is doing currently)”. In our view, there is an urgent need to reduce the UK population on carrying capacity grounds (see our essay “How many people can the earth support? Part 2”, accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page). Net immigration is making such a reduction impossible.

Looking beyond 2020, we think that migration streams from less developed countries to developed countries are likely to increase through continued and accelerating environmental deterioration, caused by continued high population growth in less developed countries with concomitant increased consumption, and exacerbated by global warming. Unless future UK governments develop a population policy that severely restricts immigration (at the same time taking radical steps to improve the utilisation of the existing population for work), high net immigration into the UK may well continue beyond 2020.

i) Fears of ethnic replacement or swamping, threats to national identity and sovereignty, and national security

According to the 2001 census, in numerous electoral wards (districts of the country used for census purposes) white people are now in a minority compared with the total of all other ethnic groups. While these wards only make up a small minority of the total number of wards, in London, Whites are in a minority in all the electoral wards of two whole boroughs (Brent, 21 wards, Newham, 20 wards)(R.43). In some areas of London and elsewhere "temples, shops, cafes, cinemas – the whole ambience – suggest Bombay rather than, say, Burnley or Southall, Port of Spain rather than Brixton ..."(R44). For Whites living in such areas, swamping has become a fact. However, considering that all ethnic minorities only make up a total of roughly eight per cent of the total UK population, there is no likelihood of ethnic replacement of the indigenous population at the national level in the short or medium term.

But, in the long term, global and local circumstances and trends should make us pause for thought:
At the global level, we note the increase in international migration and the large flows of people moving from the developing world to the developed world mentioned early on this page (in the Global section). We also note the growing number of people in the developing world who live in absolute poverty, live in countries with severe desertification and in countries already short of water (see the paper by N. Myers discussed on our Other Literature page), and the high level of political instability in numerous developing countries. While resulting flows of people in the developing world are mainly within country, or within region, these more local movements will in our view have a knock on effect on migration flows to developed nations.

We note the now well established trend of net emigration of British people from the UK. We note too that all the non-White ethnic groups have a greater proportion of the population in the 'breeding ages', a lower proportion in the elderly age classes, and most of the Mixed, Asian and Black groups a higher proportion in the young age groups (under 16), in the case of the Asians, this applies to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups. The fertility rates of the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Mixed: White and Black African and the Black or Black British: Black African, are far higher than the fertility rate of the White: British or indeed all the White groups. We are likely then to see substantial changes in the proportionate size of different ethnic groups, including a continued decline of the native White: British group.

Muslim families have on average the largest number of children, and there is evidence of a strong across-generations retention of strong religious affiliation by Muslims. We conclude then that there is likely to continue to be an increase in the size of the Muslim population relative to the native White population, an increase to which further immigration of Muslims will contribute. We note too that in Austria, a recent projection of its population to 2050 concluded tha the Muslim population will increase from 4.6 per cent in 2001 to between 14 and 26 per cent by 2051. This should make us pause for thought.

We also note that ethnic minorities from the Indian subcontinent tend to keep to themselves, partly through the promotion of the concept of multiculturalism by successive UK governments, and that this is accompanied, as the paper by Penn and Lambert shows (R.34), by a high level of endogamy that is, mating within the same group. That paper details percentages of married and cohabiting men and women living with a white partner. The percentages are much lower for all three Indian subcontinent groups (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) than for Black–Caribbean and Chinese groups. We think a high level of endogamy is likely to act as a conservative force to maintain breeding habits of populations.

And finally, we should note the conclusion stated by Professor David Coleman in his Royal Society paper (R.29): "In the long term, the minority will become the majority in a country if there remains even one region in which the proportion of the minority continues to increase through immigration and/or higher birth rates (Steinmann & Jager 1997)".

Now there is good reason to think that change in the proportion of different ethnic or religious groups in a population can considerably increase inter–ethnic tensions and be one of the causes of the outbreak of conflict between groups. The former Yugoslavia provides an example. Before the civil wars which led to the break up of Yugoslavia, the country had five official nationalities, 12 ethnic minorities and three major religions; and deep and longstanding rivalries between Serbs, Croats, Muslims, and other ethnic groups, were present long before the beginning of these wars. There were also differences between the groups in birth and growth rates, and Parsons speaks of population competition and competitive breeding (R44).

This population competition seems to have been especially powerful in the province of Kosovo, where the proportion of ethnic Albanians was expanding rapidly through their comparatively high birthrate. The ethnic Albanians came to demand "more power in accordance with their numbers, and Serbian repression and street violence were becoming increasingly common and severe even before civil war broke out".

In general terms, Parsons thinks that if a minority population increases in size relative to the size of the majority population, a threshold may be reached at which there is a major and/or sudden behavioural change: serious between group competition may develop, sometimes leading in turn to conflict. While he states that he knows of no detailed study of this hypothesis, he does provide evidence of his own which supports it. These considerations should cause us to ponder seriously the possible adverse effects of the continuation of present UK population trends.

Northern Ireland should make us pause to think. The 1992 book by Coleman and Salt (R9) provides useful information, and the following account is based on this book, and so describes the situation up to 1992.

Here the divide is a religious and political divide rather than an ethnic one. Almost all Roman Catholics are of Irish origin and birth. The Protestants are almost all of Irish birth but ultimately many are of Scottish ancestry. The long–standing religious and political conflicts have severely damaged society and the economy in the province and preserved two different demographic regimes.

Roman Catholics are a substantial minority population, but their proportion of the population increased from 34% in 1926 to about 40% in 1981. The fertility difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics noted in the 1911 census, had become substantial by the 1930s and has widened considerably since the 1960s. Total marital fertility rates, Roman Catholic and Protestant, were 3.9 and 2.6 respectively in 1981. However, demographic differentials between the two groups seemed to be closing in the 1980s.

Now Roman Catholic fertility in 1971 was slightly higher in Northern Ireland than it was in the Republic (4.2 compared with 4.0). And Coleman and Salt say "part of which (this difference) may be explained as a 'minority' effect". The authors also note there are big differences in usage of family planning and methods used. Since Roman Catholic natural increase was three times that of Protestant in 1971, there has been speculation that Roman Catholics will 'out–breed' Protestants and eventually form the majority. If most Roman Catholics remained republican in sympathy, a democratic vote could then go in favour of union with the Republic, against the wishes of most of the Protestants.

Now Coleman and Salt cite a paper by John Coward as their authority for the 'minority effect' opinion. And the latter author in his paper mentions three ways in which minority status could affect fertility:

1. Members of a minority group who feel threatened may produce large families in order to become the majority (i.e.'competitive breeding').

2. If members of a low status minority group feel insecure and powerless, they might have a fatalistic attitude towards the future and be relatively unable to "construct rational plans for desired ends".

3. "Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland are strongly drawn towards their Church as a means of security and identity and thus tend to conform more closely to the Church's teaching on family life".

Coward concludes: "..it would appear that the minority status of Northern Irish Catholics has contributed to their higher fertility. However, the importance of minority status should not be overemphasised in a Northern Irish context..." (reasons given).

In addition to changing ethnic or religious balance in populations, we also consider that in any population, increase in population density where that density is already moderately high, is likely to aggravate social tensions of whatever kind, particularly so if resources are dwindling. And while tensions and open conflict in such diverse areas as for example various parts of sub–Saharan Africa, Malaya, Fiji and the Middle East during the recent half century had a variety of different causes, we think population competition, with or without competitive breeding, and/or increase in population density, have been amongst the causal factors. For readers who would like to further explore population competition and competitive breeding, Parsons in his book gives a detailed world–wide analysis.

We turn now to mainland Britain (i.e. GB). Clearly the situation here is very different to what it was in Yugoslavia prior to the break up of that country, to what it is now in the Middle East, and to a lesser extent to what it is now in Northern Ireland. Major ethnic minorities still make up only a very small percentage of the total population. Major religious and ethnic conflicts have been largely absent for a long time. We have a well tested and effective democratic tradition. The level of public order in the country remains high, and the Government actively promotes good relations between ethnic groups.

However, for a long time there have been localised tensions between ethnic groups in the UK that have sometimes led to actual violent conflict (not just 'Black' versus 'White', but Asian versus White and tensions between ethnic minority groups). We are already one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Our population is in our view already well above carrying capacity (see our essay "How many people can the earth support? Part 2. Ecological Footprints", attached to our Comment and Analysis page), and our population is still growing considerably. The total ethnic minority population has not only grown massively during recent decades, but its proportion of the total UK population has increased, and these trends show no sign of changing. We also point out that while at present, the UK economy seems to be strong, if economic conditions deteriorate, and unemployment were to increase, this might well fuel resentment by the native peoples of the UK against the growing ethnic minority populations.

And we note that not only is the total ethnic minority population growing, but the relative size of the various ethnic minority groups is changing, nationally, and locally, which could intensify any existing rivalries and tensions betweeen these groups. If we consider two major groups of ethnic minorities – Blacks and Asians, the relative size has been reversed since the early 1970s (R9 table12.7), and the disparity in size of the two groups apparently continues to grow. The book by N.C. Vaca discussed on our Other Literature page, is relevant here, giving an interesting insight into competition and rivalry between Black and Latino population groups in the USA. Of course 'Black' and 'Asian' are to some extent artificial groupings: both the Black and Asian groups in the UK have sub–groups differing in origin and culture, so whether any tensions between Blacks and Asians become really significant in future will depend on the extent that the peoples in each group do categorise themselves primarily as Blacks and Asians. Other groupings could be more significant here, such as religious groupings.

All these considerations must be seen against the background of the doctrine of multiculturalism, which in our view serves to draw attention to ethnic differences and promote separate development, which could be regarded as preparing the ground for future conflict despite government promotion of ethnic harmony.

Our own Royal Commission on Population in its 1949 report (R45) was mindful of some of the dangers we have discussed. In a section which considers problems associated with changing age composition of the population and the influence of migration upon this, we find the Commission expressing itself in language distinctly not politically correct by present standards! :
"Immigration on a large scale into a fully established society like ours could only be welcomed without reserve if the immigrants were of good human stock and were not prevented by their religion or race from intermarrying with the host population and becoming merged in it. These conditions were fulfilled by intermittent large scale immigration in the past, notably by the Flemish and French Protestant refugees who settled in Great Britain at different times. There is little or no prospect that we should be able to apply these conditions to large scale immigration in the future, and every increase of our needs, e.g., by more emigration from Great Britain or by a further fall in fertility, would tend to lower the standards of selection" (paragraph 329 page 124).

Later, in its Summary and General Conclusions chapter the Commission notes it's considered opinion that "the capacity of a fully established society like ours to absorb immigrants of alien race and religion is limited" (paragraph 648, page 225 – the same view was also stated in similar language on page 130 paragraph 342).

"...prevented by their religion or race from intermarrying with the host population and becoming merged in it." We note what we said earlier in this section, namely the high level of endogamy amongst Indian subcontinent groups in the UK, and we think also that strong allegiance to distinctive alien religions is reinforcing the separateness of Muslim and some other minorities, both reproductively and in terms of geographical location.

We may add to these considerations the view that in any nation the native people of the land have the right to maintain their numerical superiority, and thus help to ensure the retention of the traditional national character, and in the case of the UK the maintenance of Western values and culture. We note here that the Royal Commission seems to have been exercised on these issues. There is a section which deals with security and influence of Great Britain and ponders the question of what are desirable population trends (paragraph 650 page 226). This section notes:
"The drift of world affairs is giving a new emphasis to the conception of Western civilisation as an entity possessing reality and value". The paragraph goes on to note the significance of the decline in the fertility rate (actually the paragraph puts this in terms of falling family size towards and often below replacement level) and this "is a phenomenon common to most of the peoples of Western civilization and virtually confined to them. Their (Western countries) rate of increase has markedly declined while that of Oriental peoples has markedly accelerated". This might lead, the Commission argues, to a very significant accentuation of change in relative numbers of Western and Oriental peoples.

Then in the paragraph (651) which follows the paragraph we have just quoted from, we read: "This question is not merely one of military strength and security; it merges into more fundamental issues of the maintenance and extension of Western values and culture".

We consider that maintaining Western values and culture is a legitimate project, and present population trends endanger that objective, as well as endangering national identity. And we also consider that the changing proportions of ethnic groups may eventually threaten national sovereignty in view of the divided loyalty of many members of ethnic minority communities. There even seem to be members of these communities who have no loyalty whatever to the British State, and who would seek to undermine that State. An interesting insight here is provided by the 2002 paper by Vered Kahani–Hopkins and Nick Hopkins (R.48). These authors note that the General Secretary of the Islamic Party of Britain had written in a magazine article:
"To conquer Britain for Islam should be our goal, not to try and find a sheltered place for our own while the country sinks ever deeper into the abyss".
They also note that the late Dr. Kalim Siddiqui of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain had argued "it is almost impossible to be a Muslim without either living in an Islamic state or being engaged in a struggle to establish a Muslim state".

That such a goal still remains for some Muslims was shown in the Radio 4 programme "Beyond Belief" on the 8th September 2004 which mentioned one person who was advocating that Muslims who apostasise should face the death penalty. "Our purpose is to create a Muslim state in Britain". And we think that recent controversy over the Muhammad cartoons and wearing of the veil point to a determined effort by the Muslim community to 'make space' for Islam in the political landscape of our country. Our essay “The Muhammad cartoons controversy - the context” accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page, is very relevant here.

And then there is the issue of terrorism, and the involvement of some members of Muslim communities in preparation for acts of terror. In his Statement to Parliament, 22nd February 2005, on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, the Home Secretary said: "Let no one be in any doubt that there are terrorists here and abroad who want to attack the UK and its interests" (R46 ). The real extent of the danger however, is revealed in the Home Office document "The Threat to the UK from International Terrorism" (R47 ). We read here:
"We know that both British and foreign nationals belonging to Al Qaida cells and associated networks are currently present throughout the UK, that they are supporting the activities of terrorist groups, and that in some cases they are engaged in planning, or attempting to carry out, terrorist attacks. Some of these terrorists have received military and specialist terrorist training in camps overseas, for example in Afghanistan" (our bold type)..

Now people like the ones mentioned in the last three paragraphs may well form only a small minority of the total ethnic minority population in the UK, but the trouble is, we do not know how small. Furthermore, as far as terrorists are concerned, they may not all be Muslim or indeed be members of ethnic minority groups, although probably most of them are both.

We also wish to emphasise that all the concerns we have expressed in this whole section have nothing to do with any idea, true or false, that any culture, ethnic group or race, might be superior to others in any particular. Rather, it is a matter of the right of any sovereign state to safeguard its national identity, sovereignty and security, and take reasonable precautions against possible future societal breakdown including strife between ethnic groups.

Further we do not doubt the considerable contribution that immigrants of different cultures/ethnic groups/races have and are making to the UK (see the essay "Immigration. Benefits for the UK and a note on moral obligations" attached to our Comment and Analysis page). We note too the high moral standards which seem to often effectively flow from religious beliefs such as Islam, standards which in some respects it could be argued, put much of the native White population to shame.

But these considerations miss the fundamental point. However hardworking, however good, however intelligent immigrants are, increasing the ethnic minority proportion of our population, in the context of the firm adoption of the concept of multiculturalism, brings with it the very serious possibility of conflict, and loss of national identity and sovereignty. And we add to that point that immigration is making a massive contribution to the growth of our population, when we already have a population that in our view has for a long time been well over the carrying capacity limit.

Now the concept of Sustainable Development seems to be universally acknowledged. And it is widely accepted that to achieve sustainable development we must adopt the precautionary principle. This states that we should take action now to ensure that possible future adverse events or trends do not in fact materialize. Every year that passes will make it more difficult to arrest changing ethnic balance in the UK. And it is a sad commentary on the state of the nation that none of the three major political parties alert the public to changing demographic trends and possible future consequences. And the UK Government appears to have no clear overall population policy.

Finally, it seems to us reasonable to conclude that fears of ethnic replacement (swamping), and loss of social cohesion, national identity and sovereignty, are unjustifed if we consider the short term future, but justified if we are considering the more distant future.

j) Acknowledgements

We thank various persons at the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for clarifying for us various features of national population data bases and for sending us data.

For ONS publications, our tables and figures are based on data that are reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence (Licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics website: www.statistics.gov.uk  Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO.

We thank Eric Kaufmann for clarifying a point about his argument, although if there is any error in our presentation, the fault is entirely due to our misunderstanding. We thank him also for permission to cite one of his working papers.

References

R1. ONS. (2004). Population Trends 115, table 1.2.

R2. Thompson, J. H. (1970). The growth phenomenon. In: The optimum population for Britain. Academic Press for the Institute of Biology.

R3. Habakkuk, H. J. (1974). Population growth and economic development since 1750. Leicester University Press.

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R8. Coleman, D. A. (2001). History of immigration rewritten. Letters, The Times Newspaper January 30th.

R9. Coleman, D. A. & Salt, J. (1992). The British population. Patterns, trends and processes. OUP.

R10. Coleman, D. A. (1995). International migration: demographic and socioeconomic consequences in the United Kingdom and Europe. International Migration Review 29, 1: 155–206.

R11. ONS. (2003). Population Trends 114. Figure A in Demographic Indicators and Table 7.1.

R12. Times on line 14-5-06.

R13. ONS. (2004). Focus on people and migration. Ethnicity. June 2004.

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R15. ONS. (2006). International Migration. Series MN. No.31.

R16. Dustmann, C. et al (2003). The impact of EU enlargement on migration flows. Home Office Report 25/03.

R17. Large, P. & Ghosh, K. (2006). A methodology for estimating the population by ethnic group for areas within England. ONS. Population Trends 123.

R18. Woodbridge, J. (2005). Sizing the unauthorised (illegal) migrant population in the United Kingdom in 2001. Home Office Report 29/05.

R19. ONS. (2005). The UK population at the start of the 21st century.

R20. Keyfitz, N. (1981). The limits of population forecasting. Population and Development Review 7, 4: 579–593.

R21. Preston, S.H. et al (2001). Demography. Measuring and modelling population processes. Blackwell.

R22. Government Actuary's Department (2006). Series PP2 no. 25. National Population Projections 2004-based

R23. ONS. (2004). Social Trends 34 :15–24.

R24. United Nations. (2000). Replacement migration: Is it a solution to declining and ageing populations?

R.25. Hatton, T. & Tani, M. (2003). Immigration and inter–regional mobility in the UK, 1982-2000. Centre for Economic Policy Research.

R.26. Dorling, D. & Thomas, B. (2004). People and places. A 2001 Census atlas of the UK. The Policy Press.

R27. ONS (2004). Browse by Theme. Population. Ageing. 9th September 2004.

R28. Rendall, M. S. & Ball, D. J. ( 2004). Immigration, emigration and the ageing of the overseas–born population in the United Kingdom. Population Trends 116: 18–27.

R29. Coleman, D. A. (2001). Replacement migration, or why everyone is going to have to live in Korea : a fable for our times from the United Nations. Originally published on the web http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/phil_bio/news/migration.html, the paper is now published in paper form in Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences (The Royal Society) volume 357 number 1420 (2002).

R30. Shaw, C. (2001). United Kingdom population trends in the 21st century. Population Trends 103: 37–46.

R31. Salt, J. et al (2000). Patterns and trends in international migration in Western Europe. Eurostat theme 3. European Commission.

R32. ONS. (2005). News release 20th October. Migration to the UK rises.

R33. Haskey, J. C. (1992). Demographic characteristics of the ethnic minority populations of Great Britain. In Bittles, A. H. & Roberts, D. F. (eds.). Minority populations. Genetics, demography and health. Macmillan, London.

R34. Penn, R. & Lambert, P. (2002). Attitudes towards ideal family size of different ethnic/nationality groups in Great Britain, France and Germany. Population Trends 108: 49–58.

R35. Large, P & Ghosh, K. (2006). Estimates of the population by ethnic group for areas within England. ONS. Population Trends 124.

R36. ONS. (2004). Browse by theme. Religion. Age and sex distribution.

R37. ONS. (2005). Browse by theme. Families. Religion.

R38. Kaufmann, E. (2006). Breeding for God. Prospect Magazine 128, and: The end of secularisation in Europe?: A demographic perspective. Working paper at http://www.sneps.net/RD/religdem.html.

R39. Population Statistics Division, OPCS. (1986). Ethnic minority populations in Great Britain. Population Trends 46: 18–21.

R40. ONS. (2004). Browse by theme. People and migration. Ethnicity.

R41. ONS. Annual Local Labour Force Survey 2001/2002.

R42. Champion, T. et al (1998). The determinants of migration flows in England: a review of existing data and evidence. Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne universities.

R43. ONS. (2003). Census 2001. Standard tables for wards in England and Wales.

R44. Parsons, J. (1998). Human population competition. A study of the pursuit of power through numbers. Edwin Mellen Press, Lampeter, Wales. More recently the fourth edition has been available as "Population competition for security or attack. A study of the perilous pursuit of power through weight of numbers". Population Policy Press, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, RCT, UK

R45. Royal Commission on Population. (1949). Report. London. His Majesty's Stationery Office.

R46. Home Office. (2004). The Home Secretary's statement to Parliament 22nd February 2005 introducing the Prevention of Terrorism Bill.

R47. Home Office. (2004). The Threat to the UK from International Terrorism. (Web path: Home – Terrorism – The Threats. 4th January).

R48. Kahani-Hopkins, V. & Hopkins, N. (2002). 'Representing' British Muslims: the strategic dimension to identity construction. Ethnic and Racial Studies 25, 2: 288-309.

R49. Seager, A. (2006). Number of migrants to UK jumps 24%. The Guardian

R50. ONS. (2006). http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=14238
then go to “Population estimates by ethnic group 2001-2004” (either Excel or CSV), and see also the revised methodology papers.

R51. Salt, J. & Rees, P. (2006). Globalisation, population mobility and impact of migration on population. Also seminar presentation by P. Rees. The Economic and Social Research Council.

R52. Rendall, M. & Salt, J. (2005). The foreign-born population. Chapter 8 in: Focus on people and Migration, 2005 edition. ONS.

R53. ONS. (2006). Over 500 a day gained through migration to the UK. ONS Press Release, 2nd November 2006.

R54. Champion, T. (2005). Population movement within the UK. Chapter 6 in: Focus on people and Migration, 2005 edition. ONS.

R55. Horsfield, G. (2005). International migration. Chapter 7 in: Focus on people and Migration, 2005 edition. ONS.

R56. Dobson, J. et al ( 2001). International migration and the United Kingdom. Recent patterns and trends. Home Office, RDS occasional paper no.75.

Appendix to UK section of this page

Comparison of Projections

mid-year

end of year

 

Experimental statistics and fertility estimation.

The fertility estimates of Large and Ghosh are part of 'experimental statistics' about which we noted in section h sub-section 2 “the acknowledged limitations of the methodology must be borne in mind when interpreting the estimates. In particular, the methodology is based on reliance on 2001 Census data for parameter estimation”. The methodology papers aassociated with the statistics give full details of these 'limitations' and the problems faced in attempting to estimate ethnic group fertility rates. On the 2001 Census and sizes of ethnic populations we read that the method used in the experimental statistics “places great reliance on using the results of the 2001 Census to identify differences between ethnic groups”, and estimates of ethnic population size produced as standard output from the Census “necessarily fail to reflect rapid growth in some groups since 2001”. We now add our own comment that there were considerable criticisms of the Census methodology and results, following the release of these results. We gave details of the criticisms on the version of the UK section of this page that was on the web prior to July 2004. This version can still be read on our Archive page (item (b) “The United Kingdom section of the Population Trends page, as it was before the July 2004 revision of that page”).

On the fertility estimates, Large has written in e-mail correspondence with us that “ The Population Trends article describing the methodology underlying the Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (PEEG) pointed out that our estimates of the TPFR showed less variation between ethnic groups than estimated by other researchers, and that this might be attributable to convergence of rates over time (our estimates are based on results from the 2001 Census while other studies use earlier data sources) or an artefact of the different methodologies” (our italics).

“ A specific aspect of the methodology which was identified as an issue in the documents supporting the January 2006 release was the use of mother-infant ratios to estimate age-specific fertility rates. As was acknowledged at the time, this approach did not allow for differences between ethnic groups in patterns of children not linked with their mother
on a Census form”.

“Following the publication of the Population Trends article (which described the methodology used in that initial release), revised Population Estimates by Ethnic Group  were published on 17 August 2006. The revised estimates used an improved methodology which, amongst other things, does take account of these 'unlinked' children. The various changes, together with estimates of their impact on the estimates, are detailed in the Changes to Methodology and Revisions paper available at
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=14238 )”.

And in later correspodence where Large kindly supplied us with the revised fertility estimates he writes “Can I emphasise that the implied estimates do not reflect any direct knowledge of fertility within each ethnic group since the 2001 Census”.

 



p).

Part of the Home Page

So population growth and migration are very important matters when considering the well being of the planet.

A news item for 13th March 2007 (News page) gives details of a United Nations Press Release projecting massive global growth of population and massive net migration to the rich countries of the world.  
  Two recent additions to our web site provide more clear evidence of the adverse effects of human population growth, growth that has already taken the human population well above the planet's carrying capacity: Dietz et al “Driving the human ecological footprint” (Other Literature page), and Stanton's “The rapid growth of human populations” (Book reviews page).  
  Environmental organisations, the media and governments, generally put their faith in improving technology and reducing consumption to prevent global environmental catastrophe. But we assert that control of human population size and growth is also vital. See the review by the physicist Professor A. Bartlett of a special issue of 'Scientific American' devoted to technology and energy supply and the climate change challenge, on our Book Reviews page. See also "Elephant cull. And the global human population?" and “We feel we must reiterate: Improving technology and reducing consumption will not by themselves solve our problems. We need to control population as well” (Comment section, Comment and Analysis page).  

We also wish to draw attention to the following

  Book Reviews page. “The revenge of Gaia”, by James Lovelock (2006). Climate change: Lovelock argues we may be near a 'tipping point' beyond which mankind can do nothing about the situation, and the root of our problems with the environment comes from a lack of constraint on the growth of population. See also “Royal Society Warning to the G8” (Comment and Analysis page) and “Climate science and famine early warning” (Other Literature page).  
  Is Economic Growth good for the Environment? We examine this in our essay on the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.  

Books reviewed on our Book Reviews page and the comments on these books given in our Comment and Analysis page, show how total collapse of global human society is a very real possibility, and massive further loss of biodiversity is likely.


Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

Turning from the global to the local level, we note that the United Kingdom is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, its population, we argue, already exceeding carrying capacity. And the latest (2006) set of population projections have the population, 59.8 million in 2004, rising to reach 67.0 million by 2031, an increase of over seven million. Beyond 2031 the population is projected to continue to rise, but at a lower rate of growth, reaching 70.5 million in 2071, a masive increase of 10.7 million from 2004!

As we noted earlier, population growth is caused by natural change (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. Now nearly 60 per cent of the population growth 2004-2031 is attributable to net international migration. But later, deaths will come to exceed births, the continued population growth then being maintained only by net international migration.

This continued population growth will push the population even further above carrying capacity. The immigration component will, we think, increasingly threaten social cohesion. And the extent that Government relies on immigration to solve skill shortages and labour needs, will in our view, delay the development of a radical policy on participation in the workforce, adequate payment in the low-skilled job sector and pension reform, which will ultimately be required to deal effectively with employment problems including providing adequate support for the ageing population.

The likely global increase in environmental and political refugees, will, in our view, maintain or increase the immigration pressure on the UK.

Clearly population growth and migration (both immigration and emigration) are very important matters for policy making in the United Kingdom.

  A January 2007 report by a UK all party parliamentary group shows how population growth and migration have impeded the development of poor countries and suggests how to rectify this situation.  
  A news item for 16th March 2007 (News page) gives details of a Government projection of massive future growth of household numbers in England, with net immigration causing about a third of this growth to 2026.  
  For a detailed analysis of population trends in the UK, go to the Population Trends page. For UK Carrying Capacity see our essay “How many people can the earth support? Part 2”, and for perspectives on migration see especially the World Economics Debate and our two essays on immigration, all accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page.  
  A projection by Professor David Coleman of Oxford University of the future total foreign-origin population in England and Wales, suggests it may grow to 36.1 per cent of the total population by 2031. Coleman also reminds us that any population which, like the Population of the UK, has sub-replacement level fertility yet maintains a growing population through immigration, will eventually become a population predominantly of immigrant origin. See Coleman, D (2006) “Immigration and ethnic change in low–fertility countries” on our Other Literature page.
Professor Coleman has now come under attack for his views on demographic trends and his association with the organisation Migration Watch — see “Student attempt to silence Oxford academic who has explored the adverse effects of immigration on society”, Comment section, Comment and Analysis page.
 
  Extremism in the Muslim community in Britain is probably more widespread than it is commonly said to be, and we think it poses a threat to social cohesion and hence sustainable development. See the essay “Undercover mosque, undercover Islamism!” accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.  

We invite our readers to think for themselves how population growth and migration may have affected the quality of their lives.



o).

Part of the Home Page

So population growth and migration are very important matters when considering the well being of the planet.

  Two recent additions to our web site provide more clear evidence of the adverse effects of human population growth, growth that has already taken the human population well above the planet's carrying capacity: Dietz et al “Driving the human ecological footprint” (Other Literature page), and Stanton's “The rapid growth of human populations” (Book reviews page).  
  Environmental organisations, the media and governments, generally put their faith in improving technology and reducing consumption to prevent global environmental catastrophe. But we assert that control of human population size and growth is also vital. See the review by the physicist Professor A. Bartlett of a special issue of 'Scientific American' devoted to technology and energy supply and the climate change challenge, on our Book Reviews page. See also "Elephant cull. And the global human population?" and “We feel we must reiterate: Improving technology and reducing consumption will not by themselves solve our problems. We need to control population as well” (Comment section, Comment and Analysis page).  

We also wish to draw attention to the following

  Book Reviews page. “The revenge of Gaia”, by James Lovelock (2006). Climate change: Lovelock argues we may be near a 'tipping point' beyond which mankind can do nothing about the situation, and the root of our problems with the environment comes from a lack of constraint on the growth of population. See also “Royal Society Warning to the G8” (Comment and Analysis page) and “Climate science and famine early warning” (Other Literature page).  
  Is Economic Growth good for the Environment? We examine this in our essay on the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.  

Books reviewed on our Book Reviews page and the comments on these books given in our Comment and Analysis page, show how total collapse of global human society is a very real possibility, and massive further loss of biodiversity is likely.


Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

Turning from the global to the local level, we note that the United Kingdom is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, its population, we argue, already exceeding carrying capacity. And the latest (2006) set of population projections have the population, 59.8 million in 2004, rising to reach 67.0 million by 2031, an increase of over seven million. Beyond 2031 the population is projected to continue to rise, but at a lower rate of growth, reaching 70.5 million in 2071, a masive increase of 10.7 million from 2004!

As we noted earlier, population growth is caused by natural change (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. Now nearly 60 per cent of the population growth 2004-2031 is attributable to net international migration. But later, deaths will come to exceed births, the continued population growth then being maintained only by net international migration.

This continued population growth will push the population even further above carrying capacity. The immigration component will, we think, increasingly threaten social cohesion. And the extent that Government relies on immigration to solve skill shortages and labour needs, will in our view, delay the development of a radical policy on participation in the workforce, adequate payment in the low-skilled job sector and pension reform, which will ultimately be required to deal effectively with employment problems including providing adequate support for the ageing population.

The likely global increase in environmental and political refugees, will, in our view, maintain or increase the immigration pressure on the UK.

Clearly population growth and migration (both immigration and emigration) are very important matters for policy making in the United Kingdom.

  For a detailed analysis of population trends in the UK, go to the Population Trends page. For UK Carrying Capacity see our essay “How many people can the earth support? Part 2”, and for perspectives on migration see especially the World Economics Debate and our two essays on immigration, all accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page.  
  A projection by Professor David Coleman of Oxford University of the future total foreign-origin population in England and Wales, suggests it may grow to 36.1 per cent of the total population by 2031. Coleman also reminds us that any population which, like the Population of the UK, has sub-replacement level fertility yet maintains a growing population through immigration, will eventually become a population predominantly of immigrant origin. See Coleman, D (2006) “Immigration and ethnic change in low–fertility countries” on our Other Literature page.
Professor Coleman has now come under attack for his views on demographic trends and his association with the organisation Migration Watch — see “Student attempt to silence Oxford academic who has explored the adverse effects of immigration on society”, Comment section, Comment and Analysis page.
 
  Extremism in the Muslim community in Britain is probably more widespread than it is commonly said to be, and we think it poses a threat to social cohesion and hence sustainable development. See the essay “Undercover mosque, undercover Islamism!” accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.  

We invite our readers to think for themselves how population growth and migration may have affected the quality of their lives.



n).

Human Population Growth and Migration

have serious consequences, globally and for the United Kingdom

Population Growth, Natural Increase and Migration

Population growth is primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. And in the United Kingdom at present, migration is a greater cause of population growth than natural increase. Both population growth and migration can affect the quality of the natural environment, the likelihood of conflict, and social cohesion between ethnic groups. In our view, the significance of both population growth and migration are often underestimated by governments and non-governmental organisations.


Population Growth and Migration: Global Aspects

At the global level, human population growth is one significant cause of environmental problems - destruction of natural ecosystems, increased rate of species extinction, soil erosion, falling water tables and depletion of aquifers, pollution of rivers, seas and coastal waters, increase of harmful emissions to the atmosphere. Population growth has in our view, already taken the human population beyond the carrying capacity of the planet.

Through its adverse effect on the environment, population growth is a significant cause of the increase in the number of environmental refugees (people who can no longer secure a livelihood in their own area because of environmental problems such as desertification). The number of environmental refugees will be greatly inflated if, as expected, global warming causes sea levels to rise, inundating vast areas of densely populated land. In the past, abrupt climate temperature changes have occurred. If they occur in the future, agricultural systems may be unable to adapt fast enough, causing massive decrease in food production, which in turn will swell the number of environmental refugees. Environmental refugees may simply be displaced within a country, or they may by international migration move between nations or continents. Such disruptive movements can impede attempts to achieve sustainable development.

We believe population growth can contribute to political instability and conflict. And the great affluence gap between the rich and poor countries has implications for migration: it fuels the desire to emigrate from poor countries, a desire which is likely to be increased as massive population growth continues in these countries. Such migration increases the potential for demographically fuelled international conflict. And declining natural resources will probably increase ‘resource wars’.

Current conflicts in the Middle East could lead to even greater and more widespread conflict. In parenthesis, we believe these Middle East conflicts are not simply a matter of terrorism, but also of western hegemony and western desire to secure oil supplies; continued depletion of these supplies is likely to fuel such conflicts in the near future.

So population growth and migration are very important matters when considering the well being of the planet.

  Environmental organisations, the media and governments, generally put their faith in improving technology and reducing consumption to prevent global environmental catastrophe. But we assert that control of human population size and growth is also vital. See the review by the physicist Professor A. Bartlett of Colorado University at Boulder, of a special issue of Scientific American devoted to technology and energy supply and the climate change challenge, on our Reviews page.  
  Book Reviews page. “The revenge of Gaia”, by James Lovelock (2006). Climate change: Lovelock argues we may be near a 'tipping point' beyond which mankind can do nothing about the situation, and the root of our problems with the environment comes from a lack of constraint on the growth of population. See also “Royal Society Warning to the G8” (Comment and Analysis page) and “Climate science and famine early warning” (Other Literature page).  
  Is Economic Growth good for the Environment? We examine this in our essay on the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.  
  Books reviewed on our Book Reviews page and the comments on these books given in our Comment and Analysis page, show how total collapse of global human society is a very real possibility, and massive further loss of biodiversity is likely.  

 


Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

Turning from the global to the local level, we note that the United Kingdom is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, its population, we argue, already exceeding carrying capacity. And the latest (2006) set of population projections have the population, 59.8 million in 2004, rising to reach 67.0 million by 2031, an increase of over seven million. Beyond 2031 the population is projected to continue to rise, but at a lower rate of growth, reaching 70.5 million in 2071, a masive increase of 10.7 million from 2004!

As we noted earlier, population growth is caused by natural change (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. Now nearly 60 per cent of the population growth 2004-2031 is attributable to net international migration. But later, deaths will come to exceed births, the continued population growth then being maintained only by net international migration.

This continued population growth will push the population even further above carrying capacity. The immigration component will, we think, increasingly threaten social cohesion. And the extent that Government relies on immigration to solve skill shortages and labour needs, will in our view, delay the development of a radical policy on participation in the workforce, adequate payment in the low-skilled job sector and pension reform, which will ultimately be required to deal effectively with employment problems including providing adequate support for the ageing population.

The likely global increase in environmental and political refugees, will, in our view, maintain or increase the immigration pressure on the UK.

Clearly population growth and migration (both immigration and emigration) are very important matters for policy making in the United Kingdom.

  For a detailed analysis of population trends in the UK, go to the Population Trends page. For UK Carrying Capacity see our essay “How many people can the earth support? Part 2”, and for perspectives on migration see especially the World Economics Debate and our two essays on immigration, all accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page.  
  A projection by Professor David Coleman of Oxford University of the future total foreign-origin population in England and Wales, suggests it may grow to 36.1 per cent of the total population by 2031. Coleman also reminds us that any population which, like the Population of the UK, has sub-replacement level fertility yet maintains a growing population through immigration, will eventually become a population predominantly of immigrant origin. See Coleman, D (2006) “Immigration and ethnic change in low–fertility countries” on our Other Literature page.  
  Extremism in the Muslim community in Britain, is probably more widespread than it is commonly said to be, and we think it poses a threat to social cohesion and hence sustainable development. See the essay “Undercover mosque, undercover Islamism!” accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.  

We invite our readers to think for themselves how population growth and migration may have affected the quality of their lives.


Interaction with our readers- an invitation.
We would like to encourage readers to make use of our e-mail discussion group (the e-mail group page of our web site); it is not difficult to join in. You can then send comments and ask questions, about population growth and migration and related matters, and reply to other people who post to this group.
We are also willing in principle, to post on our Comments and Analysis page, critical comments made by our readers about anything that is written on our web site.


Most recent alterations/additions to the web site (not including additions to the News page)

Mid–February 2007. A review by Professor A. A. Bartlett, of the Scientific American September 2006 'special' issue on energy supply and the climate change challenge, pointing out the neglect of the implications of population size and growth, added to our Book Reviews page. And a comment with the title “We feel we must reiterate: Improving technology and reducing consumption will not by themselves solve our problems. We need to control population as well” added to our Comment and Analysis page.
Mid–January 2007. Other Literature page. Reports on two recently published papers: 'Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition' (a 2006 paper by D. Coleman), and 'Imagine earth without people' (article in The New Scientist, 2006).
End of November and early December 2006. The UK section of the Population Trends page, principally its section h), was updated.
End of October 2006. The Population Trends page was updated.
Early May 2006. Book Reviews page. A review of James Lovelock's new book “ The revenge of Gaia”was added.
Late April 2006. Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page. Addition of an essay on the sociological context of the Muhammad cartoons controversy (at an earlier date, a draft of this essay was briefly put in the Comment section of this page; the draft was removed to the Archive page 7th May 2006).
Beginning of March 2006. Book Reviews page. Two reviews added to the page, dealing with publications concerning ecosystem and biovidersity decline: McKee, J.K. (2003) “Sparing Nature”, and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Synthesis & Biodiversity Synthesis reports.
Early January 2006. Other Literature page. “The Tragedy of the Commons - and Human Population Growth”. Papers by G. Hardin (1968) and M.S. Soroos (2005).
Late October 2005. Climate change - a warning and new research (Comment and Analysis and Other Literature Pages).
Late September 2005. A new page added to the web site for news items.
Mid-September 2005. A new essay entitled “Is Economic Growth good for the Environment? An approach to this question using the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis” added to the essays in the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page. Minor modifications late September and late October. Essay revised December 2005.
1st of September 2005. A new Book Reviews page was added to the web site, containing two book reviews. Comments on these books are also given in the Comments section of the Comment and Analysis page, and one essay is transferred from this page to the Archive page. Alterations were made to the Home page.
20th August 2005. Additions to the Home Page.
7th August 2005. Comment and Analysis page, Analysis section. Addition of an essay on the terrorist threat in the UK.
Late July 2005. Comment and Analysis page, Analysis section. Addition of an article on the possibility of organic farming feeding the whole world population, by Lawrence Woodward, Director of the Elm Farm Research Centre.
Late June and early July 2005. Links page. Eleven more links added.
May 2005. Links page. Numerous links added, and in view of the serious threat of climate change to the environment, a new section on Climate Change delimited.
End of March 2005. Note on the United Nation's Millennium Ecosystems Assessment, in the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
March 2005. Addition of 16 links to our already quite comprehensive links page.
Mid January to early April 2005. (1) Addition of a new section to the Population Trends page, which deals with Europe. (2) Revision of the Global and UK sections of the Population Trends page, with graphs now added to the latter. (3) Addition of a new essay, on Limits to growth, to the Comment and Analysis page.
Late December 2004 - January 2005. Some page formatting including addition of navigation buttons.
December 2004. The Global section of the Population Trends page was revised.



m).

Human Population Growth and Migration

have serious consequences, globally and for the United Kingdom

Population Growth, Natural Increase and Migration

Population growth is primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. And in the United Kingdom at present, migration is a greater cause of population growth than natural increase. Both population growth and migration can affect the quality of the natural environment, the likelihood of conflict, and social cohesion between ethnic groups. In our view, the significance of both population growth and migration are often underestimated by governments and non-governmental organisations.


Population Growth and Migration: Global Aspects

At the global level, human population growth is one significant cause of environmental problems - destruction of natural ecosystems, increased rate of species extinction, soil erosion, falling water tables and depletion of aquifers, pollution of rivers, seas and coastal waters, increase of harmful emissions to the atmosphere. Population growth has in our view, already taken the human population beyond the carrying capacity of the planet.

Through its adverse effect on the environment, population growth is a significant cause of the increase in the number of environmental refugees (people who can no longer secure a livelihood in their own area because of environmental problems such as desertification). The number of environmental refugees will be greatly inflated if, as expected, global warming causes sea levels to rise, inundating vast areas of densely populated land. In the past, abrupt climate temperature changes have occurred. If they occur in the future, agricultural systems may be unable to adapt fast enough, causing massive decrease in food production, which in turn will swell the number of environmental refugees. Environmental refugees may simply be displaced within a country, or they may by international migration move between nations or continents. Such disruptive movements can impede attempts to achieve sustainable development.

We believe population growth can contribute to political instability and conflict. And the great affluence gap between the rich and poor countries has implications for migration: it fuels the desire to emigrate from poor countries, a desire which is likely to be increased as massive population growth continues in these countries. Such migration increases the potential for demographically fuelled international conflict. And declining natural resources will probably increase ‘resource wars’.

Current conflicts in the Middle East could lead to even greater and more widespread conflict. In parenthesis, we believe these Middle East conflicts are not simply a matter of terrorism, but also of western hegemony and western desire to secure oil supplies; continued depletion of these supplies is likely to fuel such conflicts in the near future.

So population growth and migration are very important matters when considering the well being of the planet.

  Book Reviews page. “The revenge of Gaia”, by James Lovelock (2006). Climate change: Lovelock argues we may be near a 'tipping point' beyond which mankind can do nothing about the situation, and the root of our problems with the environment comes from a lack of constraint on the growth of population. See also “Royal Society Warning to the G8” (Comment and Analysis page) and “Climate science and famine early warning” (Other Literature page).  
  Is Economic Growth good for the Environment? We examine this in our new essay on the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page.  
  Books reviewed on our new Book Reviews page and the comments on these books given in our Comment and Analysis page, show how total collapse of global human society is a very real possibility, and massive further loss of biodiversity is likely.  

 


Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

Turning from the global to the local level, we note that the United Kingdom is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, its population, we argue, already exceeding carrying capacity. And the latest (2006) set of population projections have the population, 59.8 million in 2004, rising to reach 67.0 million by 2031, an increase of over seven million. Beyond 2031 the population is projected to continue to rise, but at a lower rate of growth, reaching 70.5 million in 2071, a masive increase of 10.7 million from 2004!

As we noted earlier, population growth is caused by natural change (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. Now nearly 60 per cent of the population growth 2004-2031 is attributable to net international migration. But later, deaths will come to exceed births, the continued population growth then being maintained only by net international migration.

This continued population growth will push the population even further above carrying capacity. The immigration component will, we think, increasingly threaten social cohesion. And the extent that Government relies on immigration to solve skill shortages and labour needs, will in our view, delay the development of a radical policy on participation in the workforce, adequate payment in the low-skilled job sector and pension reform, which will ultimately be required to deal effectively with employment problems including providing adequate support for the ageing population.

The likely global increase in environmental and political refugees, will, in our view, maintain or increase the immigration pressure on the UK.

Clearly population growth and migration (both immigration and emigration) are very important matters for policy making in the United Kingdom.

  A projection of the future total foreign–origin population in England and Wales suggests it may grow to 36.1 per cent of the total population by 2031, and may come eventually to exceed the size of the original native population, according to a paper by Professor David Coleman of Oxford University, reported on in our Other Literature page.  
  News page, item for 3rd April 2006. A survey shows British people want a limit on immigration and think the government is not listening to public opinion over immigration.  
  For a detailed analysis of population trends in the UK, go to the Population Trends page. For UK Carrying Capacity see our essay 'How many people can the earth support? Part 2', and for perspectives on migration see especially the World Economics Debate and our two essays on immigration, all accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page.  

We invite our readers to think for themselves how population growth and migration may have affected the quality of their lives.


Interaction with our readers- an invitation.
We would like to encourage readers to make use of our e-mail discussion group (the e-mail group page of our web site); it is not difficult to join in. You can then send comments and ask questions, about population growth and migration and related matters, and reply to other people who post to this group.
We are also willing in principle, to post on our Comments and Analysis page, critical comments made by our readers about anything that is written on our web site.


Most recent alterations/additions to the web site (not including additions to the News page)


Mid–January 2007. Other Literature page. Reports on two recently published papers: 'Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition' (a 2006 paper by D. Coleman), and 'Imagine earth without people' (article in The New Scientist, 2006).
End of November and early December 2006. The UK section of the Population Trends page, principally its section h), was updated.
End of October 2006. The Population Trends page was updated.
Early May 2006. Book Reviews page. A review of James Lovelock's new book “ The revenge of Gaia”was added.
Late April 2006. Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page. Addition of an essay on the sociological context of the Muhammad cartoons controversy (at an earlier date, a draft of this essay was briefly put in the Comment section of this page; the draft was removed to the Archive page 7th May 2006).
Beginning of March 2006. Book Reviews page. Two reviews added to the page, dealing with publications concerning ecosystem and biovidersity decline: McKee, J.K. (2003) “Sparing Nature”, and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Synthesis & Biodiversity Synthesis reports.
Early January 2006. Other Literature page. “The Tragedy of the Commons - and Human Population Growth”. Papers by G. Hardin (1968) and M.S. Soroos (2005).
Late October 2005. Climate change - a warning and new research (Comment and Analysis and Other Literature Pages).
Late September 2005. A new page added to the web site for news items.
Mid-September 2005. A new essay entitled “Is Economic Growth good for the Environment? An approach to this question using the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis” added to the essays in the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page. Minor modifications late September and late October. Essay revised December 2005.
1st of September 2005. A new Book Reviews page was added to the web site, containing two book reviews. Comments on these books are also given in the Comments section of the Comment and Analysis page, and one essay is transferred from this page to the Archive page. Alterations were made to the Home page.
20th August 2005. Additions to the Home Page.
7th August 2005. Comment and Analysis page, Analysis section. Addition of an essay on the terrorist threat in the UK.
Late July 2005. Comment and Analysis page, Analysis section. Addition of an article on the possibility of organic farming feeding the whole world population, by Lawrence Woodward, Director of the Elm Farm Research Centre.
Late June and early July 2005. Links page. Eleven more links added.
May 2005. Links page. Numerous links added, and in view of the serious threat of climate change to the environment, a new section on Climate Change delimited.
End of March 2005. Note on the United Nation's Millennium Ecosystems Assessment, in the Comment section of the Comment and Analysis page.
March 2005. Addition of 16 links to our already quite comprehensive links page.
Mid January to early April 2005. (1) Addition of a new section to the Population Trends page, which deals with Europe. (2) Revision of the Global and UK sections of the Population Trends page, with graphs now added to the latter. (3) Addition of a new essay, on Limits to growth, to the Comment and Analysis page.
Late December 2004 - January 2005. Some page formatting including addition of navigation buttons.
December 2004. The Global section of the Population Trends page was revised.



l).

Population Growth and Migration: the United Kingdom

Turning from the global to the local level, we note that the United Kingdom is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, its population, we argue, already exceeding carrying capacity. The population is projected to continue to increase significantly for a few decades. Now official projections suggest international migration (net immigration) will cause about sixty per cent of this increase. But in some recent years such migration has contributed roughly 80 percent of the annual population increase, so 60 per cent may, in our view turn out to be an underestimate.

This continued population growth will push the population even further above carrying capacity. The immigration component will, we think, increasingly threaten social cohesion. And the extent that Government relies on immigration to solve skill shortages and labour needs, will in our view, delay the development of a radical policy on participation in the workforce, adequate payment in the low-skilled job sector and pension reform, which will ultimately be required to deal effectively with employment problems including providing adequate support for the ageing population.

The likely global increase in environmental and political refugees, will, in our view, maintain or increase the immigration pressure on the UK.

Clearly population growth and migration (both immigration and emigration) are very important matters for policy making in the United Kingdom.

  Read about the expanding Muslim influence in Europe in our essay “The Muhammad cartoons controversy – the context”, accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page.  
  News page, item for 3rd April 2006. A survey shows British people want a limit on immigration and think the government is not listening to public opinion over immigration.  
  For a detailed analysis of population trends in the UK, go to the Population Trends page. For UK Carrying Capacity see our essay 'How many people can the earth support? Part 2', and for perspectives on migration see especially the World Economics Debate and our two essays on immigration, all accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page.  

We invite our readers to think for themselves how population growth and migration may have affected the quality of their lives.



k).

b) Key Points

a)  The UK population grew from about 22.3 million in 1851 to 60.2 million in 2005.

b)  73 per cent of the growth of the GB population 1991-2001 was caused by the non-white (minority) populations.

c)  The total ethnic minority population of GB, while still comparatively small, has grown massively in the last half century from 0.2 million in 1951 to 3.0 million in 1991, and as a proportion of the total GB population, from 0.4 per cent in 1951 to 5.2 per cent in 1991, and it continues to grow. And the increase in the numbers of people from different ethnic backgrounds and countries is one of the most significant changes in Britain since the 1991 Census.

d)  In England, all the non-White ethnic groups have a greater proportion of the population in the15-44 year age groups (breeding age groups) than the White: British group, and Muslims families tend to have the largest number of children.

e)  The UK population is forecast to continue to grow up to 2071, by which time it will have reach 70.5 million.

f)  During the last decade, international migration has become increasingly significant as a cause of UK population growth; in the year to mid-2004, it contributed about two-thirds of the UK's annual population increase, and its contribution was slightly higher during each of the previous five years.

g)  Both inward and outward international migration have increased over the last two decades, during which time there has been a net outflow of British, and a net inflow of non-British persons.

h) During the next several decades, continued net immigration will prevent the decline of the UK population, a decline that is desirable on carrying capacity grounds.

i)  Migrants have a younger age profile than the resident population, around a half of international migrants are aged between 25 and 44, so they fall within the working and breeding age groups.

j)  For a long time, there has been a substantial movement of people towards more rural areas.

k)  For decades there has also been a significant movement of people from the north to the south in England, although this has varied considerably between years, and recently the trend was reversed.

l)  The various movements of population within England, and internationl migration, are all causally linked, with London having a pivotal role.

m)  London and its surroundings has so grown physically and in terms of economic importance, that England may now be conceptualised as consisting of a Greater London in the south and a provincial archipelago of city islands to the north

n)  The UK population is getting older and will continue to do so.

o)  Fears of ethnic replacement (swamping), and loss of social cohesion, national identity and sovereignty, are unjustifed in the short term, justified in the long term.

p)  Persons belonging to terrorist networks are now present throughout the UK.

h) Changing size, composition and distribution of the UK ethnic minority population.

In this section some information will be given in terms of an ethnic group classification used in the 2001 Census, shown in the following table.


'ALL': All people
1: White: British
2: White: Irish
3: White: Other White
4: Mixed: White and Black Caribbean
5: Mixed: White and Black African
6: Mixed: White and Asian
7: Mixed: Other Mixed
8: Asian or Asian British: Indian

9: Asian or Asian British: Pakistani
10: Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi
11: Asian or Asian British: Other Asian
12: Black or Black British: Caribbean
13: Black or Black British: African
14: Black or Black British: Other Black
15:Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Chinese
16: Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Other Ethnic Group
 

1. Migration flows

The authors of the above report (R28) studied migration streams in the 1980s and 1990s. They found there was considerable complexity in the composition of migration streams in terms of nation of origin of immigrants, the date of their arrival, and the extent that immigrants remained in the UK. We focus here first on short term immigration and nation of origin.

The report shows that short–term immigration is commoner for people from some countries than for others. A rough generalization is expressed by the reports authors in terms of wealth: short term immigration is more associated with higher–income countries than with low–income countries.

Immigrants from the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA have relatively high rates of subsequent emigration, over 50 per cent emigrating again within five years. These are the higher–income countries. In contrast, the corresponding figure for the Indian sub–continent is well under twenty per cent. What the authors of the report do not draw our attention to however, is the long term consequences in terms of changing ethnic composition of our population. For instead of talking in terms of income, we can talk in terms of ethnic groups and re–phrase the authors conclusion: Return migration is commonest with people who originated in countries where White ethnic groups predominate, groups all of which have their cultural roots in Europe. In contrast, migrants from the Indian sub–continent have a greater tendency to stay in the UK, and they belong to non-White ethnic groups. These results have clear implications for the changing relative size of different ethnic groups in the UK.

We now leave aside the distinction between short and long term migration, and look at total migration flows into and from the UK. Two publications provide basic information ( R13 and R14), and the two tables below provide data from these publications. The first publication looks at the period 1981 to 1999. The others, the period 1991 to 2004. The migrant flows are divided into the categories British and non–British. The non–British are divided into the categories: European Union, Old Commonwealth, New Commonwealth and Other Foreign (the Old Commonwealth consists of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa; the New Commonwealth includes all other Commonwealth countries, notably the countries of the Indian sub–continent, former British Africa and Caribbean territories). We can find information on the non–British in terms of citizenship in the first publication, country of birth in the second (both publications also provide other classifications also).

A striking feature of the flows estimated is that throughout the period 1981–1999 and the period 1991–2004 there has been a net outflow of British, and a net inflow of non–British persons. In terms of the flows of the different non–British categories, both reports demonstrate that the inflow of New Commonwealth persons had been very substantial, but both reports also demonstrate what the first report says: “one striking aspect was the very small size of the New Commonwealth outflow throughout the period compared to other groups” (this ties in with what was said earlier about short–term immigration).

More generally, international migration, from whatever source, seems, in recent years, to have been bringing about a massive change in the composition of the UK population: the proportion of the population that is of native British stock seems to have decreased significantly, while the proportion of foreigners seems to have increased significantly.

And finally, the massive net immigration into the UK in 2004, 223,000 to the nearest thousand, was “ the highest since the present method of estmation began in 1991” (R32).

The first of the following table quantifies the changes during the period 1993–2004, with all non–British groups combined together. The second table shows the estimated migration flows of different citizen categories during 2004. The data for both tables comes from R14 and 15 table 2.1

Net migrant flows, British and Non–British, 1993–2004 (thousands)
Year 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
British –62.7 –16.8 –51.6 –62.1 –59.8 –22.7
Non–British +61.5 +93.6 +127.0 +116.2 +106.6 +161.6
All citizenships –1.2 +76.8 +75.4 +54.1 +46.8 +138.8
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
British –22.8 –57.0 –53.0 –91.1 –85.2 –119.6
Non–British +185.8 +219.7 +224.8 +244.5 +236.2 +342.2
All citizenships +163.0 +162.8 +171.8 +153.4 +151.0 +222.6

 

Migrant flows, 2004, in terms of citizenship (thousands)
  British European Union Old Commonwealth New Commonwealth Other foreign
Inflow 88.0 117.3 76.2 143.0 157.7
Outflow 207.6 43.1 35.1 20.0 53.6
Balance –119.6 +74.1 +41.1 +123.0 +104.0

Another useful publication on migration in terms of citizenship and ethnic group is R26.

2. Fertility, Age Structure and Religion

The change in size of the UK population and of individual ethnic groups within that population depends not only on migration but also on the natural increase (fertility and mortality) and age structure of its constituent populations. Mortality rate is generally low, so the focus in considering natural increase is fertility. And fertility varies between ethnic groups. Age structure is also important: Consider two populations of equal size and equal total fertility rates (TFR). Population A is a relatively young population - the greater part of that population consists of young and working age persons. Population B has a much smaller number of people in such groups, and a much bigger numberof elderly people. Now it is the working age groups that supply the breeding females, so Population A has more of these than population B. There is also a correlation between religiosity and fertility. We will now consider fertility, age structure and religiosity in turn.

2a. Fertility

How then does fertility differ between ethnic groups? Generally speaking, the main minority ethnic groups have had higher fertility than the White population in the past (R.33). A recent (2002) paper by R. Penn and P. Lambert (R34) presents data from an analysis of the 1991 census by Murphy in 1996. Not only do Penn and Lambert conclude that this data shows all the main ethnic minority groups in Britain had higher fertility than the White population, but also that this difference was particularly noticeable with people whose familial origins were in the Indian sub–continent (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi). They go on to find collaborative evidence for these conclusions in a 1997 paper by T. Modood and colleagues.

The main subject of the Penn and Lambert paper is the attitudes of people to ideal family size. The study ran from 1997 to 2000 and involved the collection of information on young people aged 16–25 in Britain, France and Germany, respondents being asked to comment on ideal family size. In Britain, there were clear differences between ethnic/nationality groups. The long–term indigenous population respondents expressed a preference for two or fewer children, Indian and Pakistani respondents expressed “a far stronger preference for more than two children” although looking at the figures suggests this may possibly apply more to the Pakistani group than the Indian. The authors also write “it is generally accepted that attitudes towards ideal family size closely correlate with actual patterns of fertility”.

A more recent publication by Large and Ghosh paints a partly different picture in their study of ethnic population data 2001 -2003 for England (R35 and for methodology used R.17). It gives fertility in terms of Total Period Fertility Rate (TPFR). This is similar to the Total Fertility Rate and the replacement level of the TPFR is 2.1. According to this publication, of the three Indian sub-continent groups, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups have relatively high fertility rates; however the Indian group has a fertility rate lower than that of the the White British (see Fig.4a below). This finding for Indians is surprising in view of the fact that according to Penn and Lambert “ it is generally accepted that attitudes towards ideal family size closely correlate with actual patterns of fertility”, and these authors report that 73 per cent of Indian respondents gave their preferred number of children as more than two.

However, this reported difference betwen India on the one hand and the other two Indian sub-continent countries is interesting because this separates a predominantly Hindu nation from predominantly Muslim nations. We will see later that religion has an effect on fertility.

Large and Ghosh also comment that the differences in fertility between the various ethnic groups are smaller than estimated in other research and this could be due either to convergence over time of fertility rates or it may be an artefact of the different methodologies. The fertility of all ethnic groups is given in Figure 4 below.

TPFR changed over the period of study. Referring to earlier work of theirs that used similar methods, they find that there has been an overall rise in TPFR between 2001 and 2003, each ethnic group sharing in this rise.

Now generally speaking, immigrant ethnic groups have a higher fertility than the national fertility rate on arrival, but over a period of years, fertility falls (R.33). However, while there may continue to be convergence to the low native White fertility rate, there are considerations which make this uncertain, at least in terms of the speed of convergence. There are features of society in the countries of origin which, carried over into the UK, may at least slow convergence for particular groups. Coleman and Salt (R9) note that "the limited role outside the home prescribed for women by Islam may sustain higher than average fertility under most economic circumstances". They also note that "Asian extended family arrangements and the prevalence of family enterprises may make high fertility seem less disadvantageous than among West Indians".

 

Fig. 4. Fertility and percent under 16 for ethnic groups


 

Fig. 4a. Fertility of groups

histogram
 
The red line is to facilitate comparison of other groups with White: British
 
KEY

'ALL': All people
1: White: British
2: White: Irish
3: White: Other White
4: Mixed: White and Black Caribbean
5: Mixed: White and Black African
6: Mixed: White and Asian
7: Mixed: Other Mixed
8: Asian or Asian British: Indian

9: Asian or Asian British: Pakistani
10: Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi
11: Asian or Asian British: Other Asian
12: Black or Black British: Caribbean
13: Black or Black British: African
14: Black or Black British: Other Black
15:Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Chinese
16: Chinese or other Ethnic Group: Other
Ethnic Group
 
The ethnic classification is the one used in the 2001 Census
 

Fig. 4b. Percentage of population under 16

histogram
 
The red line is to facilitate comparison of other groups with White: British
 
The histograms are based on data in Large and Ghosh (R.35)

2b. Age Structure
Turning to age structure, according to Large and Ghosh (R35),the White British, by far the largest ethnic group and well known as a relatively elderly population, has 20 per cent of its population in the retirement age groups, a far higher percentage than that of any other ethnic group apart from the White Irish (32 per cent). The next highest percentage falls to the Black or Black British:Caribbean group, but this is a much lower percentage - 14 per cent. White: Other White comes next at 12 per cent. All other groups have percentages less than 10.

We consider now the relative size of the young age groups (here considered as those persons under the age of 16 - see Fig.4b above. The White British percentage is very close to the value for all people (19 compared with 20 percent); the other two White groups have a much lower percentage. But what most stands out in a comparison of all groups is the high percentage for all four of the Mixed categories. All Asian groups have a higher proportion than the White British, a much higher percentage with two groups (Pakistani and Bangladeshi), but only a very slightly bigger percentage with the other two groups. It is worth noting that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are predominantly Muslim peoples, and we see the significance of religion in the next sub-section.

Large and Ghosh also give data for the percentage of females in the 15-44 year age groups, i.e. the breeding population. All of the non-White ethnic groups have a higher proportion than the White:British, usually a much higher:

Percentage of females aged 15-44
All people 41 Asian or Asian British: Indian 53
White: British 39 Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 52
White: Irish 31 Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 52
White: Other White 57 Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 53
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 43 Black or Black British: Caribbean 51
Mixed: White and Black African 47 Black or Black British: African 60
Mixed: White and Asian 45 Black or Black British: Other Black 56
Mixed: Other Mixed 47 Chinese or other ethnic group: Chinese 62
    Chinese or other ethnic group: Other Ethnic Group 63

Finally: “Migrants have a younger age profile than the resident population, around a half of international migrants are aged between 25 and 44” (R19), so they fall within the working and breeding age groups.

2c. Religion
A recent government article (R37) states:
“Families headed by a Muslim are more likely than other families to have children living with them. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) had at least one dependent child in the family in 2001, compared with two fifths of Jewish (41 per cent) and Christian (40 per cent) families. Muslim families also had the largest number of children. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of Muslim families had three or more dependent children, compared with 14 per cent of Sikh, 8 per cent of Hindu, and 7 per cent of Christian families” (our bold text).

The article goes on the say that while the larger proportion of families with children and larger family sizes partly reflects the younger age structure of the Muslim population (see also R36), it may also reflect the intention of Muslims to have larger families (our bold text). Noting that many Muslims have a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background, the article says that these ethnic groups intend to have on average three children, while the White population intend two.

Now Eric Kaufmann of Birkbeck College, University of London has been studying secularisation in Europe (R38). He notes that religious people tend to have a higher fertility than non-religious people. And in an analysis of data from ten west European countries for the period 1981-2004, Kaufmann found that next to age and marital status, it was a woman's religiosity that was the strongest predictor of the number of offspring she produced, and he states that many other studies have reached the same conclusion. He also argues that immigrants into Europe tend to be more religious than the host population and he states that several other studies have drawn this conclusion. Moreover, there seems to be little or no decline in religiosity between immigrants and their first and second generation descendants, especially with Muslims.

As far as the native Christian population is concerned, secularisation seems to be levelling out. Turning from the Christian population to the overall religious population, Kaufmann argues that there will be a growing religious population well before 2050. This will be through a virtual cessation of apostasy from religion among those born after 1945, Muslim immigration and retention between generations of their religiosity, the fertility difference between secular and religious populations, and finally, females are overrepresented among those under 45 who remain religious.

But the effect on ethnic proportions will be an increase in the Muslim proportion of the population in several western countries so that by 2104 non-Whites may form half the population. Austria is one of the few European countries that collect religious data in their censuses, and a recent projection of the Austrian population to 2050 concluded tha the Muslim population will increase from 4.6 per cent in 2001 to between 14 and 26 per cent by 2051.


2d. Conclusions for sub-section 2.

It is clear that there are different demographic regimes for different ethnic groups. Groups differ in fertility and age structure, and it appears that religious affiliation affects fertility.

Fertility varies considerably between ethnic groups, some having a lower, some a higher fertility than the White: British Group. But three of the four Asian groups, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Other, have a much higher fertility than the White: British Group. The same is true for the Black or Black British: African ethnic group.

All the non-White ethnic groups have a greater proportion of the population in the breeding ages and a lower proportion in the elderly age classes, while most of the Mixed, Asian and Black groups have a higher proportion in the young age groups (under 16) than the White:British, in the case of the Asians, this applies to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups.

Muslim families tend to have the largest number of children. We note that the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups are predominantly Muslim, and the Pakistani group is the second largest non-White group at present.

Immigration and retention of religiosity across generations, in Muslim groups, will probably cause an increase in the Muslim proportion of the population..

3. Actual size and growth of the total ethnic minority population, and the constituent minority populations

There has been a massive increase in the total ethnic minority population in the last half century. Before the 1950s the number of non–whites in the UK was negligible, perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 people (R9).

For GB, here are some estimates of the total ethnic minority population size (in millions) and its size as a percentage of the total population over the period 1951 to 1991 (R39 and R40; see also R33):

Total Ethnic Minority population 1951–1991, in millions and percentage of GB population
year 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991
numbers 0.2 0.5 1.2 2.1 3.0
per cent 0.4 1.0 2.3 3.9 5.2

It is clear that the total ethnic minority population has grown massively between 1951 and 1991, both in terms of its total size, and in terms of its percentage of the total population.

Turning now to changes in GB during the 1990s, as noted in section (c) earlier, the total GB population grew by 4 per cent in the 1990s. But if population is disaggregated by ethnic group, the report by R. Lupton and A. Power (R7) shows that 73 per cent of this total GB population growth came from the growth of the minority populations.

There were however, big differences between ethnic groups:

The most noticeable change was in the Black African population, which, changing from 212 thousand in 1991 to to 485 thousand in 2001, more than doubled its population – an actual percentage increase of a staggering 128.7 per cent. In terms of percentage change, during the same period, the second biggest change was in the Bangladeshi population (73.7 per cent) – an increase from 163 to 283 thousand, followed by the Pakistani population (56.7 percent) – an increase from 477 to 747 thousand. In contrast, the Indian population grew by just 25.2 per cent. But in sharp contrast to all these changes, the White population grew by a mere 1.2 per cent, although being by far the largest population initially, its numerical growth was greatest.

For the UK as a whole, in 2001, 4.64 million people belonged to non–White ethnic groups, which is 7.9 per cent of the total population. Leaving out the Mixed group ethnic categories, the remaining non–White groups comprise 3.96 million, 6.7 per cent of the total population (R13).

In terms of the categories used in the 2001 census, the size of the various minority groups in the UK from the largest to the smallest in 2001 were: Indians, Pakistanis, mixed ethnic backgrounds (four sub-categories), Black Caribbeans, Black Africans, Bangladeshis, Other Asian, Chinese, Other Black. This leaves out a category "any other ethnic groups" which has a size a little smaller than Chinese. In terms of broader categories, comparing Asians (Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and "Other Asian" groups), and Blacks (Black Caribbean, Black African, Black Other), we find the Asian population is over twice the size of the Black population (4.4 per cent of the total UK population compared with 2 per cent). Without the small Chinese group, the Asian percentage becomes 4 per cent. This is a reversal of the relative sizes of the Asian and Black populations of a few decades ago.

On the basis of the Annual Local Area Labour Force Survey, 2001/02 (R41), the percentage sizes of the different ethnic group populations were as follows.

The UK population: by ethnic group, 2001/02
Group Total population % Minority ethnic population %
White 3 categories) 92.4 n/a
Mixed(4 categories) 0.8 11.0
Asian or Asian British    
Indian 1.7 21.7
Pakistani 1.3 16.7
Bangladeshi 0.5 6.1
Other Asian 0.4 5.7
Black or Black British    
Black Caribbean 1.0 13.6
Black African 0.9 12.0
Black Other 0.1 1.5
Chinese 0.3 4.2
Other 0.6 7.4
Not stated 0.2 n/a
     
All minority ethnic population 7.6 100.0
All population 100 n/a
Source: Annual Local Area Labour Force Survey, 2001/02, ONS

We turn now to England, and the amount of change and average annual growth rate 2001-2003.

Changes in very recent times, specifically mid-2001 to 2003, are given in the paper by Large and Ghosh referred to earlier (R35). In terms of broad ethnic categories, the changes are summarised in the following table:

England: Population growth, total and ethnic groups (thousands)
Ethnic group Mid-2001 Mid-2002 Mid-2003
Total population 49,450 49,647 49,856
White: British 42,886 42,826 42,785
White: Irish & Other White 1,980 2,020 2,051
Mixed (all four categories) 657 689 723
Asian 2,304 2,377 2,459
Black 1171 1,219 1,275
Chinese & other 451 515 562
Data source: ONS (2006). Population Trends 124 “Estimates of the population by ethnic group for areas within England” Table 1

We see that the White British group decreased during the period. In contrast the non-White groups (Mixed, Asian, Black, Chinese and Other) all increased. The figures for the various sub-groups of the above groups (not given above) showed that all the sub-groups increased, with the exception of the White Irish.

If all the 15 non-'White British' ethnic groups are lumped together, there was a pronounced difference in amount of change and average annual growth rate between the large White British group on the one hand and the non-'White British' on the other hand. The former had an average annual change of -0.1 percent (minus 0.1 ) over the 2001-03 period, while the figure for the latter was 3.8 per cent. The absolute change for these two groupings were (in thousands): -100 ( minus 100) and 507.

Considering the two causes of population growth, natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and migration, the relative importance of these two causes varied considerably between ethnic goups. In the Mixed groups, growth was caused entirely by natural increase. Growth of the Asian Pakistani and Asian Bangladeshi groups was primarily caused by natural increase; in contrast, the growth of the Asian Indian and Asian Other groups was primarily caused by net international migration. Within the Black Groups the Black African group had a high growth rate, mainly caused by international migration, while the Black Caribbean group had a low growth rate caused about equally by natural change and international migration.

It is interesting to note the significance of asylum seekers for the general picture. About half the growth of the Other Asian group was caused by flows of asylum seekers from Iraq and Iran. With the Black African group, more than a third of the growth was caused by asylum seekers from Somalia, Zimbawbe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.

4. The geographical distribution of ethnic minority populations

The report by D. Dorling and B. Thomas (R26) discussed earlier in section (f), provides an interesting insight to the distribution of ethnic minority populations in the section covering both religion and ethnicity.

In this report each religious and ethnic group is considered separately. A complicating factor is that the categories offered to people to identify themselves by were not identical in the 1991 and 2001 censuses. In particular, in 2001, several mixed white and other groups were offered as categories.

Ethnic minorities remain heavily concentrated in urban areas, particularly in London (however, there has been some spread from cities to more distant suburbs and small towns). People of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin remain very concentrated in areas of initial settlement. Not only are ethnic minorities concentrated in urban areas, but they are concentrated in just a few particular districts; the magic number here is 13. Again and again we read that roughly fifty per cent of a particular ethnic group live in just 13 districts. These are concentrated in London, but also occur in several midland and northern cities. In terms of religion, the two largest non–Christian religions are Islam and Hinduism. The majority of Muslims live in urban areas in just 20 districts, Hindus live predominantly in suburban areas, and mainly in 13 districts.

One thing that stands out in the maps is the changing percentage of the White ethnic group in different districts (nationally the White population decreased from 94.4 per cent to 92.1 per cent). Here it is better to look not at the maps on page 45 but the replacement maps given in the replacement map pages supplied separately to the main document. Compare these maps with any map of the UK showing the size and distribution of cities and towns. You can then see that the greatest falls in the white percentages have occurred in larger urban areas.

A final word about how the report describes the distribution of ethnic groups in the UK. The introductory section of the chapter on religion and ethnicity says:

"The UK remains a White desert with a few oases of colour" (page 36). Now the word desert is associated with barrenness and desolation. The word oasis is associated with renewal, and high productivity. We may wonder what would have been the reaction if the authors had contrasted the distribution of Whites and ethnic minorities in some opposite fashion – there would have been an outcry and they would have been accused of being racist and fascist. White people are entitled to object to this unnecessary depiction of race. However, there is unlikely to be any adverse reaction to how the authors describe things from the politically correct establishment which in our view is in power generally in the UK.

We return now to the report by Lupton and Power (R7) mentioned earlier, as it provides detailed information on the distribution of the ethnic minority populations in GB at the time of the 2001 census and changes in these populations since the 1991 census.

Ethnic minorities were concentrated in large urban areas. However, each ethnic group was, in geographical terms, concentrated differently. For example, the Pakistani population was strongly represented in Manchester, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, and midland cities, with a smaller proportion of the population in London than was the case for Indians. In contrast, the Black Caribbean population was heavily concentrated in London, and to a lesser extent in Birmigham. Through this concentration of ethnic minorities in large urban areas, most local authorities in GB had minority populations at, or more usually below, the national average.

Since 1991, the increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities has been widespread in GB, occurring in virtually every local authority area. However, in numerical terms, the greatest increases have occurred where minorities were already concentrated, that is mainly inner urban areas. "This has led to the greatest percentage point increases in minority ethnic groups as a share of population in the areas where they were already well established". Now these increases in inner urban areas, were accompanied by a continuing decline in the white population in the same areas. However, the authors were unable to say to what extent this loss of white population from inner urban areas was 'white flight' (i.e. flight from the domination of ethnic minorities).

The paper by Large and Ghosh (ibid) adds further information about recent ( 2003) ethnic population structure in different areas and recent change, with particular reference to the main regions of England. London still has the greatest number, the greatest concentration of peoples of the non-'White British population', although the proportion of the total non-'White British' that is found in London fell from 44.7 per cent in 2001 to 42.5 per cent in 2003. Of all the nine regions of England, London has shown the lowest annual growth rate of the non-'White British' population.

Perhaps the most interesting and important facts to note about London, however are, first that there has been a pattern of net internal migration of the non-'White British' population out from London very similar in magnitude to the net international migration of this group into London. Second, while the non-'White British' population has grown in all regions, a distinction can be made between more and less urban areas. There is a pattern of the non-'White British' population growth being driven by international in-migration in the more urban areas, and, in the more rural areas, largely by migration from the more urban areas.

This is consistent with conclusions of Champion et al (1998) (R42) about the population of England (ignoring ethnic differences) that were mentioned in section f above. Those authors concluded that the various population movements in England are all linked together: "There is clear research evidence of the various population movements being linked together to form a single national urban system, notably in the form of London's pivotal role and in terms of the counterurbanisation cascade. This is a system in which international migration appears to be playing an increasingly crucial role".

Large and Ghosh went on to discuss differerent measurements of the ethnic diversity of different areas, a topic very relevant to current concerns about multiculturalism and segregation. One measure of diversity showed (as the authors say, not surprisingly) that in terms of Local Authority Districts (LADs), the most ethnically diverse LADs are concentrated in London, with Birmingham and Leicester also showing a very high diversity. Using a different measure of diversity, they found that Asian Pakistani, Asian Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African groups showed the greatest degree of segregation, the Mixed Groups and the Chinese the lowest.

If we link this information with the information we presented earlier in sub-section 2. Fertility, Age Structure and Religion, we see that Muslim groups tend to be highly segregated from the rest of the population.



j). Population Trends

This page last revised late winter - early spring 2005. It is planned to replace the present page with a revised version in late September or October 2006.

On this page we present details of population and population related trends. References are indicated R1, R2, etc. In the past (up to early 2005) this page had only two sections, Global and United Kingdom (UK). We have now added a European section. All three sections are separately referenced. The three sections run in the order Global first, European second, and UK last. To go to either the European section or the UK section directly, click on the appropriate button:

 

Europe
United Kingdom (UK)

 


Global

The Demographic Transition

 

 

Births (olive)

Deaths (red)

Population size (blue)

Graph showing the trends in population size, death and birth rates. Death rate decline started earlier than birth rate decline, allowing a massive growth in population.

Time (years)

 

 

Births and Deaths per Year and Total Population Size

a) TheDemographic Transition

Since around 1650, the world human population has grown massively, at an increasing rate until recently, from some size of the order of 500 million, to over 6 billion now. In the 'industrialised' or 'developed' world, during this period of population growth, national populations have largely completed going through what is called the 'demographic transition' (see graph above). This is the transition from a largely rural agrarian society with high fertility and mortality rates, to a predominantly urban industrial society with low fertility and mortality rates. Developing countries seem to be going through a similar transition, but it is uncertain whether or not they will complete it.

In the industrialised countries, generally speaking, the transition began with a large drop in mortality rate. Only much later did fertility rate decline, so the decrease in mortality rate allowed a massive population explosion. Then with the later decline in fertility rate, the population growth slowed down and has or will soon cease (I ignore here the effect of possible high future immigration). The underlying causation of the demographic transition is complex; various factors were involved, such as changes in modes of agricultural production and improvements in hygiene. The timing and details of the transition however, varied considerably between countries, and in Europe, between different regions. And in France, where fertility declined relatively early, there was no big time gap between the onset of mortality decline and the onset of fertility decline (R1).

b) The Second Demographic Transition

Since very roughly 1960, presently developed countries have been going through further demographic changes. The degree of commonality of these changes has led some experts to think these countries have been going through what they term the Second Demographic Transition (SDT). The SDT has the following features:
A decline of the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) not just to replacement level (2.1), but to well below replacement level, an upward trend in divorces, the postponement of marriage and parenthood, the substitution of cohabitation for marriage, an increase in extra–marital and extra cohabitational childbearing and increase in non–family living. The adoption of modern contraception, especially the pill, has played a catalytic role, giving individuals the possibility to almost completely control their reproduction (R2, R3).

(In parenthesis, some readers may be puzzled why the replacement level TFR is 2.1 and not 2. The explanation, previously given in our e–mail discussion group (see the e–mail group page), is as follows:
The replacement level TFR is roughly two. This will ensure that each woman will be replaced by one daughter in the next generation (it is only women that add the males as well as the females to the population!). Actually replacement level is about 2.1 for two reasons. First, slightly fewer girls are born than boys. Second, some baby girls do not survive to reproduce).

These demographic changes have coincided with, and have been driven by, socio–economic trends:
Increased secularisation, an increasing number of young people enrolled in secondary and tertiary education, growing emancipation and labour participation of women, the growth of the service economy, the expansion of the welfare state, and the development of what are sometimes referred to as post material values, emphasizing self–realisation and autonomy (R2, R3).

However, when the demographic changes are examined in detail, it appears that developed countries can be divided into groups which differ in some demographic features. While some convergence of trends has occurred between all developed countries, convergence, particularly between the above mentioned groups, has been incomplete. Thus, taking all developed nations together, the average TFR fell steadily from about 2.8 in 1964 to under 1.5 in 2000. However, in 1995, while the average TFR for all developed countries was 1.58 (very much below replacement level), Southern Europe had an average TFR of 1.28. And at the end of the 1990s, some countries of Europe had a TFR 60% higher than in some others (R4).

In the USA while TFR fell below replacement level in the 1970s, it later increased again and since about 1990 has been roughly around replacement level (R5). In Sweden the TFR dropped from almost 2.5 in the mid–1960s to about 1.7 around 1980, and then increased again to above the replacement level in 1990, after which it fell back to below 1.7 over the subsequent six years (R6). There has also been variation between nations in sociological variables. For example, Mediterranean countries have relatively low levels of cohabitation (R2)

c) International migration in recent times

Over the last 35 years, the number of international migrants worldwide has more than doubled. And at the start of the 21st century, one out of every 35 persons worldwide was an international migrant. In 2002, almost one in every 10 persons living in the more developed regions of the world was a migrant (R8 & 9). Indeed, since 1960, the more developed regions of the world have experienced a gain in population through net immigration from the less developed regions, and this net gain increased over this period (net immigration is the balance of gross immigration and gross emigration). By the 1990–2000 period, the more developed regions were gaining about 2.6 million persons annually through net international migration (R7) and this migration was accounting for two thirds of the population growth in these regions (R8 & 9).

d) The future

The world population is projected to increase by 2.6 billion from 2005, to reach 9.1 billion in 2050. This additional population is equivalent in size to the combined present day populations of China and India! During this period there will be little change in the population of the more developed regions of the world, most of the population growth taking place in developing countries. By 2050, 86 per cent of the world population is expected to be living in the less developed regions of the world (R7). Now the UN prepares various projections of future population growth, which have different assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration. The above information comes from the medium variant which is considered to be the variant which is most likely to correspond to future population changes.

The urban population of the world is continuing to grow faster than the total world population. In 2003 about 48 per cent of the world population lived in urban settlements. By 2030, the world urban population, 3 billion in 2003, is expected to grow to five billion. In contrast, the rural population during the same period is expected to decline slightly from 3.3 billion to 3.2 billion (R10).

International migration is projected to remain high during the first half of the present century, although after 2010 net migration to the more developed regions of the world is expected to continue at a lower level than recently, around 2.1 million a year instead of the high 2.6 million experienced in the 1990–2000 period. The more developed regions are expected to remain net receivers of international migrants, the major net receiving countries being (annual numbers) USA (1.1 million), Germany (204,000), Canada (201,000), the UK (133,000), Italy (120,000) and Australia (100,000). The countries with the greatest net emigration are projected to be China (–333,000), Mexico (–304,000), India (–245,000), the Philippines (–180,000), Pakistan (–173,000) and Indonesia (–168,000) (R7).

References

R1. Woods, R. (1982). Theoretical Population Geography. Longman.

R2. Lesthaeghe, R. (1995).The second demographic transition in western countries: an interpretation. In Mason, K.O. & Jensen, A.M. (eds.). Gender and family change in industrial countries. Clarendon press, Oxford pp. 17–62.

R3. Sobotka, T. et al. (2003). Demographic shifts in the Czech Republic after 1989. A Second Demographic Transition view. European Journal of Population 19: 249–277.

R4. Coleman, D.A. (2002). Populations of the industrial world – a convergent demographic community? International. Journal of Population Geography 8:319–344.

R5. United Nations (2004). World fertility report: 2003.

R6. Hoem, B. & Hoem, J.M. (1997). Sweden's family policies and roller–coaster fertility. Stockholm University Demography Unit Research Report SRRD 115, and Journal of Population Problems (Tokyo ) 52 (3–4):1–22 (1996).

R7. United Nations. (2004). World population prospects. The 2004 revision.

R8 United Nations (2003). International Migration report 2002.

R9. International Organization for Migration (2003). Migration policy issues no.2.

R10. United Nations. (2004). World urbanization prospects. The 2003 revision.

 

 

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Europe

a) Introduction

This section of the page deals with the countries which belong to the European Union (EU). Information will sometimes cover the old 15 member EU (referred to as EU–15) and sometimes the new 25 member EU (referred to as EU–25).

b) The global context

Since 1960, the EU–25 share of the total world population has fallen from 12 per cent to 7 per cent. The total fertility rate (TFR) is amongst the lowest in the world (R1).

c) Population size and density

At the beginning of 2004, there were 458.6 million people living in EU–25, 74.1 million belonging to the ten new Member States. Germany had the largest population (82.5 million inhabitants), followed by France (61.7 million), the UK (59.7 million) and Italy (57.9 million). Of the new member States, Poland made the biggest contribution to the total EU population (38.2 million) followed by the Czech Republic (10.2. million) and Hungary (10.1 million) (R2).
In 2000, the population densities (persons per square kilometre) of Western, Southern, Northern (which includes the UK) and Eastern Europe were 168.6, 112.5, 57.2 and 16.4 respectively, compared with a global average of 46.5.
Within the EU, by far the most densely populated country was Malta (1216). But in mainland Europe the highest densities were The Netherlands (469), Belgium (339), UK (243) Germany (236). The least dense countries were Sweden (22), Finland (17), Norway (15). (R3 tables 13 & A16).

d) Population growth

Between 1960 and 2003, the EU–25 population grew by 77.3 million people. Of this total, the EU–15 countries account for 64.7 million, the ten new Member States, 12.6 million.
However, between the 1960s and the second half of the 1980s the annual population growth strongly declined, with this decline being stronger in the EU–15 than in the ten new Member States. Of the two causes of population increase, natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration, up to the 1990s, natural increase was by far the major component of population growth in EU–25. After 1990, net migration became the major component of population growth. So the decline in population growth since 1960 was caused entirely by the decrease in natural increase. (R1)

There are considerable uncertainties about future population trends. A significant factor here is the increasing difficulty of actually counting the existing population as population movement (to and from the EU and between member states of the EU) is greater than ever before (R4).

e) Net migration into the EU–15

Net migration as far as EU–15 is concerned, was almost zero in 1960. Then during the 1960s, gross emigration increasingly came to exceed gross immigration. Then this tend was reversed. By the mid 1970s gross immigration was exceeding gross emigration. This net immigration (inward migration) then continued to grow during the rest of the 20th century and onwards in 2000, 2001 and 2003 (the latest date for available statistics).
Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK received 71 per cent of the net inflow of migrants into the EU Member States in 2003:

 

net inflow of migrants

This Pie Diagram is reproduced from page 53 of reference 5 ( Eurostat yearbook 2004), by kind permission from the Copyright Office of the European Communities, for which we are very grateful.

For a detailed study of international migration between the rest of the world and Europe and within Europe, see R6.

f) International labour migration

It has proved difficult to classify the large variety of labour migration. Also there is some lack of between–country comparability of statistics, and emigration statistics are frequently absent. And then there is illegal immigration, about which Salt and Clarke write: "no one knows the size of the illegal population stocks or flows across Europe or in individual countries" (R7).

Nevertheless, it is possible to conclude that the inflow of foreign labour into Western European Countries has increased in most (not all) countries since 1995, with Germany and the UK showing large individual increases (table 1.1 in R7). Thus for Germany the inflow (in thousands) was 270.8 in 1995, rising to 275.5 in 1998 and 333.8 in 2000 (no data given beyond 2000). For the UK the figures for 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2002 were 51.0, 68.0, 86.5 and 99.0 respectively. However, according to this set of data, the inflow has apparently fallen in Spain from 126.4 in 1996 to 91.6 in 1999 (the last year for which information is given).

In the absence of good comprehensive figures for labour flows, statistics on the flows of working–age persons may be used as a proxy. A study was made of percentage change per annum of immigration of the working–age foreign population in 12 countries (from the EU–15 plus Iceland and Norway, unfortunately not including Germany and the UK), over a period which varied form country to country, from the mid 1990s to between 1998 and 2001. This showed there was an increase in most countries. However there were large increases in only three countries (by far the biggest increase was in Spain), and three countries showed a decrease (Table 1.5 in R7).

There are significant differences between the picture given by the labour migration figures, and the picture given by the working–age figures (e.g. Spain). The authors give reasons for these differences, and they are inclined to think the working–age figures may give the better indication of the real scale of labour migration.

Now in all countries foreigners have a significantly higher rate of unemployment that the native peoples. Wanner (R8) considered that this "questions the capacity of European States to enable their migrants to integrate professionally and socially in the host country". Further, inequalities of employment access between nationals and immigrants, "can lead to social segregation of certain migrant populations following from problems of poverty".

Details of demographic trends such as fertility can be found in R1 and R9, the latter having excellent supporting coloured maps. Some breakdown of foreign labour is given in terms of whether or not it originated in the European Economic Area (R7) or in terms of nationality or world region (R8).

g) The changing age composition of the population

1. Introduction

It is people within the working age groups who are the principle drivers of the economy. At the same time, younger people, and old people, require the support of the working people. So changing age composition has important economic implications. It is important here to be clear on the terminology used in studies of age composition of any population.
For a view on the implications of changing age structure in populations see our essay "The demographic dividend" attached to the analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page. For an assessment of the issues associated with population ageing see De Santis (R10).

2. Terminology

While of course not all people of working age are actually employed, the change of age composition in a population is usually expressed in terms of the relative size of the working age population (sometimes defined as 15–64, sometimes as 20–59) to the size of the younger, and the older age groups. Ratios commonly calculated are the young age dependency ratio (YDR), and the old age dependency ratio (ODR).
The European Commission defines the two terms as follows.
The young age dependency ratio (YDR) is the number of people aged under 20, expressed as a percentage of the population aged 20–59.
The old age dependency ratio (ODR) is the number of people aged 60 and over, expressed as a percentage of the population aged 20–59.
If we add up the young age and old age dependency ratio, we get the total age dependency ratio (TDR).

Sometimes the relationship between working age and older age populations is expressed as the potential support ratio (PSR). Thus if we take the working aged population to be 15–64, the PSR is the ratio of the number of people in the working age groups (15–64) to people who are 65 or over (population 15–64 divided by population 65+).

3.Change in the European Union

In the European Union, the YDR has been decreasing, while the ODR has been increasing. With the YDR, the decrease has been in both the former EU–15 and the new Member States.
Between 1970 and 2003 the YDR fell from 64 to 40 per cent, and from 68 to 44 per cent in the EU–15 and the new Member States respectively. Within the EU–25, the YDR is at present highest in Cyprus and Ireland (both 51 per cent) and lowest in Italy (35 per cent) (R1).

In contrast to the YDR, the ODR has been rising. Between 1960 and 2003 the ratio went up from 29 to 40 per cent, and 22 to 32 per cent in the EU–15 and the new Member States respectively. So the ratio is significantly higher in the former EU–15 than in the new Member States (R1).

With the TDR, within the EU–25, it seems that Sweden has the highest (87 per cent) followed by the three Baltic States. The lowest ratios are in the Czech Republic (70 per cent) and Slovenia (71 per cent) (R1).

References

R1. EU (2004). Population Statistics. Theme 3. Population and social conditions.

R2. EU (2004). Portrait of the European Union.

R3. United Nations (2004). World population to 2300.

R4. Jones, J. & Chappell, R. (2004). European wide issues in population statistics. Population Trends 118: 17–22.

R5. EU (2004). Eurostat yearbook 2004. The statistical guide to Europe. Data 1992–2002.

R6. Salt, J. et al (2000). Patterns and trends in international migration in Western Europe. Eurostat theme 3. European Commission.

R7. Salt, J. & Clarke, J. (2004). International labour migration towards and within Europe. In J. Salt et al " International labour migration". Coucil of Europe Publishing.

R8. Wanner, P. (2004). Migrants in the labour force. In J. Salt et al " International labour migration". Coucil of Europe Publishing.

R9. Council of Europe Publishing (2003). Recent demographic developments in Europe.

R10. De Santis, G. (2001). Population ageing in industrialized countries: challenges and issues. Policy and research paper no. 19, International Union for the scientific study of population. (IUSSP).

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United Kingdom (UK)

Contents
a) Introduction
b) Key Points
c) The long term growth of the population
d) Recent international migration
e) Projections of future population growth and net immigration
f) Changing population distribution within the UK
g) The ageing of the population and associated problems
h) Changing size, composition and distribution of the ethnic minority population
i) Fears of ethnic replacement or swamping, and threats to national identity and sovereignty, and national security
j) Recent population estimates
References

 

a) Introduction

The basic source of information here is the Office for National Statistics (ONS). See the Population and Migration section of the web site http://www.statistics.gov.uk The ONS produces press releases, brief summary reports, and more in depth regular publications such as Population Trends, the Series PP2 National Population Projections and the Series MN International Migration.

In the following account, note that some records refer to Great Britain (GB), that is England, Scotland and Wales, others to the United Kingdom (UK), that is Great Britain together with Northern Ireland. Note however, that in terms of total numbers, the vast majority of people in the UK live in GB. For example, estimates of the 2001 population put the UK and GB populations as, respectively 59.1 million and 57.4 million (R1).

Fig.1

The growth of the United Kingdom population and the Net International Migration (that is the difference between gross immigration and gross emigration)

Graph of UK population growth and net international migration

The figure is based on data given in tables 1.1 and 7.1 of Population Trends no.118, 2004, Office for National Statistics

 

b) Key Points

a)  The UK population grew from about 22.3 million in 1851 to 59.1 million in 2001

b)  73 per cent of the growth of the GB population 1991–2001 was caused by the non–white (minority) populations

c)  The UK population is forecast to continue to grow up to 2050, by which time it will have reach 67 million

d)  Both inward and outward international migration have increased in the last two decades, during which time there has been a net outflow of British, and a net inflow of non–British persons

e)  During the last decade, international migration has become increasingly significant as a cause of UK population growth; in 2002 and each of the three preceeding years, it contributed roughly 80 per cent of the annual population increase in the UK

f)  For a long time, there has been a substantial movement of people towards more rural areas

g)  There has also been a significant movement of people from the north to the south in England, although this has varied considerably between years

h)  The various movements of population within England, and internationl migration, are all causally linked, with London having a pivotal role.

i) London and its surroundings has so grown physically and in terms of economic importance, that England may now be conceptualised as consisting of a Greater London in the south and a provincial archipelago of city islands to the north

j)  The UK population is getting older and will continue to do so

k)  The total ethnic minority population of GB, while still comparatively small, has grown massively in the last half century, from 0.4 per cent in 1951 to 7.9 per cent in 2001

l)  Currently the largest ethnic minority populations are Indians and Pakistanis. If we group all Asian minorities together, these have come to outnumber Blacks 2 to 1

m)  The growth of the ethnic minority population has been caused by both immigration and for most groups, a higher fertility than the White majority population

n)  Fears of ethnic replacement (swamping), and loss of social cohesion, national identity and sovereignty, are unjustifed in the short term, justified in the long term

o) Persons belonging to terrorist networks are now present throughout the UK

 

c) The long term growth of the population

Up to about the middle of the 18th century, the population of GB had grown at a low rate, with various fluctuations. Then around the middle of the 18th century the growth of the population accelerated (R2–4). We know that the UK population was roughly 22.3 million in 1851, 38.2 million in 1901, 50.2 million in 1951 (R5) and 59.1 million in 2001 (revised Census 2001 figures, see Section j below). Fig.1 above shows the population growth in recent decades.

Now, a report by R. Lupton and A. Power notes that considering the GB population, the total population grew by 4 per cent in the 1990s. But if population is disaggregated by ethnic group, the report shows that 73 per cent of this total GB population growth came from the growth of the non–white populations.(R6). We return to ethnic population growth in section (h) below.

Now national population growth is caused by natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and net international migration. And the main cause of the increase in the UK population has been natural increase, immigration from outside the British Isles, at least between the 11th Century and the Second World War, playing only a minor role in the development of the total population size despite a few notable immigration episodes (R7). Actually from the 17th to the mid–20th Century, the UK has been a nation of emigrants, not immigrants; this then changed (R7–9). And during the recent decade the UK has been gaining population through net migration (gross immigration minus gross emigration) as well as through natural increase (R10, Fig.1 above and the next section).

d) Recent international migration

Migration estimates are based on the International Passenger Survey (interviews with a small percentage of persons entering or leaving the UK), data on migration between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and information from the Home office on expected numbers of asylum seekers granted leave to remain in the UK.

Both inward and outward international migration have increased in recent years, but immigration has come to exceed emigration, i.e. in recent years there has been net immigration (R11, R12 and see Fig. 1 above). And over the decade to 2002, gross immigration was 3.9 million people while gross emigration was 2.8 million people; so there was a net inflow of over one million (R11). Here are figures for net international migration in recent years (R13 table 7.1 and R14).

Net International Migration 1994–2003 (thousands)
year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
numbers +77 +75 +54 +47 +139
year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
numbers +163 +163 +172 +153 +151

The recent increase in net international migration to the UK has caused migration to become much more important in determining UK population increase in the late 1990s. In 2002 and each of the three preceding years, international migration contributed roughly 80 per cent of the UK's annual population increase (R11).

Finally, it is important to remember that illegal immigrants will largely not be included in population estimates. Nobody knows how many illegal immigrants there are in the UK.

e) Projections of future population growth and net immigration

The UK population is projected to increase from 59.6 million in 2003 to 65.7 million in 2031. Population growth is expected to continue beyond that date, peaking around 2050 at nearly 67 million and then gradually starting to fall (R13). Of the projected 6.1 million increase between the begining of 2003 and the end of 2031, 59 per cent (3.6 million) is ascribed to net immigration, 41 per cent (2.5 million) to natural increase. During this same period, net immigration is projected to be less than at present, while natural increase, after initially growing, will decline to well below the present level.

In our view, however, it is likely that during the next few decades, net immigration will not decrease significantly, rather it is likely to increase so that the population grows to well over 67 million and the down turn is delayed beyond 2050. We base this opinion on two considerations. First, the Government Actuary's Department make the assumption of a future constant net inflow of 130,000 persons a year (R15), this despite the fact that total net immigration showed a clear upward trend in the 1990s, and for a few years has been in excess of 130,000 (Fig.2 below). Second, we think that continuing global environmental deterioration, and the maintenance of, or increase in, global political instability, combined with the widening gap between rich and poor nations, will increase international migration, including between the rich and the poor nations of the world.

Now in Fig.2a we show the Government Actuary's Department (GAD) projections, and for comparison, in Fig2b, the trend line of estimates. Clearly if the trend was continued, then net immigration would make a much bigger contribution to population growth than is forecast by GAD.

Fig.2

Fig.2a

Fig.2b

Estimates of UK net migration 1992–2001 and projections 2001–2010

Estimates of UK net migration 1992–2002 and trend line 2002–2010

Net UK Migration, estimates and projections

Net UK Migration, estimates and Trend line

The 2002–based projections shown here were based on estimates data up to and including 2001, not up to 2002, since the estimates for 2002 were not then available

The estimates here include the estimate for 2002, unlike in fig.2a. Note that if the estimate for 2002 had been omitted, the trend line would have been even steeper, since the estimate for 2002, 153.4, is smaller than the estimate for 2001, 171.8

The data used for the estimates in Figs. 2a and 2b, and the projection in Fig.2a, were kindly supplied to us by the Government Actuary's Department

However, we are aware that some workers in the field of migration, do not share our opinion about the likely course of net migration in years to come. Rather they point out that migration is strongly correlated with economic performance, and the relative strength of the UK economy in recent years might not continue indefinitely. Further, we might also face more long–term competition for migrants from, for example, the new EU countries or Asian countries with expanding economies. It has also been pointed out that an increase in the so called "push factors" (deteriorating environment, increase in conflict etc.) in the countries from which immigrants come, while temporarily enhancing immigration flows, may in the end have the opposite effect: receiving country governments, partly at least through rising public concern over the level of immigration, might introduce more restrictive measures with the result that immigration flows actually fall. Recent and continuing changes in UK government migration policy could prove to be an example of this effect.

However migration trends do develop in the future, it is very important to realize the limitations of medium term (such as up to 2050 in the present case), and especially long term, population projections when used as forecasts. The reliability will decrease the bigger the time span involved. As one demographer put it in 1981, we can think of useable forecasts for the next five to 20 years, but virtually no information at all on populations 100 years hence (R16).

As Shaw 2004 says, this growing uncertainty with time is well illustrated by preparing variant projections – projections in which the assumptions about the three causes of population change – fertility, mortality and migration – are varied (R17). The Government Actuary's Department produces a series of variant projections. These show, that by 2031, the extreme projections (high fertility and high migration on the one hand, and low fertility and low migration on the other), have diverged by around four million. By 2071, this divergence increases to around 15 and 11.5 million for the high–low fertility and the high–low migration projections respectively (fig.6 in R17). What is more, the much feared, in certain quarters, population decline, is by no means inevitable, at least up to 2070.

Note on projections and forecasts. Strictly speaking, a projection is a set of calculations which show how a population will develop when certain assumptions about the future course of fertility, mortality and migration are made. A forecast on the other hand is a projection in which assumptions are chosen which it is thought will yield a realistic picture of the probable future development of the population (R18 ).

f) Changing population distribution within the UK

A useful introduction is provided by the report of Champion et al (1998) (R19). A prominent trend in recent decades has been what has been termed the counter–urbanisation cascade, the flow of people towards a more rural environment. People have migrated from inner cities to suburbs, large cities to small towns, urban areas to rural areas. Another important trend has been the migration of people from the north to the south of Britain, although the magnitude of this trend has fluctuated, with a couple of years in recent times (1989 and 1990) when the net flow was in the opposite direction.

Of all regions in England, the South East Region with Greater London has seen the highest level of both in and out migration, but with a net outflow. Net international immigration has come to make a very significant contribution to migration flows. It seems to have been "highly focused on the inner areas of London, and a relatively small number of other places that in turn are losing population to other areas through internal migration".

The report concludes that the various population movements in England are all linked together: "There is clear research evidence of the various population movements being linked together to form a single national urban system, notably in the form of London's pivotal role and in terms of the counterurbanisation cascade. This is a system in which international migration appears to be playing an increasingly crucial role".

The inter–relationships of international migration and inter–regional migration (migration between the 11 standard statistical regions of GB) were investigated by Hatton and Tani (R20). They conclude that "immigration to a region of foreign nationals generates between a third and two thirds as much out–migration to other regions". They further conclude that this varies across regions – the effect seems to be larger for the southern regions, especially London, the same regions where the inflow of foreign nationals is greatest. The authors interpret their results in terms of British labour market adjustments.

A recently published study by D. Dorling and B. Thomas, based on the 1991 and 2001 censuses, paints a fascinating but very complicated picture of changes in distribution of population, household types, employment, occupation, health, poverty, car ownership and other matters between these two dates (R.21). The information is primarily presented in a series of very detailed maps of the UK.

There has been much talk in recent years of what has been called the north–south divide in England: a poorer north and a wealthier south. Associated with this has been the north to south movement of population already mentioned. The authors of the present report conclude that the north south divide has increased. They identify the dividing line as roughly running from the Severn to the Humber estuaries – it is shown in red on the map on page 187. They conceptualise things in this way. We used to think of the north and south as each consisting of a group of cities, towns, villages and countryside. The divide was to a large extent just a regional one.

Now however, the boundary lies between two places even more dissimilar from each other, a Greater London to the south and the rest. The authors use the term city structure: a dense urban core, suburbs, parks, and a rural fringe. To the south the city structures are converging as a single great metropolis (centering on London), while the north is a "provincial archipelago of city islands". So for example, the old counties of Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire are no longer counties, but rather city limits of London. And the commuter belt of the metropolis extends up to the ends of the M3 and M11, up to Leamington Spa on the M40 and to Chepstow on the M4. Half the population of the UK now lives within the immediate influence of Greater London. "Built–up Greater London now extends as far north as its suburbs of Leicester and Northampton, as far west as its edge suburbs of Bristol and Plymouth. Between these places are green fields, but they are now the parkland of this city. Hardly anyone living near those fields works on the land".

The pattern of population movements is complicated. However, the population of the metropolis has grown, and the population of the UK is slowly moving south. Thinking in terms of population density (number of people living in a district for every hectare in that district), population density has grown nationally. However, as people have moved south, densities have increased most in London and the South East. In contrast, almost all the falls in density in the UK have been outside the South East, with the largest fall being in Manchester in the north.

The economic needs of London drive the whole population and economic system. In the metropolis are found the most qualified people and the fewest with no qualifications. Indeed the centre of the metropolis swarms with university graduates. The metropolis is the financial centre, employs the bulk of managers and is the workplace of preference for professionals.

"Almost no one in the metropolis is sick or disabled in comparison with the archipelago". And "it is in the archipelago islands that people are most likely to need to care for family or friends who are ill", "where most lone parents without work are found, and where the fewest households have two earners". Yet there are fewer doctors and dentists per head in the archipelago than in the metropolis. The employment picture is complicated, but it is the north that has suffered the great upheaval of the decline in coal mining. The number of people working in skilled trades has declined, mainly in the north. Likewise the number of machine operatives have fallen, also mostly in the north.

g) The ageing of the population and associated problems

People are living longer, and at the same time, the number of children born has declined, so the population in ageing. The proportion of the population aged 65 and over has increased from 13 per cent in mid–1971, to 16 per cent in mid–2003. At the same time, during the same period, the proportion of young people, that is the population below the age of 16, has declined from 25 per cent to 20 per cent (R22). And in GB, the number of people aged 90 and over was 380,000 in 2002, more than triple the number in 1971 (R.23). Current projections have the proportion of the population over the age of 65 rising until mid–century to a value of 25.7 per cent in 2051 (calculated from Appendix 1 R15), and the mean age of the population is expected to rise from 39.3 years in 2002 to 43.6 years by 2031 (R15).

The ageing of the population is sometimes quantified using the Potential Support Ratio (PSR)(defined earlier in the European section as the ratio of the number of people in the working age groups (15–64) to people who are 65 or over). During the last (20th) century, in the UK, the PSR has fallen considerably. At the beginning of the 20th century it was 13.3. By 1950 it was down to 6.2. By 1995 it was down to 4.1. And projections tell us that under present conditions, the support ratio will fall steadily further for some time to come (R24).

Age pyramids help us to visualize changing population age distribution. In such pyramids, a population is divided into 5–year age groups stacked one above the other, with the youngest age group (0–4 year olds) at the bottom. The essay "the demographic dividend" attached to our Comment and Analysis page provides examples of age pyramids.

Now the ageing of the population has raised concerns about how to provide for the needs of older people. More specifically, how can we maintain or increase the relative size of the working age population – the backbone of economic activity – and hence the support for older people. Various approaches have been considered here. One way that has been much discussed in recent years is to increase immigration flows, because immigrants are more concentrated in the working age groups than the population as a whole, as we will now discuss.

As explained in the European section of this page, besides the potential support ratio, a commonly used ratio for expressing the relative size of the older population groups to the working age groups is the old age dependency ratio (ODR). This, in effect, is the number of older persons expressed as a percentage of the size of the working–age population. A recent study gave estimates of this ratio for the total UK born population (all ethnic groups), the total overseas–born population and various components of the overseas–born population defined in terms of geographical areas (R28). The authors here defined the older population as the pension age population, which is 65 years old and over for men and 60 years and over for women. The ODR for the UK–born population and the total overseas–born population were respectively 30.7 and 23.1 (there were big variations between different immigrant groups but that need not concern us here).

However, we need to be careful not to exaggerate the significance of migration flows to maintaining support for the aged. For immigrants are not very much younger on average than the populations they are moving into – roughly ten years on average (R.25). To bring and keep the support ratio even at its 1995 level of 4.1 would require 59.8 million migrants between 1995 and 2050, on average slightly more than a million a year, rates far in excess of what we have experienced in the past. The overall population would reach 136 million in 2050, so our population would more than double (R24). So maintaining this support ratio is a wholly unrealistic scenario (R24, R25, R27). See also our essay "What policy should the UK Government adopt towards immigration?" which is attached to our Comment and Analysis page.

For another brief discussion of the possible rejuvenating effect of ethnic minority immigration see the discussion on p.140 of R26.

Now there is another problem with immigration flows. Immigrants themselves age and join the old age groups so an immigration stream needs to be maintained indefinitely, with obvious consequences in terms of population growth, and therefore carrying capacity, not to mention possible adverse effects on social cohesion.

However, in considering population ageing we need to consider outward as well as inward migration. And the recent study mentioned above (R28) provides useful information. This report focuses on an analysis of the overseas–born UK population.

The report notes that by no means all immigrants stay in the UK. Many repatriate to country of origin or emigrate elsewhere. Overall, as many as 29 per cent of overseas–born immigrants emigrate within two years of arrival, and 46 per cent within five years. This significant amount of return migration coupled with continued immigration means, the authors argue, that the overall overseas–born population ages more slowly than does the UK–born population (remember that immigrants are concentrated in younger age groups). They say that this implies "the currently observed processes of immigration and emigration among UK's overseas–born immigrants will lower the UK's old–age dependency ratio in the long run as well as in the short run". The authors do not however go on to quantify this statement. And although current migration may improve the support ratio, we should not forget the basic fact that average gross immigration into the UK in the last decade has been of the order of three to four hundred thousand per year, whereas the number needed to maintain the earlier high support ratio would be about a million per year as mentioned earlier.

For an earlier discussion of the implications of immigration for the support ratio and government policies in developed (industrial) countries see the papers in the journal Population and Environment volume 22, number 4, March 2001, and R29.

h) Changing size, composition and distribution of the UK ethnic minority population.

1. Migration flows

The above report (R.28) shows that there are in fact complex interactions between the composition of migrant streams in terms of nation of origin, time of arrival and overall UK population ageing. We focus here just on short term immigration and nation of origin.

The report shows that short–term immigration is commoner for people from some countries than for others. A rough generalization is expressed by the reports authors in terms of wealth: short term immigration is more associated with higher–income countries than with low–income countries. In exploring these matters, the authors examined data for emigration between 1981 and 2000 and the proportion of immigrants who subsequently emigrated during that period.

Immigrants from the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA have relatively high rates of subsequent emigration (over 50 per cent emigrating again within five years).These are the higher–income countries. In contrast, the corresponding figure for the Indian sub–continent is well under twenty per cent. What the authors of the report do not draw our attention to however, is the long term consequences in terms of changing ethnic composition of our population. For instead of talking in terms of income, we can talk in terms of ethnic groups and re–phrase the authors conclusion: Return migration is commoner from countries where White ethnic groups predominate, groups all of which have their cultural roots in Europe. In contrast, migrants from the Indian sub–continent have a greater tendency to stay in the UK. These results have clear implications for the changing relative size of different ethnic groups in the UK.

We now leave aside the distinction between short and long term migration, and look at total migration flows into and from the UK. Two recent publications provide basic information (R30, R12). The first publication looks at the period 1981 to 1999. The second, the period 1991 to 2002. The migrant flows are divided into the categories British and non–British. The non–British are divided into the categories: European Union, Old Commonwealth, New Commonwealth and Other Foreign (the Old Commonwealth consists of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa; the New Commonwealth includes all other Commonwealth countries, notably the countries of the Indian sub–continent, former British Africa and Caribbean territories). We can find information on the non–British in terms of citizenship in the first publication, country of birth in the second (both publications also provide other classifications also).

A striking feature of the flows estimated is that throughout the period 1981–1999 (first publication) and the period 1991–2002 (second publication) there has been a net outflow of British, and a net inflow of non–British persons. In terms of the flows of the different non–British categories, both reports demonstrate that the inflow of New Commonwealth persons had been very substantial, but both reports also demonstrate what the first report says: "one striking aspect was the very small size of the New Commonwealth outflow throughout the period compared to other groups" (this ties in with the results on short and long–term migration mentioned earlier).

The first of the following table quantifies the changes during the period 1993–2002, with all non–British groups combined together. The second table shows the estimated migration flows of different citizen categories during 2002. The data for both tables comes from Table 2.1 in R12.

Net migrant flows, British and Non–British, 1993–2002 (thousands)
Year 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
British –62.7 –16.8 –51.6 –62.1 –59.8 –22.7 –22.8 –57.0 –53.0 –91.1
Non–British +61.5 +93.6 +127.0 +116.2 +106.6 +161.6 +185.8 +219.7 +224.8 +244.5
All citizenships –1.2 +76.8 +75.4 +54.1 +46.8 +138.8 +163.0 +162.8 +171.8 +153.4

 

Migrant flows, 2002, in terms of citizenship (thousands)
  British European Union Old Commonwealth New Commonwealth Other foreign
Inflow 94.6 62.8 65.6 92.9 196.9
Outflow 185.7 51.7 42.3 15.7 64.0
Balance –91.1 +11.1 +23.4 +77.2 132.9

Another useful publication on migration in terms of citizenship and ethnic group is R26.

2. Fertility

The change in size of the UK population and of individual ethnic groups within that population depends not only on migration but also on fertility and mortality, and fertility varies between groups.

How then does fertility differ between ethnic groups? Generally speaking, the main minority ethnic groups have higher fertility than the White population (R.31). A recent (2002) paper by R. Penn and P. Lambert (R32) presents data from an analysis of the 1991 census by Murphy in 1996. Not only do Penn and Lambert conclude that this data shows all the main ethnic minority groups in Britain had higher fertility than the White population, but also that this difference was particularly noticeable with people whose familial origins were in the Indian sub–continent (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi). They go on to find collaborative evidence for these conclusions in a 1997 paper by T. Modood and colleagues.

Now generally speaking, immigrant ethnic groups have a higher fertility than the national fertility rate on arrival, but over a period of years, fertility falls (R.31). However, while there may continue to be convergence to the low native White fertility rate, there are considerations which make this uncertain, at least in terms of the speed of convergence. There are features of society in the countries of origin which, carried over into the UK, may at least slow convergence for particular groups. Coleman and Salt (R8) note that "the limited role outside the home prescribed for women by Islam may sustain higher than average fertility under most economic circumstances". They also note that "Asian extended family arrangements and the prevalence of family enterprises may make high fertility seem less disadvantageous than among West Indians".

3. Actual growth of the total ethnic minority population, and the present composition of that population

Leaving aside differences between ethnic groups, how has the total ethnic minority population changed? Well there has been a massive increase in the total ethnic minority population in the last half century. Before the 1950s the number of non–whites in the UK was negligible, perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 people (R8).

For GB, here are some estimates of the total ethnic minority population size (in millions) and its size as a percentage of the total population (R11 and R33; see also R31):

Total Ethnic Minority population 1951–2001, in millions and percentage of GB population
year 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
numbers 0.2 0.5 1.2 2.1 3.0 4.6
per cent 0.4 1.0 2.3 3.9 5.2 7.9

As noted in section (c) earlier, the total GB population grew by 4 per cent in the 1990s. But if population is disaggregated by ethnic group, the report by R. Lupton and A. Power (R6) shows that 73 per cent of this total GB population growth came from the growth of the minority populations. Here the 'minority populations' include the 2001 census category 'mixed race'. While the number of truly mixed race persons probably has increased, "it is also likely that many people who classified themselves in one of the other ethnic groups in 1991, or as 'other', re–classified themselves as mixed race in 2001".

There were however, big differences between ethnic groups:

The most noticeable change was in the Black African population, which, changing from 212 thousand in 1991 to to 485 thousand in 2001, more than doubled its population – an actual percentage increase of a staggering 128.7 per cent. In terms of percentage change, during the same period, the second biggest change was in the Bangladeshi population (73.7 per cent) – an increase from 163 to 283 thousand, followed by the Pakistani population (56.7 percent) – an increase from 477 to 747 thousand. In contrast, the Indian population grew by just 25.2 per cent. But in sharp contrast to all these changes, the White population grew by a mere 1.2 per cent, although being by far the largest population initially, its numerical growth was greatest.

For the UK as a whole, in 2001, 4.64 million people belonged to non–White ethnic groups, which is 7.9 per cent of the total population. Leaving out the Mixed group ethnic category, the remaining non–White groups comprise 3.96 million, 6.7 per cent of the total population (R11).

In terms of the categories used in the 2001 census, the size of the various minority groups in the UK from the largest to the smallest in 2001 were: Indians, Pakistanis, mixed ethnic backgrounds, Black Caribbeans, Black Africans, Bangladeshis, Other Asian, Chinese, Other Black. This leaves out a category "any other ethnic groups" which has a size a little smaller than Chinese (R11). In terms of broader categories, Comparing Asians (Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and "Other Asian" groups), and Blacks (Black Caribbean, Black African, Black Other), we find the Asian population is over twice the size of the Black population (4.4 per cent of the total UK population compared with 2 per cent). Without the small Chinese group, the Asian percentage becomes 4 per cent. This is a reversal of the relative sizes of the Asian and Black populations of a few decades ago.

Another paper giving detailed information about the recent size and growth of ethnic minority populations, produced however before the 2001 census, is by J. Schuman (R 40). This paper also provides information on the geographical distribution of ethnic minorities, a subject to which we now turn.

4. The geographical distribution of ethnic minority populations

The report by D. Dorling and B. Thomas (R21) discussed earlier in section (f), provides an interesting insight to the distribution of ethnic minority populations in the section covering both religion and ethnicity.

In this report each religious and ethnic group is considered separately. A complicating factor is that the categories offered to people to identify themselves by were not identical in the 1991 and 2001 censuses. In particular, in 2001, several mixed white and other groups were offered as categories.

Ethnic minorities remain heavily concentrated in urban areas, particularly in London (however, there has been some spread from cities to more distant suburbs and small towns). People of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin remain very concentrated in areas of initial settlement. Not only are ethnic minorities concentrated in urban areas, but they are concentrated in just a few particular districts; the magic number here is 13. Again and again we read that roughly fifty per cent of a particular ethnic group live in just 13 districts. These are concentrated in London, but also occur in several midland and northern cities. In terms of religion, the two largest non–Christian religions are Islam and Hinduism. The majority of Muslims live in urban areas in just 20 districts, Hindus live predominantly in suburban areas, and mainly in 13 districts.

One thing that stands out in the maps is the changing percentage of the White ethnic group in different districts (nationally the White population has decreased from 94.4 per cent to 92.1 per cent). Here it is better to look not at the maps on page 45 but the replacement maps given in the replacement map pages supplied separately to the main document. Compare these maps with any map of the UK showing the size and distribution of cities and towns. You can then see that the greatest falls in the white percentages have occurred in larger urban areas.

A final word about how the report describes the distribution of ethnic groups in the UK. The introductory section of the chapter on religion and ethnicity says:

"The UK remains a White desert with a few oases of colour" (page 36). Now the word desert is associated with barrenness and desolation. The word oasis is associated with renewal, and high productivity. We may wonder what would have been the reaction if the authors had contrasted the distribution of Whites and ethnic minorities in some opposite fashion – there would have been an outcry and they would have been accused of being racist and fascist. White people are entitled to object to this unnecessary depiction of race. However, there is unlikely to be any adverse reaction to how the authors describe things from the politically correct establishment which in our view is in power generally in the UK.

We return now to the report by Lupton and Power (R6) mentioned earlier, as it provides detailed information on the distribution of the ethnic minority populations in GB at the time of the 2001 census and changes in these populations since the 1991 census.

Ethnic minorities were concentrated in large urban areas. However, each ethnic group was, in geographical terms, concentrated differently. For example, the Pakistani population was strongly represented in Manchester, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, and midland cities, with a smaller proportion of the population in London than was the case for Indians. In contrast, the Black Caribbean population was heavily concentrated in London, and to a lesser extent in Birmigham. Through this concentration of ethnic minorities in large urban areas, most local authorities in GB had minority populations at, or more usually below, the national average.

Since 1991, the increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities has been widespread in GB, occurring in virtually every local authority area. However, in numerical terms, the greatest increases have occurred where minorities were already concentrated, that is mainly inner urban areas. "This has led to the greatest percentage point increases in minority ethnic groups as a share of population in the areas where they were already well established". Now these increases in inner urban areas, were accompanied by a continuing decline in the white population in the same areas. However, the authors were unable to say to what extent this loss of white population from inner urban areas was 'white flight' (i.e. flight from the domination of ethnic minorities) (R6).

i) Fears of ethnic replacement or swamping, threats to national identity and sovereignty, and national security

According to the 2001 census, in numerous electoral wards (districts of the country used for census purposes) white people are now in a minority compared with the total of all other ethnic groups. While these wards only make up a small minority of the total number of wards, in London, Whites are in a minority in all the electoral wards of two whole boroughs (Brent, 21 wards, Newham, 20 wards)(R.34). In some areas of London and elsewhere "temples, shops, cafes, cinemas – the whole ambience – suggest Bombay rather than, say, Burnley or Southall, Port of Spain rather than Brixton ..."(R35). For Whites living in such areas, swamping has become a fact. However, considering that all ethnic minorities only make up a total of roughly eight per cent of the total UK population, there is no likelihood of ethnic replacement of the indigenous population at the national level in the short or medium term.

But, in the long term, global and local circumstances and trends should make us pause for thought:
At the global level, we note the increase in international migration and the large flows of people moving from the developing world to the developed world mentioned early on this page (in the Global section). We also note the growing number of people in the developing world who live in absolute poverty, live in countries with severe desertification and in countries already short of water (see the paper by N. Myers discussed on our Other Literature page), and the high level of political instability in numerous developing countries. While resulting flows of people in the developing world are mainly within country, or within region, these more local movements will in our view have a knock on effect on migration flows to developed nations.

We note also the high fertility in the UK of populations from the Indian subcontinent mentioned earlier, and uncertainties about the speed with which immigrant fertility rates will decline. We also note that ethnic minorities from the Indian subcontinent tend to keep to themselves, partly through the promotion of the concept of multiculturalism by successive UK governments, and that this is accompanied, as the paper by Penn and Lambert shows (R.32), by a high level of endogamy that is, mating within the same group. That paper details percentages of married and cohabiting men and women living with a white partner. The percentages are much lower for all three Indian subcontinent groups (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) than for Black–Caribbean and Chinese groups. The main subject of this paper is the attitudes of people to ideal family size. The study ran from 1997 to 2000 and involved the collection of information on young people aged 16–25 in Britain, France and Germany, respondents being asked to comment on ideal family size. In Britain, there were clear differences between ethnic/nationality groups. The long–term indigenous population respondents expressed a preference for two or fewer children, Indian and Pakistani respondents expressed a far stronger preference for more than two children. The significance of these facts is enhanced by the fact that, as we saw earlier, the largest ethnic minority populations in the UK are Indians and Pakistani.

There looks then to be, to a significant extent, different demographic regimes for different ethnic groups. And finally, we should note the conclusion stated by Professor David Coleman in his Royal Society paper (R.25): "In the long term, the minority will become the majority in a country if there remains even one region in which the proportion of the minority continues to increase through immigration and/or higher birth rates (Steinmann & Jager 1997)".

Now there is good reason to think that change in the proportion of different ethnic or religious groups in a population can considerably increase inter–ethnic tensions and be one of the causes of the outbreak of conflict between groups. The former Yugoslavia provides an example. Before the civil wars which led to the break up of Yugoslavia, the country had five official nationalities, 12 ethnic minorities and three major religions; and deep and longstanding rivalries between Serbs, Croats, Muslims, and other ethnic groups, were present long before the beginning of these wars. There were also differences between the groups in birth and growth rates, and Parsons speaks of population competition and competitive breeding (R35).

This population competition seems to have been especially powerful in the province of Kosovo, where the proportion of ethnic Albanians was expanding rapidly through their comparatively high birthrate. The ethnic Albanians came to demand "more power in accordance with their numbers, and Serbian repression and street violence were becoming increasingly common and severe even before civil war broke out".

In general terms, Parsons thinks that if a minority population increases in size relative to the size of the majority population, a threshold may be reached at which there is a major and/or sudden behavioural change: serious between group competition may develop, sometimes leading in turn to conflict. While he states that he knows of no detailed study of this hypothesis, he does provide evidence of his own which supports it. These considerations should cause us to ponder seriously the possible adverse effects of the continuation of present UK population trends.

Northern Ireland should make us pause to think. The 1992 book by Coleman and Salt (R8) provides useful information, and the following account is based on this book, and so describes the situation up to 1992.

Here the divide is a religious and political divide rather than an ethnic one. Almost all Roman Catholics are of Irish origin and birth. The Protestants are almost all of Irish birth but ultimately many are of Scottish ancestry. The long–standing religious and political conflicts have severely damaged society and the economy in the province and preserved two different demographic regimes.

Roman Catholics are a substantial minority population, but their proportion of the population increased from 34% in 1926 to about 40% in 1981. The fertility difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics noted in the 1911 census, had become substantial by the 1930s and has widened considerably since the 1960s. Total marital fertility rates, Roman Catholic and Protestant, were 3.9 and 2.6 respectively in 1981. However, demographic differentials between the two groups seemed to be closing in the 1980s.

Now Roman Catholic fertility in 1971 was slightly higher in Northern Ireland than it was in the Republic (4.2 compared with 4.0). And Coleman and Salt say "part of which (this difference) may be explained as a 'minority' effect". The authors also note there are big differences in usage of family planning and methods used. Since Roman Catholic natural increase was three times that of Protestant in 1971, there has been speculation that Roman Catholics will 'out–breed' Protestants and eventually form the majority. If most Roman Catholics remained republican in sympathy, a democratic vote could then go in favour of union with the Republic, against the wishes of most of the Protestants.

Now Coleman and Salt cite a paper by John Coward as their authority for the 'minority effect' opinion. And the latter author in his paper mentions three ways in which minority status could affect fertility:

1. Members of a minority group who feel threatened may produce large families in order to become the majority (i.e.'competitive breeding').

2. If members of a low status minority group feel insecure and powerless, they might have a fatalistic attitude towards the future and be relatively unable to "construct rational plans for desired ends".

3. "Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland are strongly drawn towards their Church as a means of security and identity and thus tend to conform more closely to the Church's teaching on family life".

Coward concludes: "..it would appear that the minority status of Northern Irish Catholics has contributed to their higher fertility. However, the importance of minority status should not be overemphasised in a Northern Irish context..." (reasons given).

In addition to changing ethnic or religious balance in populations, we also consider that in any population, increase in population density where that density is already moderately high, is likely to aggravate social tensions of whatever kind, particularly so if resources are dwindling. And while tensions and open conflict in such diverse areas as for example various parts of sub–Saharan Africa, Malaya, Fiji and the Middle East during the recent half century had a variety of different causes, we think population competition, with or without competitive breeding, and/or increase in population density, have been amongst the causal factors. For readers who would like to further explore population competition and competitive breeding, Parsons in his book gives a detailed world–wide analysis.

We turn now to mainland Britain (i.e. GB). Clearly the situation here is very different to what it was in Yugoslavia prior to the break up of that country, to what it is now in the Middle East, and to a lesser extent to what it is now in Northern Ireland. Major ethnic minorities still make up only a very small percentage of the total population. Major religious and ethnic conflicts have been absent for a long time. We have a well tested and effective democratic tradition. The level of public order in the country remains high, and the Government actively promotes good relations between ethnic groups.

However, for a long time there have been tensions between ethnic groups in the UK (not entirely confined to 'Black' versus 'White'). We are already one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Our population is in our view already well above carrying capacity (see our essay "How many people can the earth support? Part 2. Ecological Footprints", attached to our Comment and Analysis page), and our population is still growing considerably. The total ethnic minority population has not only grown massively during recent decades, but its proportion of the total UK population has increased, and these trends show no sign of changing. We also point out that while at present, the UK economy seems to be strong, if economic conditions deteriorate, and unemployment were to increase, this might well fuel resentment by the native peoples of the UK against the growing ethnic minority populations.

And we note that not only is the total ethnic minority population growing, but the relative size of the various ethnic minority groups is changing, nationally, and locally, which could intensify any existing rivalries and tensions betweeen these groups. If we consider two major groups of ethnic minorities – Blacks and Asians, the relative size has been reversed since the early 1970s (R8 table12.7), and the disparity in size of the two groups apparently continues to grow. The book by N.C. Vaca discussed on our Other Literature page, is relevant here, giving an interesting insight into competition and rivalry between Black and Latino population groups in the USA. Of course 'Black' and 'Asian' are to some extent artificial groupings: both the Black and Asian groups in the UK have sub–groups differing in origin and culture, so whether any tensions between Blacks and Asians become really significant in future will depend on the extent that the peoples in each group do categorise themselves primarily as Blacks and Asians. Other groupings could be more significant here, such as religious groupings.

All these considerations must be seen against the background of the doctrine of multiculturalism, which in our view serves to draw attention to ethnic differences and promote separate development, which could be regarded as preparing the ground for future conflict despite government promotion of ethnic harmony.

Our own Royal Commission on Population in its 1949 report (R36) was mindful of some of the dangers we have discussed. In a section which considers problems associated with changing age composition of the population and the influence of migration upon this, we find the Commission expressing itself in language distinctly not politically correct by present standards! :
"Immigration on a large scale into a fully established society like ours could only be welcomed without reserve if the immigrants were of good human stock and were not prevented by their religion or race from intermarrying with the host population and becoming merged in it. These conditions were fulfilled by intermittent large scale immigration in the past, notably by the Flemish and French Protestant refugees who settled in Great Britain at different times. There is little or no prospect that we should be able to apply these conditions to large scale immigration in the future, and every increase of our needs, e.g., by more emigration from Great Britain or by a further fall in fertility, would tend to lower the standards of selection" (paragraph 329 page 124).

Later, in its Summary and General Conclusions chapter the Commission notes it's considered opinion that "the capacity of a fully established society like ours to absorb immigrants of alien race and religion is limited" (paragraph 648, page 225 – the same view was also stated in similar language on page 130 paragraph 342).

"...prevented by their religion or race from intermarrying with the host population and becoming merged in it." We note what we said earlier in this section, namely the high level of endogamy amongst Indian subcontinent groups in the UK, and we think also that strong allegiance to distinctive alien religions is reinforcing the separateness of Muslim and some other minorities, both reproductively and in terms of geographical location.

We may add to these considerations the view that in any nation the native people of the land have the right to maintain their numerical superiority, and thus help to ensure the retention of the traditional national character, and in the case of the UK the maintenance of Western values and culture. We note here that the Royal Commission seems to have been exercised on these issues. There is a section which deals with security and influence of Great Britain and ponders the question of what are desirable population trends (paragraph 650 page 226). This section notes:
"The drift of world affairs is giving a new emphasis to the conception of Western civilisation as an entity possessing reality and value". The paragraph goes on to note the significance of the decline in the fertility rate (actually the paragraph puts this in terms of falling family size towards and often below replacement level) and this "is a phenomenon common to most of the peoples of Western civilization and virtually confined to them. Their (Western countries) rate of increase has markedly declined while that of Oriental peoples has markedly accelerated". This might lead, the Commission argues, to a very significant accentuation of change in relative numbers of Western and Oriental peoples.

Then in the paragraph (651) which follows the paragraph we have just quoted from, we read: "This question is not merely one of military strength and security; it merges into more fundamental issues of the maintenance and extension of Western values and culture".

We consider that maintaining Western values and culture is a legitimate project, and present population trends endanger that objective, as well as endangering national identity. And we also consider that the changing proportions of ethnic groups may eventually threaten national sovereignty in view of the divided loyalty of many members of ethnic minority communities. There even seem to be members of these communities who have no loyalty whatever to the British State, and who would seek to undermine that State. An interesting insight here is provided by the 2002 paper by Vered Kahani–Hopkins and Nick Hopkins (R.37). These authors note that the General Secretary of the Islamic Party of Britain had written in a magazine article:
"To conquer Britain for Islam should be our goal, not to try and find a sheltered place for our own while the country sinks ever deeper into the abyss".
They also note that the late Dr. Kalim Siddiqui of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain had argued "it is almost impossible to be a Muslim without either living in an Islamic state or being engaged in a struggle to establish a Muslim state".

That such a goal still remains for some Muslims was shown in the Radio 4 programme "Beyond Belief" on the 8th September last year (2004) which mentioned one person who was advocating that Muslims who apostasise should face the death penalty. "Our purpose is to create a Muslim state in Britain".

And then there is the issue of terrorism, and the involvement of some members of Muslim communities in preparation for acts of terror. In his Statement to Parliament, 22nd February 2005, on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, the Home Secretary said : "Let no one be in any doubt that there are terrorists here and abroad who want to attack the UK and its interests" (R38 ). The real extent of the danger however, is revealed in the Home Office document "The Threat to the UK from International Terrorism" (R39). We read here:
"We know that both British and foreign nationals belonging to Al Qaida cells and associated networks are currently present throughout the UK, that they are supporting the activities of terrorist groups, and that in some cases they are engaged in planning, or attempting to carry out, terrorist attacks. Some of these terrorists have received military and specialist terrorist training in camps overseas, for example in Afghanistan" (our bold type).

Now people like the ones mentioned in the last three paragraphs may well form only a small minority of the total ethnic minority population in the UK, but the trouble is, we do not know how small. Furthermore, as far as terrorists are concerned, they may not all be Muslim or indeed be members of ethnic minority groups, although probably most of them are both.

We also wish to emphasise that all the concerns we have expressed in this whole section have nothing to do with any idea, true or false, that any culture, ethnic group or race, might be superior to others in any particular. Rather, it is a matter of the right of any sovereign state to safeguard its national identity, sovereignty and security, and take reasonable precautions against possible future societal breakdown including strife between ethnic groups.

Further we do not doubt the considerable contribution that immigrants of different cultures/ethnic groups/races have and are making to the UK (see the essay "Immigration. Benefits for the UK and a note on moral obligations" attached to our Comment and Analysis page). We note too the high moral standards which seem to often effectively flow from religious beliefs such as Islam, standards which in some respects it could be argued, put much of the native White population to shame.

But these considerations miss the fundamental point. However hardworking, however good, however intelligent immigrants are, increasing the ethnic minority proportion of our population, in the context of the firm adoption of the concept of multiculturalism, brings with it the very serious possibility of conflict, and loss of national identity and sovereignty. And we add to that point that immigration is making a massive contribution to the growth of our population, when we already have a population that in our view has for a long time been well over the carrying capacity limit.

Now the concept of Sustainable Development seems to be universally acknowledged. And it is widely accepted that to achieve sustainable development we must adopt the precautionary principle. This states that we should take action now to ensure that possible future adverse events or trends do not in fact materialize. Every year that passes will make it more difficult to arrest changing ethnic balance in the UK . And it is a sad commentary on the state of the nation that none of the three major political parties alert the public to changing demographic trends and possible future consequences. And the UK Government appears to have no clear overall population policy.

Finally, it seems to us reasonable to conclude that fears of ethnic replacement (swamping), and loss of social cohesion, national identity and sovereignty, are unjustifed if we consider the short term future, but justified if we are considering the more distant future.

j) Recent population estimates

The 2001 census provided new information about the UK population and some of this information has been incorporated into the information given earlier on this page. The census put the UK population as roughly a million smaller than had previously been estimated. There has, however, been a lot of controversy about the census method and results. Information about the census is found at the Population and Migration section of the web site http://www.statistics.gov.uk . The information now given is derived from this source.

Results from the 2001 census started to be released in the autumn of 2002 when it was announced that on census day 2001 the UK population was about 58.8 million (census day was 29 April 2001). Actually this first public announcement of the census result proclaimed that:
"The population of the United Kingdom on Census Day 2001 was 58,789,194 it has been revealed by the Registrars General for England and Wales, for Scotland and for Northern Ireland".

Now for ordinary people, unfamiliar with the details of census and statistical methods, this gives a totally misleading impression of the possible accuracy of the census. It is in fact quite impossible to determine our population to anything like this high degree of accuracy. And in the autumn of 2003 ONS announced that they had "identified" 3,000 unprocessed census forms covering an estimated 7,000 people!

Census data was used to revise the mid–year population estimates. Initially the revised estimate of the UK 2001 mid–year population was given, to the nearest thousand, in autumn 2002, as 58,837,000. However, since this initial announcement, the 2001 mid–year population estimate has been revised upwards. To appreciate the magnitude of these revisions compare the following (estimates to the nearest thousand):

Estimate prior to the census: 59,987.
Initial Census estimate: 58,837.
September 2003 revision: 59,031.
November 2003 revision: 59,051.
September 2004 revision: 59,114

(We are assured by the ONS in e–mail correspondence, that the 59,051 figure (we round this up from the released figure of 59,050,800) pertains to a release in November 2003. However, we have a print out from the ONS site dated 23rd October 2003 which gives the 59,050,800 figure).

Now, On 8th July 2004 ONS produced a News Release saying 60,000 people will be added to the 2001 Census population figures for England and Wales. Commenting on the latest revisions, Simon Briscoe, Statistics Editor for the Financial Times wrote an article on the Newspaper's web site, also on the 8th July. It was headed "Census figures can no longer be relied on". He quotes from Lindsay Brook, a social researcher who was a census enumerator in London's borough of Hackney who said it was "an absolute nonsense for inner city census results to be taken seriously". He said numerators did a "difficult job in terrible conditions" with little support from their managers. Language problems – many people in the area do not speak English – and the mobility of the population – few people felt like filling in forms – meant that the census in his area was a "shambles". Briscoe also quotes from John Hollis, census expert at the Greater London Authority, who said that the enumeration in some areas of London "was very poorly run – it just didn't work".

Note. The detailed criticisms of the census we reported on prior to February 2004, are contained in our "criticisms of the census", which is part of the United Kingdom section of the Population Trends page as it was before recent revisions, which has been transferred from the present page to our Archives page.

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R31. Haskey, J.C. 91992). Demographic characteristics of the ethnic minority populations of Great Britain. In Bittles, A.H. & Roberts, D.F. (eds.). Minority populations. Genetics, demography and health. Macmillan, London.

R32. Penn, R. & Lambert, P. (2002). Attitudes towards ideal family size of different ethnic/nationality groups in Great Britain, France and Germany. Population Trends 108: 49–58.

R33. Population Statistics Division, OPCS (1986). Ethnic minority populations in Great Britain. Population Trends 46: 18–21.

R34. ONS. (2003). Census 2001. Standard tables for wards in England and Wales.

R35. Parsons, J. (1998). Human population competition. A study of the pursuit of power through numbers. Edwin Mellen Press, Lampeter, Wales. More recently the fourth edition has been available as "Population competition for security or attack. A study of the perilous pursuit of power through weight of numbers". Population Policy Press, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, RCT, UK

R36. Royal Commission on population (1949). Report. London. His Majesty's Stationery Office.

R37. Kahani–Hopkins, V. & Hopkins, N. (2002). Representing British Muslims: the strategic dimension to identity construction. Ethnic and Racial Studies 25, 2: 288–309.

R.38. Home Office (2004). The Home Secretary's statement to Parliament 22nd February 2005 introducing the Prevention of Terrorism Bill.

R39. Home Office (2004). The Threat to the UK from International Terrorism. (Web path: Home – Terrorism – The Threats. 4th January).

R40. Schuman, J. (1999). The ethnic minority populations of Great Britian – latest estimates. Population Trends 96: 33–43.

© Gaia Watch 2005.



i). Muslim protests over Mohammed cartoons: Other dimensions and perspectives

The argument has been primarily presented by the media as an argument between proponents of free speech and proponents of religious sensitivity. Western civilsation has evolded to include freeedom of speech as a basic tenet. Publishing cartoons depicting or even ridiculing religious leaders is accepted as part of freedom of speech. On the otherhand, Muslims are arguing that the display and re-display of some cartoons shows crass insensitivity on a subject vitally important to people of a major world religion, and they suspect that the carttons were published as part of a campaign to denigrate the Muslim religion. Muslim leaderes have been quick to claim that the violent protests - and they were violent - were perpetrated by only a minority of the Muslim population (a 'freak' group as one Muslim commentator put it) and most muslims are opposed to such violent protest.

Even at this level, it needs to be emphasised that as far as Europe is concerned, the Muslim population is still a small minority of the total population, and a major component of that population consists of immigrants rather than people even born in Europe.It is entirely legitimate to say that this Muslim minority, has no right whatever, to challenge the basic tenets of a civilization which has taken a very long time to evolve, and which many European people have given their lives to form and maintain. People who come to join a population, a soveregn state, a civilisation, should be expected to conform to the standards of that population, not to attempt to subvert it. And in the Uk we only have Muslim leaders word for it that the majority of Muslims do not suppport violent protest. We may doubt this, when we re,memebr that the vast majority of Muslims in Europe originate in countries that are dictatorial, and where violence, by both the authporities and the public seem tgo be aaczepted as a normal way of operarting. And while the BBC in its coverage of the demonstration in Trafagar Square, spoke of the demonstration cosnsited of "thousands " of people, and many of the people were saying they do not suppport the violent demonstrations that had occurred previously, the square was not exactly full; the impression given to any objective observer would have been that not many of the Muslim population of Britian were very concerend to come out and speak against violence of word or deed.

But we need to go beyond the level and limits of discourse just described. There are other dimensions to recent events, which set these events in a wider hstorical and political context. These involve the development of an Islamic political voice in Europe and the concept of the separation of religion and politics. Papers by R. Grillo and A. Salvatore in the September 2004 edition of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies provide much useful information on these dimensions.

Despite the variety of religious traditions and countries of origin, there has been a gradual development in recent times of a Muslim voice which has sought to establish and expand a Muslim 'public space' in Europe, a common desire to 'make a place for Islam'. There has been a process of 'transethnicisation' of Islamic populations, "the emergence of an identification...covering all strands of Islam from the point of view of religious doctrine and practice, and national and ethnic origin". (Grillo).
In this procees of 'making a place', Muslims have sought to make room for Islam and Islamic practices, "seeking to extend the boundary of recognition through 'test cases'". "Claims for Islamic recognition are more widespread and pressing. 1989 was a turning point with the Rushdie affair in Britian and the headscarved affair in France iconic of a more thrusting Islam" (Grillo). And this demand for space may in fact go further , for at one end of the spectrum of demand is, Grillo admits, a demand for conversion. And here we note as Grillo does, the doctrine of umma, the 'nation of Islam', which is the totality of all Muslims.

And there is another dimension to this attempt by Muslims to make space, and to any consideration of the significance of the recent Muslim protests. Salvatore discusses at length the concepts of public and private spheres, and the separation of politics and religion, in Europe. In the evolution of the European civilisation, a separation of public from private, and public from religious spheres has evolved. At the same time, as Grillo and Salvatore discuss, religion has had a significant role in the formation of European nation-states. And religion here incorporate values from Graeco-Roman and humanist traditions as well as from the Judaeo-Chistian tradition. Now many Muslims feel that while the Judaeo-Christian religions have come to be accepted as the guardians of morality, Islam is wrongly excluded. And European history, as commonly understood in the West, has perhsps minimised the contribution of Islam; and as one scholar that Salvatore mentioned argues, there is no good reason why "Europe's past achievements... should not be reconstructed in richer and more complex ways, in order to accomodate Islamic history". Further, the growing Muslim population of Europe has come to challenge the validity of these separations anyway, and to demand a recognition of Islam and its practices which overflows from the private to the public sphere.

To return to the veil. Salvatore writes:
"The iconic power of the veil relates to the fact that the secularly trained eye perceives the way it crosses, whether intentionally or not, the weel-entrenched border between private and public spheres as the epitome of the essential threwsat of Islam in Europe. Indeed, many perceive it as a de facto tool of proselytising or at the very least as a symbolic colonisation of the public space, which is supposed to be free of religion........indeed, the veil is a figurative 'fist in the eye' of the average citizen, the state administrator, as well the journalist and scholar".
And Salvatore goes on to point out that this 'visibilisation' must be understood in relation to the history of formulas developed in Europe for the separattion of the spheres of religion and politics, public and private spheres: "The intersection of these two codes of separation that were essential to the formation of nation-states is in the administrative delimitation of a religious field and its subjection to state monitoring. With the separation of private and public sheres, religion was barred from the latter but was considered constitutive of the 'inner forum' of man, that is, the moral engine of the private sphere".

Concern over the manifestations of Islam such as the adoption of the veil, as disrupting 'sacred secular borders' must be seen in a historical context. Because in the European past, it was the "proliferation of untamed religious divisiveness " which unleashed the catastrophic Wars of Religion "and threatened to precipitae all of Europe into chaos".

vary many organsiations/ what Muslim leaders said in Population Trends/ rise in size of the Muslim population and its eventual replacement / sovereignty And finally we need to look at the Muslim protests froma demographic prospect. Thdere has been a massive increasee in the Muslim population of Europe , including the UK. For the latter see our Population Trends page, and also see the refent ...... And this increaese is being sustained, perhaps accdelereated, by continued net immigration of Muslims and the higher fertility of muslim populations compared with the native White populations. Andw emust rmebebr the wrning that David Coleman, professor of Demographby at Oxford university re-iterated ...... Truly, ther is much more tot eh recent Muslim demonstartions than meets the eye.

h). Is Economic Growth good for the Environment? An approach to this question using the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis

Introduction

It is commonly argued that we need economic growth to ensure the well-being of the economy and improve standards of living. Further, the promotion of economic growth worldwide is seen as the way to lift developing countries out of poverty. But what are the effects of economic growth on the environment? More specifically, in terms of consumption of resources and production of waste products, to what extent does economic growth promote resource depletion and increase in waste production and hence increased damage to the environment? And here some economists argue that economic growth will eventually lead to an improvement in the environment, despite some past increases in environmental degradation correlated with economic growth.

In this essay, we will not attempt a comprehensive evaluation of this whole set of ideas. Readers interested in such an evaluation could not do better than read the masterful analysis made by Herman Daly, formerly senior economist in the environment department of the World Bank, in the September 2005 issue of the Scientific American magazine. Rather, we will attempt just a partial exploration by studying the work surrounding what has become known as the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis. Readers will find another introduction to this hypothesis in our earlier essay “I=PAT. An introduction”, which is also accessed from the Analysis section of the Comments and Analysis page of our web site.

Kuznets was a USA economist of Russian extraction. In 1955 he advanced the hypothesis that during the process of industrialisation of presently developed nations, income inequality in society initially increased, later ceased to increase and eventually began to decrease (Kuznets, 1955). This sequence was tied up with the gradual process of urbanisation. The hypothesis goes roughly like this.

The average per capita income of the rural population has usually been lower than that of the urban population. Now at the beginning of the process of industrialisation, the urban population was relatively small, and its income distribution was more unequal than that of the rural agricultural population. This would be particularly so when the urban population was being swelled fairly rapidly by immigrants from the rural areas and abroad. Then in urban areas there would be a full range from “low-income positions of recent entrants to the economic peaks of the established top-income groups”. So as the weight of population moved from rural to urban areas, income inequality increased. But as industrialisation proceeded, the economic position of the lower-income groups (measured by per capita income) in urban areas, improved for various reasons which Kuznets details, such as the growing political power of the urban lower-income groups, and income inequality in urban areas decreased. Since the majority of the population came to be located in urban areas, income inequality decreased nationally.

Kuznets also gave a supplementary argument which supports the above conclusion. He argued that in the early stages of the emergence of the industrial system, the agricultural and industrial revolutions, together with the rapid rise of population (caused by the rapid decline in death rates while birth rates were maintained), would have had a shattering, dislocating effect on society. But it would be the lower income groups which bore the brunt of this dislocation. In contrast, in the early stages, there were factors favouring the upper income groups – they were bolstered by gains out of new industries with a rapid rate of creation of new fortunes. These processes would have led to a widening income inequality in society. However, one “would expect these forces to be relatively stronger in the earlier phases of industrialization than in the later when the pace of industrial growth slackens”.

Overall then, Kuznets postulated that over time during the development of modern industrial economies, income inequality first rose, then levelled off and subsequently declined. However, this change must be viewed against the background of overall economic growth and the fact that average per capita income rose over time (except during catastrophic periods such as wars). So that if one plots income inequality against per capita income one gets a bell shaped, or inverted U-shaped curve (actually Kuznets did not give such a curve in his paper).

It is worthwhile now, when so much current interest is on the poverty of “developing nations”, especially in Africa, to note that Kuznets cautioned against accepting the idea that developing nations might experience the same trajectory. And for those of us who are interested in the manifold effect of population growth, Kuznets noted that the “long swing” (the name he gave to the changing relationship we have just mentioned) occurred alongside the long swing of the demographic transition: “For the older countries a long swing is observed in the rate of growth of population – the upward phase represented by acceleration in the rate of growth reflecting the early reduction in the death rate which was not offset by a decline in the birth rate ( and in some cases was accompanied by a rise in the birth rate); and the downward phase represented by a shrinking in the rate of growth reflecting the more pronounced downward trend in the birth rate”. And Kuznets asks the question, is there a possible relation between these two different swings?

Now the demographic transition, mentioned above, involves two key processes, reduction in mortality and reduction in fertility. Only if the latter occurs will population growth rate eventually decline allowing the completion of the Demographic Transition. And developing countries vary a great deal in the extent that fertility has declined in recent decades. In particular, fertility has not declined very much in many African countries. It is indeed uncertain whether or not these countries will ever complete the Demographic Transition. So if Kuznets conjecture on the possible relationship between the long swing in income inequality and the Demographic Transition is correct, we may share Kuznets doubt that developing nations might experience the income inequality trajectory producing the inverted U–shaped curve. We will return later to what the future holds in store for developing nations.

Now during the 1990s several workers found evidence suggesting that with some particular indicator or indicators of environmental pollution, as per capital income in a country increases, per capita pollution increases initially, then levels off, and later decreases. Graphically this relationship also shows an inverted U-shaped curve. So the hypothesis was born that as per capita income increases, pressure on the environment increases up to a certain level and then (at the 'turning point') decreases. The resemblance of this relationship to the one studied by Kuznets led to the hypothesis being called the Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis (henceforth the EKC hypothesis). To many, the EKC hypothesis suggested that far from causing yet more serious environmental degradation, continued economic growth was the best way to ensure that this did not take place.

The EKC hypothesis
Text describing the Kuznets curve
The hypothesis states there is an inverted U-shaped relationship between some indicators of environmental damage and economic growth. So during economic growth, environmental degradation will initially increase, but eventually decrease. If one then plots an indicator of environmental damage against GDP per capita, one gets an inverted U-shaped curve with a 'turning point' (TP). The hypothesis implies that rising income itself is the primary cause of decreasing environmental quality at low incomes and improving environmental quality at higher incomes (Moomaw and Unruh, 1997).

What could be the mechanism or mechanisms by which the relationship between environmental degradation and income is produced? The commonest explanation advanced concerns the value people attach to improving the environment in which they live. As people become wealthier, they have more time to think about other things than mere survival, time to think about environmental conditions, and, being more wealthy, they have more clout to influence local and national governments to take action to improve the environment through regulation, and more interest in using their clout in this way. Resultant regulation leads to an improvement in the environment in which people live ( Canas, 2003; Dinda, 2004, 2005 ).

However, other factors are involved. The history of industrialised countries is one of economic change from rural agricultural, to urban industrial society, with increased environmental degradation (‘dark satanic mills’). But subsequent movement from an energy intensive industrial economy towards a service based industrial economy leads to a fall in environmental degradation. Also, as a country becomes more wealthy, it can afford to spend more on research and development, which leads to the development of improved technologies and subsequent reduced environmental impact (Canas, ibid; Dinda, ibid).

The effects of international trade, to which we will return again later, are also involved in the mechanism of the Kuznet curve relationship. On the one hand, trade leads to an increase in the size of the economy of a country, and hence to an increase in pollution. On the other hand, international trade can be a force improving the environment. For example, by stimulating a rise in income, it feeds into the income – increased regulation relationship mentioned above.

Evidence for the Kuznets curve relationship

Although several workers found empirical evidence for the Kuznets curve relationship for environmental degradation in the early 1990s, commentators are generally agreed that the key early paper was that by Grossman and Krueger (1991) on air quality measures. These authors found the EKC relationship for ambient levels of SO2 and dark suspended matter (smoke), and estimated the turning point per capita GDP.

One pollutant that several workers thought showed the Kuznets curve relationship was sulphur dioxide, SO2. We take by way of example, the work of Beckerman (1992) who studied data on ambient concentrations of SO2 in cities in ‘low-income’, ‘middle-income’ and ‘high-income’ countries. Data for the years 1977 to 1981 showed that the country groups could be arranged, from low to high concentrations in the order: Low-income: middle-income: high-income. But about ten years later, this order was reversed. This corresponded to a decrease in SO2 concentrations of roughly 9 per cent per annum in the high-income countries and a 3.7 per cent rise in low-income countries. Beckerman also found that another pollutant, very damaging to human health, ‘small particulate matter’(SPM) showed similar trends although even in the earlier years low-income countries had far higher SPM concentrations than did cities in middle- and high-income countries.

Beckerman also studied other indicators of the state of the human environment. In developing countries, bad sanitation (inadequate supplies of (clean) water and the absence of proper sewage disposal systems) has a very harmful effect on human health. Beckerman wrote that at that time, about one, or one and a half billion people were affected by water-related diseases in one form or another. So sanitation provides indicators of environmental health. Beckerman studied the relevant data for developing countries and found that higher average incomes tend to be associated with a higher proportion of the population having access to water and sewage disposal.

Beckerman's paper deals with damage to the environment in so far as factors directly affecting human health are concerned. It is important to note however what the paper did not deal with, did not cover. In the first place, although changes in CO2 concentrations were discussed by Beckerman, he did not investigate the relationship between these changes and income. Now, increased CO2 concentrations contribute to global warming, which will in the future, and most analysts think now does, cause an increase in severe weather events, damaging the economy, causing flooding, damaging homes and infrastructure, as with the recent Los Angeles disaster, and will submerge vast areas of low lying agricultural land in the future. In other words, rising CO2 concentrations have an indirect effect on human health. Second, Beckerman did not deal with the much wider question, how has increased income related to overall environmental damage, which must include things like decline in natural ecosystems, damage to agricultural land, pollution of rivers and seas!

So we now leave this one particular paper and find out what other workers have concluded about the validity and extent of application of the EKC hypothesis.

An attempt at consensus

By the middle of the 1990s a considerable amount of analysis had been carried out. However drawing valid conclusions was hampered by limitations in the available data:

Two different types of data set had been used by investigators. The first, and most used type was ‘cross-sectional’ - examining the actual GDP/environmental indicator relationship at some point in time across a whole set of countries. The second type of data set provides time-series within countries: how the GDP/environmental indicator relationship has changed over time in individual countries. This second type of data set is the best type for investigating the Kuznets relationship; unfortunately, such historical data sets that were then available were usually of short time length, making it difficult to draw useful conclusions from this sort of data set alone.

Now there is an assumption made in drawing conclusions from cross-sectional data sets. This is that all the countries involved will eventually show the same time trajectory of change in the GDP/environmental indicator relationship. But there is no guarantee that countries in the early stages of per capita GDP growth will eventually develop in the same way that countries in much later stages of GDP growth have already developed. Analyses based on cross-sectional data must then be treated with caution, especially if not backed up by time-series based analyses.

Vincent (1997) comments on this issue. He points out that “virtually all the low-income observations come from developing countries, while all the high-income observations come from developed countries”. This lack of overlap means that conclusions about a changing relationship between GDP and environmental change could be nothing more than statistical artefacts:
“‘environmental Kuznets curves’…may simply reflect the juxtaposition of a positive relationship between pollution and income in developing countries with a fundamentally different, negative one in developed countries, not a single relationship that applies to both categories of countries”.

Despite these difficulties, there was a growing opinion amongst workers in the field that some legitimate conclusions could be drawn about the EKC hypothesis, and in 1994 an important cooperative initiative was taken by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences when they organised a workshop on the subject of this hypothesis. One outcome of this meeting was an attempt by eleven scientists from the USA, Sweden and England to establish what was the general consensus about the significance of the EKC hypothesis. Their paper was published in the journal Science (Arrow et al. 1995). In the same year the Institute for Ecological Economics hosted a ‘forum’, inviting a selection of workers to contribute papers discussing various aspects of this supposed consensus, and subsequently these papers were published in various journals.

Arrow et al noted that the inverted U-shaped relationship between some measures of environmental quality and per capita income had been used as evidence to support the general proposition that economic growth is good for the environment. However, they point out that the inverted U-shaped curve had by then only been clearly shown to apply to a selected set of environmental pollutants (SO2, NOx (oxides of nitrogen), CO (carbon monoxide), suspended particulates), quality of sanitation and purity of water supplies. These are pollutants which involve local short-term costs for remediation. In contrast, the relationship had not been found at that time for pollutants or stocks of waste involving long-term and more dispersed costs such as CO2. Further, while the curve had been found for some emissions, i.e. some outputs from the material economy, it had not been shown for resource stocks (imputs into the material economy).

The authors also note that the reduction of one pollutant in a given country might involve an increase in other pollutants in the same country or the transfer of pollutants to other countries. And finally, where emissions have declined with rising income, “the reductions have been due to local institutional reforms, such as environmental legislation and market-based incentives to reduce environmental impacts. But such reforms often ignore international and intergenerational consequences. Where the environmental costs of economic activity are borne by the poor, by future generations, or by other countries, the incentives to correct the problem are likely to be weak. The environmental consequences of growing economic activity may, accordingly, be very mixed”.

The subsequently published papers in general supported the conclusion that the Kuznets curve relationship did exist for some indicators of environment degradation but not for other indicators. For example, Barbier (1997) reached this conclusion for the papers published in the special Kuznets issue of the journal Environment and Development Economics. He concluded the relationship was clear for some atmospheric pollutants, especially SO2 and to a lesser extent solid particular matter. He notes however, that several studies have suggested the Kuznets relationship may not apply to CO2 emissions.

We turn now to some of the individual publications that appeared in this overall discussion of the Kuznets hypothesis, papers which help to build up a more in-depth and general picture of the situation.

Moomaw and Unruh (1997) surveying previous work on C02 concluded that different workers had reached conflicting conclusions. They also note that some workers found an N-shaped, not an inverted U-shaped curve – CO2 emissions did decline over a mid-range of incomes but as incomes continued to rise there was a re-establishment of the upward trend in CO2 emissions.

Moomaw and Unruh in their own work studied the relationship between CO2 emissions and per capita GDP in countries across the world from 1950 to 1992. They found that one group of countries (‘Type 1’) showed a relationship with some resemblance to the Kuznets curve. These were a subset of OECD (industrialised) countries. ‘Type 2’ countries showed a continuous correlation between CO2 and GDP, generally positive, but when a country suffered ‘economic contraction’ the CO2 emissions showed a ‘backtracking’ (reduction). This group of countries was dominated by the presence of centrally planned economies and some developing countries. ‘Type 3’ countries exhibited a ‘chaotic’ relationship – they showed no consistent relationship between CO2 and GDP over the period studied. This set of countries was dominated by developing countries that had failed to generate consistent GDP growth. So the first conclusion that can be drawn is that even if the Kuznets relationship is found, it is not found in the majority of countries.

However, the authors found a very interesting feature of the plot between CO2 emissions and per capita GDP. The ‘turning point’ in the relationship did not show as a smooth curve change, as in the Kuznets curve, but as a sudden, discontinuous transition. This leads to the suspicion that the primary relationship is not between GDP and CO2, but between some other factor and CO2. In fact the Authors found the data on the turning point relates much better to the oil price shocks of the 1970s and the policies that governments subsequently adopted.

Schindler (1996) looked at the global situation but with a focus on events in Canada. He noted that “typically, the U-shaped relationships are based on expenditures for environmental amenities, implying that higher spending will necessarily lead to better environmental quality”. However, typically, expenditures on the environment do not increase until severe environmental degradation has already occurred. It is then that time-consuming, very costly – and often ineffectual - assessment, cleanup and restoration activities are undertaken. He gives various examples such as billions of dollars spent, with little gain, for the cleanup of St. Lawrence Great Lakes. Schindler then sardonically comments “it follows that environmentally responsible economic planning would prevent U-shaped relationships from occurring al all”.

The paper by Cole et al (1997) shows even more clearly how tenuous a relationship between per capita income and environmental degradation often is. They looked into pollution with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons. We know how there has been a massive reduction in the use of these chemicals. But this is not related to any gradual increase of per capita income. It is a consequence of the Montreal Protocol committing signatories to massive reductions in use of these chemicals. The authors comment that this example illustrates the potential effectiveness of international cooperation (actually they say “a multilateral response”) to an environmental problem. But they add a rider: This sort of effective response may turn out to be unusual. It was possible “because of the relative ease with which cleaner alternatives to CFCs and halons have been developed, and hence their relatively low abatement costs”.

Of considerable interest is the likely change in environmental degradation in developing countries. The EKC relationship may have been found with some indicators of environmental degradation in developed countries, but will developing countries show this relationship? A subsidiary question is; will developing countries attain the level of per capita wealth at which the turning point is likely to occur?

The paper by Vincent (1997) already mentioned gives us some insight into this question. This study concerned one developing country, Malaysia, which had already gone quite a long way on the path of economic development, and Malaysia’s economy had been one of the fastest-growing in the world since the 1970s. Malaysia was a good country to study because it had more, and probably better data on environmental quality than perhaps any other country. Vincent claims his study is the first such analysis of the pollution/income relationship over time for a developing country.

Vincent did two things. First for various air pollutants he compared Malaysian emission trends over 1987 – 1991 with the predictions made by some other workers (Selden and Song, 1994) from cross-sectional (across-countries) studies. Then, using data from the late 1970s into the early 1990s he looked into the pollution-income relationship for one air pollutant, total suspended particulates (TSP), using ambient air quality data, and several water-quality parameters such as biochemical oxygen demand.

Selden and Song had studied particulates, SOx, NOx and CO. All except CO showed the inverted U-shape relationship. And the turning points in the curve for the three pollutants showing the relationship were in the region of 10,000 US dollars. This figure is about at the dividing line between upper-middle-income and high-income countries in 1988. But this level is well above Malaysia’s per capita GDP in the 1987-91 period. Selden and Song’s results then suggest that Malaysia’s air pollution emissions should have been rising during 1987-91. Vincent found that the emissions did indeed rise for particulates, NOx and CO, but the increases were much smaller than predicted by Selden and Song’s estimated relationships. However, SOx declined considerably, and for a very simple reason: emissions by power plants declined sharply during the period in question. But this was not because of some new environmental policy. It was because big natural gas reserves had been found in Malaysia; and the government decided to reduce dependence on imported fuel oil by converting power plants to natural gas. If it had not discovered natural gas, or, if it had decided to export all the gas it produced instead of raising consumption by domestic power plants, emissions of SOx would not have declined so steeply as they in fact did, if at all. “Geology and a desire for energy independence, not rising income and associated environmental policy responses, were responsible for the decline in SOx emissions”.

In the study of changes over time for TSP and water-quality parameters, Vincent found that the inverted U-shaped relationship was not found for any of the factors investigated. Either income was not significantly associated with the factor (three water-quality parameters) or it maintained a positive relationship (TSP and two water-quality parameters) – “rising income worsened pollution”.

Ayers (1995) went further than Arrow and colleagues in being sceptical over the general proposition that economic growth is good for the environment. In fact he concluded the proposition was “false and pernicious nonsense”. Remember that Arrow et al had noted that the relationship had not been found for resource depletion. Now Ayres notes that economic growth is historically closely correlated with increased consumption of energy and other resources. He also notes that “most of the environmental problems of regional and global concern are directly traceable to the unsustainable use of fossil fuels and/or other materials, such as toxic heavy metals and chlorinated chemicals”. Further he notes a general consequence of the basic physical law of conservation of mass – “every material extracted from the environment is a potential waste…Except for materials used in construction, raw materials (and fuels) usually become wastes or pollutants within months or a few years at most”.

Assessments published in 2004

Both Dinda (2004) and Yandle et al (2004) carried out surveys of the literature on the Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis and made their own analyses of the evidence. We now turn to their conclusions. As far as empirical evidence is concerned, Dinda distinguished three categories of indicators that have been used in the literature – air quality, water quality, and other environmental quality indicators, with the following results.

Environmental indicators

Air quality indicators.
Urban and/or local air quality indicators (SO2, suspended particulate matter, CO, NOx etc) which directly affect human health generally show the inverted U-shaped relationship. But generally, this relationship had not been found for air pollutants that have little direct impact on health. Global pollutants (e.g. CO2) either increase monotonically or decrease as income grows. However, Yandle et al, while noting that most workers have not found the Kuznets relationship for CO2, nevertheless point out that M. A. Cole did find it, although the turning point was at a much higher per capita GDP than with other pollutants; and Hill and Magnani also found the relationship for CO2.

Water quality indicators.
Three main sub-categories have been investigated: a) concentration of pathogens in water; b) amount of heavy metals and toxic chemicals discharged in water by human activities; c) measures of deterioration of the water oxygen regime (Vincent’s water-quality parameters). Here the results are more mixed than for air quality indicators. Evidence for the EKC relationship was found for some indicators, but conflicting results about the shape and peak of the curve were often found. And some authors found instead of the inverted U-shaped relationship, an N-shaped curve. Here, as mentioned earlier, during economic growth, the inverted-U curve develops, but beyond a certain income level, the relationship between environmental pressure and income reverts to being positive.

Other environmental indicators.
This embraces a wide variety of indicators: municipal solid wastes, urban sanitation, access to safe drinking water, energy use and traffic volumes etc. Dinda concludes: “All studies find that environmental problems having direct impact on human health (such as access to urban sanitation and clean water) tend to improve steadily with economic growth. On contrary, when environmental problems can be externalised (as in the case of municipal solid wastes) curve does not even fall at high-income levels”. The evidence on deforestation is conflicting. Yandle et al however, seem on balance, to conclude that the evidence on deforestation points to the existence of the Kuznets curve relationship at least in some areas of the world. While noting that the relationship was not found by all investigators, they note how several workers or groups of workers did find the relationship in studies involving Latin American and African countries. Yandle et al also discuss published evidence on two other environmental indicators: Evidence has been found using cross-sectional data for the U-shaped relationship between water withdrawal for agriculture and per capita income. And in India the EKC has been found for changes in crop areas (as income increases, cropland declines, allowing more room for habitat).

The role of technology

Dinda notes, as was mentioned earlier, that as a country becomes wealthier it can afford to spend more on research and development, leading to the development of improved environmental technologies. Here public spending on environmental research and development acts as a catalyst for private investment in developing new technologies. 'Dirty' and obsolete technologies are replaced by upgraded new and cleaner technologies. The consequence of such changes is that "a given amount of goods can be produced with successively reduced burdens on natural resources and the environment". In otherwords, methods of raw material extraction and manufacture of goods from these raw materials, become more efficient, as do methods of pollution abatement. This line of argument leads to the subjects of 'dematerialization and 'de-linking' which we take up later in this essay.

It is worth noting at this point that technological development is a key reason for the optimism of economists of Julian Simon ilk over concerns about future resource depletion and economic growth. As we note in our earlier essay “How many people can the earth support? part 1”, the argument goes: Pursuit of some particular resource leads in the short term to falling availability and consequent rise in prices. This however has two effects. First, it stimulates people to develop better extraction technology; second, it stimulates people to find/develop substitutes for the non-renewable resource. The result is that this leaves us better off than if the original problem had never arisen. We do not share Simon's optimism.

Regulation, institutions and property rights

We saw earlier an example of how regulation can very effectively reduce harmful emissions (CFCs and halogens, in that case as a result of internationaL cooperation). And both Dinda and Yandle et al conclude that pollution grows unless environmental regulation is strengthened. Dinda also says that at the national level, social institutions tend to be strengthened by economic growth, although corruption may hinder this process. Yandle et al emphasise that strong institutions are essential if environmental regulation is to be enforced. And on the basis of work by Panayatou, they conclude that “the quality of policies and institutions in a country can significantly reduce environmental degradation at low-income levels and speed up improvements at higher-income levels”.

Both Dinda and Yandle et al emphasise that Property Rights are also important. Ownership creates the incentive to conserve and to accumulate wealth that can be traded or passed to future generations. Dinda writes: “Countries with a high degree of private ownership and proper allocation of property rights have more efficient resource allocation, which helps to increase income and decrease environmental problems”. And he concludes,
“thus, the EKC may be a proxy for a property rights model that begins with a commons and ends with private property rights”. Yandle et al say virtually the same thing in their paper.

International trade

So far we have treated countries as if they were all self-contained and isolated. In fact all countries engage in international trade. And this trade influences the economy, the affluence and the environment of countries. And this leads us to a very contentious hypothesis – the Pollution Haven Hypothesis (PHH). The argument here, based primarily on Dinda's paper, and simplified, goes like this.

We can think of countries divided into two groups. On the one hand, high income countries with considerable environmental regulation designed to limit environmental damage, and low income countries where environmental regulation is at best rudimentary. Pollution intensive production, for example, mining, is thus comparatively costly in high income countries. If we assume a certain degree of trade liberalisation, there will then be some degree of relocation of pollution intensive production from high income countries to low income countries. Consequently pollution rises in lax regulation countries and falls in countries with stringent environmental regulation. So on the global scale, the world’s most pollution producing industries locate in the countries with the lowest environmental standards with the result that world pollution rises.

This hypothesis has obvious relevance to any discussion of the EKC relationship. For supposing that some environmental indicator in a wealthy country shows the Kuznets curve relationship over time, while this indicates a benefit for the country concerned, it may be associated with a consequential increased environmental degradation in some poor country or countries. Then at a global level, there is no environmental improvement.

Obviously the effects of international trade are much more complicated than this brief introduction to the PHH portrays. For example, the relocation of ‘dirty’ industries is associated with foreign direct investment and technology transfer which can stimulate economic development in underdeveloped countries, assist governments there to improve the efficiency of production and thus reduce pollution. Further, trade may raise income levels of people in poorer countries which can lead to demands from the public for more effective environmental protection as was mentioned in an earlier section. And Yandle et al appear to us to conclude that in general, with developing countries, environmental prospects are better in countries more open to international trade than countries closed to such trade.

As we said at the beginning, the Pollution Haven Hypothesis has proved to be very contentious, and continues to be debated. And while there is clear evidence of the sort of effect predicted by the hypothesis in some countries, this does not prove that the mechanism producing the effect is the one stated by the PHH, which depends partly on degrees of environmental regulation. Various other factors affect trade in ‘dirty’ goods, for example, abundance of capital, or degree of government corruption.

We will not pursue this topic in detail here, leading as it would into an extended discussion of the pros and cons of free trade and globalisation; however we will briefly return to the topic in our section below on dematerialization. Readers who would like to explore further the PHH might like to study Taylor (2005).

Prospects for the developing world

Dinda also looks into the question raised above in connection with the work of Vincent – will the EKC relationship manifest itself in developing countries? Dinda is pessimistic . He thinks that developing countries have not yet reached income levels high enough to show the turning point in the Kuznets curve. Considering the world as a whole, the majority of the world population has standards of living substantially below the estimated turning points.

Dematerialization and Intensity of Material Use

We mentioned that back in 1995, Arrow et al had concluded that the EKC relationship had not been shown for resource stocks. However, it was round about this time that a renewed interest was shown in ‘materials flow analysis’ (the analysis of the throughput of materials in the economy). Much work focused on ‘dematerialization’ and ‘intensity of material use’.

Dematerialization refers to the absolute or relative reduction in the quantity of materials used in the economy in producing a unit of economic output (it also refers to reduction of quantity of waste produced). Intensity of material use refers to the quantity of material used per unit of economic output. Another technical term used in this work is de-linking, i.e. the de-linking or decoupling of environmental impacts from economic growth. Such de-linking may be either relative (weak) or absolute (strong). In weak de-linking environmental stress intensity falls. But total environmental stress can still increase, although at a lower rate than the rate of growth of the economy. In strong de-linking, total environmental stress decreases over time.

However, dematerialization is quite a complicated matter. Thus one might be tempted to conclude that dematerialization at the production end in the pathway of production - use - disposal of individual units of a particular product (for example individual motor vehicles) is necessarily a good thing. But things are not as simple as that, as was pointed out by Herman et al. (1990): “The ease of manufacture of a particular product in smaller and lighter units may result in lower production cost and cheaper products of lower quality, which will be replaced rather than repaired on breaking down. Although a smaller amount of waste will be generated on a per unit basis, more units will be produced and disposed, and there may be an overall increase in waste generation at both the production and consumption end”. In other words, if we think of motor vehicle production, reducing the weight (and hence resources used in manufacture) of individual cars (dematerialization on a unit basis) may in fact be accompanied by a rise in total material use in car manufacture because more cars are produced: produced not because more people are buying cars, but simply because users are discarding cars more frequently and hence purchasing new cars more frequently.

Then again, take the matter of the amount of carbon steel used in a nations economy. For the USA, and the period 1970 to 1982, the total amount of carbon steel used per year was very considerably reduced both in motor vehicle manufacture and construction. Yet data for the period 1978 to 1988 for the motor industry showed that while there was a massive decrease in the use of plain carbon steel, this was partly offset by increased use of lightweight, high strength alloys and synthetics. Nevertheless, during the same time period, adding up the weights of all materials used in car construction, there was a big reduction in total weight: The weight for a typical USA car fell from 3,569.5 to 3,167.0 pounds. Herman et al. also examine energy consumption in a selection of countries.They found what they think is clear evidence for a decrease in energy intensity in most of the countries studied.

Moving on now from Herman et al in 1990 to work published a decade later, we find that a considerable amount of work was carried out in the intervening period on material flow analysis, especially in industrialised countries, despite some remaining problems of data availability, and results were conceptualised in terms of linking. And coming back to the Environmental Kuznets Curve, we note that this curve is produced with both weak and strong de-linking, with GDP per capita plotted on the horizontal (x) axis. With weak de-linking, the environmental intensity of the economy is plotted on the vertical (y) axis. With strong de-linking, environmental stress or environmental stress per capita is plotted on the vertical axis (Vehmas et al, 2003).

Generally speaking, much evidence has been found to support the view that weak de-linking has been taking place in industrialised countries (Vehmas, ibid; Canas, 2003). Stated in different terms, the productivity of materials and energy has been increasing. If we now restrict ourselves to the European Union, the general trend over the period 1980 to 2000 has been one of weak de-linking. However, if results for individual EU countries are examined closely, and the period 1980 to 2000 divided into the two component decades, we find that the general trend for the first of these decades was weak de-linking, while in the second of these two decades there was a general trend to strong de-linking (decrease in absolute material flows) in some countries. However, in some countries, in the late 1990s, this decrease in absolute material flows stagnated, and some increase in flows took place (re-linking). And Vehmas (ibid) concluded, in relation to the right side of the inverted U-shaped Kuznets curve, that “the decreasing trend in material flows or material flows per capita cannot be expected to be a continuous one in any country”. In this connection they note that “the possibilities for improving environmental efficiencies may have a technological (e.g. thermodynamic) or economic upper limit”.

Now earlier in this essay (the section on International Trade and the Pollution Haven Hypothesis) we noted that through international trade environmental improvement in high income countries, that is, the industrialised countries, might have taken place at least partly at the expense of poorer countries. And we can then ask the question specifically in relation to material flows, to what extent has de-linking in the industrialised countries been achieved at the expense of poorer countries? This question was addressed by Fischer-Kowalski and Amann (2001).

These authors concur with the view that de-linking has been occurring in industrialised countries. In their words “we have been able to demonstrate that a certain reduction in material intensity during recent decades seems to have been ubiquitous among affluent industrial countries, both on an overall level and on a per capita level ”. But they then go on to enquire - what are the possible explanations? They list three:

1. Technological change (driven they say by the desire for cost reduction and profitablity, but we add pressure from concerned citizens).

2. “Change in consumption patterns away from materially intensive commodities towards labour intensive services”.

3. “Change in the international division of labour characterized by the externalization of the most materially intensive processes of raw material extraction and industrial production to the 'peripheral' countries of the 'south'”.

Now there is, we think, general agreement that the first and second of these causes have led to a reduction of material intensity. But Fischer-Kowalski and Amann concluded that the third explanation has also played a significant part (details of their work may be found in our essay “I=PAT”).

Discussion and Conclusions

It seemed in the early days, that a study of the EKC hypothesis might lead to evidence that economic growth measured in terms of per capita income was of general benefit to the environment. But while clear evidence was found that some indicators of environmental health showed the Kuznets inverted U-shaped relationship with increase in per capita GDP, it eventually became clear that the relationship was not found for various other environmental indicators.

The relationship was shown best for pollutants which involve local short-term costs for remediation, pollutants that had a direct effect on human health. The relationship was less often found for pollutants involving long-term and more dispersed costs, often pollutants which did not have a direct effect on human health. In terms of material flows, there is clear evidence of a reduction of material intensity in industrialized countries, but doubt about whether the reduction of total environmental stress in some industrialised countries will continue. And such de-linking of environmental impact from economic growth that has occurred in these countries has at least to some extent been at the expense of poorer countries.

However, these studies of the EKC have unearthed further evidence that policy initiatives by governments, including cooperative policy developments between governments, can bring about spectacular decline in some particular aspect of environmental degradation, while at the same time showing the importance of strong institutions and property rights for securing reduced environmental impact. Continuing improvements in publicly available data sets, will enable governments to monitor the situation more accurately and devise better abatement strategies.

There is currently much interest in the question - will the Kuznets Curve relationship occur in poor countries as they develop further? There is considerable doubt that it will, given current social and economic trends. So developed countries should do all they can to promote economic development, the development of stronger institutions and the adoption of environmentally friendly policies in poor countries. However, as developments during the last half century in East Asia which we examine in our companion essay “The demographic dividend” suggest, effective economic development is more likely to take place if poor countries adopt clear population reduction aims and methods, especially bearing in mind the continuing massive population growth in these countries.

Finally, our odyssey has shown how complex are the interactions of factors affecting the environmental impact of human populations. No single factor can be identified as the main cause of environmental degradation. And dealing with any one causal factor alone will not solve the global environmental problem. We have not tackled in this essay the issue of what collection of policies need to be developed and implemented to secure consistent and universal reduction of environmental impact. But what is certain is that it is unlikely that mankind will be successful here without stringent action on all fronts.

References

Arrow, K. et al. (1995). Economic growth, carrying capacity and the environment. Ecological Economics 15: 91-95.
Ayres, R.U. (1995). Economic growth; politically necessary but not environmentally friendly. Ecological Economics 15: 97-99.
Barbier, E.B. (1997). Environmental Kuznets Curve special issue. Environment and Development Economics 2: 369-381.
Beckerman, W. (1992). Economic growth and the environment: Whose growth? Whose environment? World Development 20, 4: 481-496.
Canas, A. (2003). A new environmental Kuznets curve? Relationship between direct material input and income per capita: evidence from industrialised countries. Ecological Economics 46, 2: 217-229.
Cole, M.A. (1997). The environmental Kuznets curve: an empirical analysis. Environment and Development Economics 2: 401-416.
Dinda, S. (2004). Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis; a survey. Ecological Economics 49, 4: 431-455.
Dinda, S. (2005). A theoretical basis for the Environmental Kuznets Curve. Ecological Economics 53, 3: 403-413.
Fischer-Kowalski, M. & Amann, C. (2001). Beyond IPAT and Kuznets Curves: Globalization as a vital factor in analysing the environmental impact of socio-economic metabolism. Population and Environment 23, 1: 7-47.
Grossman, G.M. & Krueger, A.B. (1991). Environmental impact of a North American free trade agreement. Working paper 3914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.
Herman, R. et al. (1990). Dematerialization. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 38: 333-347.
Kuznets, S. (1955). Economic growth and income inequality. The American Economic Review 45, 1: 1-28.
Moomaw, W.R. & Unruh, G.C. (1997). Are environmental Kuznets curves misleading us? The case of CO2 emissions. Environment and Development Economics 2: 451-463.
Schindler, D.W. (1996). The environment, carrying capacity and economic growth. Ecological applications 6, 1: 17-19.
Selden, T.M. & Song, D. (1994). Environmental quality and development: Is there a Kuznets curve for air pollution emissions? Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 27: 147-162.
Taylor, M.S. (2005). Unbundling the pollution haven hypothesis. University of Calgary Department of Economics Discussion Paper 2005-15.
Vehmas, J. et al. (2003). Material flows and economic growth. Linking analyses and environmental Kuznets curves for the EU-15 member countries in 1980-2000. Tutu publications 8/2003, Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland.
Vincent, J.R. (1997). Testing for environmental Kuznets curves within a developing country. Environment and Development Economics 2: 417-431.
Yandle, B. et al. (2004). Environmental Kuznets Curves: A review of findings, methods, and policy implications. Research study 02-1 update April 2004, The Property and Environment Research Centre.



(g). Limits to growth

Introduction

In 1972, a book was published entitled “The limits to growth”, by D. H. Meadows, D. L. Meadows, J. Randers and W.W. Behrens III. The book argued that unchecked growth on our finite planet was leading to ecological ‘overshoot' and pending disaster. This widely read book provoked a stormy discussion. Now, 30 years on, three of the authors (Meadows, Meadows and Randers ) have produced “Limits to growth. The 30-year update" (published in the UK by Earthscan).

The work reported in these books centres on a computer model, the World3 model developed in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The authors point out that in developing their model, they were not trying to predict the future. Rather they were investigating alternative possible scenarios of future change.

We turn now to the 30-year update.

The nature of the problem

The authors note how the recent (20 th ) century was characterised by exponential growth in population, food production and the material economy. Indeed they say, “on the whole exponential growth has been a dominant behaviour of the human socioeconomic system since the industrial revolution”. They note that “a quantity grows exponentially when its increase is proportional to what is already there”. They give a simple example from a French riddle. Suppose one has a pond with a single lily on it. If the lily doubles in size each day, suppose it takes 30 days before it completely covers the pond. You do not want to take action until the lily covers half the pond – plenty of time. But when will the pond be half covered? The answer is the 29 th day, so you then have only one day left to take action before the pond is completely covered!

A common feature of exponential growth is positive feed-back. Suppose you have a population of yeast cells. They reproduce (population increase). But now the new yeast cells flow into, and increase the stock of reproducing cells, enhancing future population growth. This is positive feed-back. Of course, the yeast population may not continue to grow exponentially. Growth may be constrained, for example, by shortage of food. But yeast cells have the potential for exponential growth.

Exponential growth in the above example is in something where exponential growth is inherent. The stock of industrial capital is another example of a system with inherent potential exponential growth, for machines and factories can make other machines and factories. But exponential growth in a system may be derived. It is not inherent in the system but the system is driven by something else that is growing exponentially. Important examples are food production, resource use, pollution and other waste production (driven by population and capital growth).

We have seen since the beginnings of the industrial revolution, a massive increase in the throughput of energy and materials through human society, made possible by a massive increase in the use of non-renewable and renewable resources, and resulting in a massive increase in production of pollution and waste. The relationships can be summarised:

Natural Resources – materials and fuels in use - wastes into the environment.

SOURCES – USE – SINKS.

But there are limits to this process of throughput. That there must be limits is obvious because the planet is of finite size. One important question is always, how close are we to actual limits?

Clearly, the continued growth of the human population and of the world economy may at some time be limited by exhaustion of necessary resources, or the inability of sinks to absorb any more pollution and waste. But things are not a simple as that. An important complicating factor is costs. As resources become scarcer, the cost of extracting them increases and a point may be reached when it is no longer profitable to continue extraction. Increasing pollution and other waste production threatens humanity. And as sinks fill up, remedial efforts to reduce waste production and clear up sinks become more and more costly both in money terms and in the amount of energy and capital required.

However, man is endlessly inventive and innovative. For example, as natural resources become scarcer, man has the capacity to find, or make use of alternative sources. The question arises, how significant is or can be such technological change?

To explore these considerations, the authors examine trends in resource use, population growth, industrial output, food production and waste production. Consider by way of example, global food production. This has massively increased in the second half of the recent century. With grain (which, measured in calories, constitutes about half of the world's agricultural output), world production has more than tripled between 1950 and 2000. However, in recent decades “the rate of grain production increase has slowed until it has fallen below the population growth rate”. And per capita grain production, peaking around 1985, has been slowly falling ever since. It is a sobering thought to realise that in the mid 1990s, 850 million people were eating less food than their bodies really require. While for some time now the number of hungry people in the world has remained roughly constant as population size increased, there are big doubts about the future.

It has been estimated that in the whole of Latin America , Africa and Asia , the majority of countries would have been able to feed their year 2000 populations if they could have used every potentially arable hectare of land, and if they had been able to get the highest yields technically possible. Further these countries could multiply their food output by a factor of 16 if there was no loss of soil through erosion, if there was perfect weather, if there was perfect management, if there was an uninhibited use of agricultural inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, biological disease control). The trouble is, as the authors say: “Of course these assumptions are wildly unrealistic”. And anyway, all this is impossible in any country if serious conflict engulfs that country.

Consider loss of agriculturally productive land. Over the past 1,000 years, man has transformed about two billion hectares of productive farmland into wasteland (to realise the significance of this two billion, note that present potentially cultivable land on earth is estimated to be between two and four billion hectares). The level of world food production achieved has only been made possible “by constantly moving onto new land while leaving behind exhausted, salted, eroded, or paved soils. These processes continue, but obviously cannot go on for ever. Finally, agriculture requires water. But in many parts of the world water supplies are increasingly becoming inadequate, partly through the massive increase of usage by growing urban populations. And while there are sustainable flows of water in some areas, not all these occur where many people actually live.

We turn now to the use of non-renewable energy sources (coal, oil, gas). In terms of actual resources (current and undiscovered reserves), oil might last for 50-80 years at year 2000 usage rates; natural gas could last for 160-310 years. But coal sources are even greater. So we are not on the verge of running out of non-renewable energy resources. Furthermore, there are tremendous, and as yet scarcely tapped possibilities of substituting other energy sources for fossil fuels: sun-, wind- and hydropower, biomass (renewables). “Because there are renewable substitutes for fossil fuels, there need never be global energy scarcity”. Also, considerable increases in the efficiency with which fuels are used could and probably will be made.

While sources of energy and materials pose problems, so do sinks. Consider the use of fossil fuels: “…combustion produces pollutants, that enter the ultimate sink - the biogeochemical processes of the planet, which recycle pollutants, or render them harmless, or are poisoned or degraded by them”. Attention is increasingly focusing on the effects of combustion on global warming. Consider carbon dioxide production. It is certain, say the authors, that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing exponentially. We will not rehearse here the consequences of global warming, about which the media is giving increasing attention. Sufficient to say that many scientists and economists see global warming as the greatest limit threat now faced by mankind.

In all these considerations we need to take into account human population growth. We are not just dealing with a population that will remain at its present size. Most likely, t he world population will increase by 2.6 billion from 2005, to reach 9.1 billion in 2050. This additional population is equivalent in size to the combined present day populations of China and India ! (see our Population Trends page).To supply the resultant population with all its energy needs may require six times as much delivered (end-use) energy as the world supplied in the year 2000.

To conceptualise all the problems we face, the authors make use of the concept of carrying capacity, the maximum population the planet can sustain long-term under currently operating practices world-wide. They conclude that the world population has already greatly exceeded carrying capacity. For a discussion of the term carrying capacity see our essay, “How many people can the earth support? Part One. Environmental deterioration and carrying capacity”.

The computer model

Now we turn to the computer model. It was developed to investigate “a carefully bounded set of questions about long-term physical growth on the planet”. The ‘core question' was:

“How may the expanding global population and material economy interact with and adapt to the earth's limited carrying capacity over the coming decades?”

The model consists of a series of mathematical equations. It incorporates information about “stocks such as population, industrial capital, persistent pollution, and cultivated land”. It investigates how these stocks change through flows, for example births and deaths in the case of population, investment and depreciation in the case of capital stocks. It incorporates interactions between these flows, and contains many feedback loops. It incorporates non-linear relationships (relationships that cannot be represented graphically as straight lines) because in the real world, many relationships are non-linear. And the model is iterative - equations are repeatedly re-run taking into account the effects of interactions including feed-back loops.

But the model has its limitations, and is a “great simplification of reality”. For example, it does not distinguish between the different parts of the world, it does not treat separately the rich and the poor. And its representation of pollutants is highly simplified.

The authors do a series of runs of their computer model to produce eleven possible scenarios from1900 up to the 2100, and present the results in the form of a series of graphs. Of course, the trends in total population, food production, etc. are the same for all scenarios for the early part of the 1900 -2100 period since this is time past (that statement needs slight qualification for scenario 10 but we need not go into that here).

The runs differ in that they contain different estimates of basic parameters, different predictions about the development of technologies, and different possible adopted world policies.

The model investigates how the human population may develop in the future. The authors note that in general, a growing society may approach its carrying capacity in four ways:

1. It can continue to grow as long as its limits are far away.

2. It can level off smoothly below the carrying capacity.

3. It can overshoot its carrying capacity without massive permanent damage and its size then oscillates before eventually levelling off.

4. It can overshoot its carrying capacity to the extent that severe permanent damage is done to the resource base and the whole ecosystem. The population and the economy would then decline rapidly to a recently reduced carrying capacity. It may then stabilize at a much reduced size, or in the extreme case, the decline might have been so rapid and severe as to catastrophically affect the whole of society, and society might never recover (total collapse).

To turn to the scenarios.

Results

Scenario One assumes “society proceeds along a very traditional path as long as possible without major policy change”. This is the reference point for the other scenarios. The authors are at pains to say that many people have misconstrued this scenario, thinking the authors thought it was the most likely of the scenarios. In fact it wasn't. It is just a reference point, a place to start, a basis for comparison.

In this scenario population and production increase until growth is halted by non-renewable resources becoming increasingly inaccessible. More and more investment is required to maintain resource flows. Eventually the lack of adequate investment funds in the other sectors of the economy leads to a declining output of industrial goods and services. Consequently food and health services are reduced, and there is decreasing life expectancy. Population starts to decline fairly early in the present century, and by 2100 has fallen roughly two thirds of the way back to its 1900 level. Food production falls even earlier and industrial output falls more steeply than population. Life expectancy, having made very large gains up to the early part of the present century, falls back to its 1900 level. The authors compute what is called the Human welfare index (HWI). This is the sum of the life expectancy, and indices of education and GDP, divided by three. The HWI falls right back to slightly below its 1900 level.

We will not here run through all the other scenarios. Sufficient to say that generally they show overshoot and varying degrees of collapse. The authors list four reasons for this:

1. Growth in the physical economy is generally considered desirable –it has become central to our cultural beliefs; and growth of both population and the economy, when they occur, tend to be exponential.

2. There are physical limits to the sources of materials and energy that are needed to sustain the population and the economy. Likewise, there are limits to the capacity of sinks.

3. Unfortunately, the signals society receives about physical limits are “distorted, noisy, delayed, confused, or denied. Responses to those signals are delayed”.

4. The system's limits are not just finite. They are erodable when overused. Further there are strong non-linearities – “thresholds beyond which damage rises quickly and can become irreversible”.

However, the authors point our that these very causes of overshoot and collapse offer hope for the future, since they indicate how mankind might change the system to secure a sustainable and manageable future (we re-arrange the items a little from how they are listed in the book):

1. Growth in population and capital could be slowed and eventually stopped by clear human decisions, rather than by feedback from external limits already exceeded, so that the slow down and stopping occur earlier than currently estimated.

2. The efficiency of capital use can be drastically increased bringing with it a large decrease in through put of energy and materials.

3. Signals could be much improved, reaction to signals speeded up, and society could look much further ahead, basing policy on long-term costs and benefits.

4. Sources and sinks could be better preserved. Further soil erosion can be slowed down and eventually reversed.

What then do the authors really think is likely to happen? Well they do differ. D.H Meadows (who recently died) was “the unceasing optimist”. Randers “is the cynic”. D.L. Meadows “sits in between”. However, the book says “ ..we are much more pessimistic about the global future than we were in 1972”.

© Copyright John F. Barker, March 2005.

 



(f). Comment and Analysis

This page is used to provide information and comment on a range of population and environmental issues. It is divided into two sections. The first is intended for brief comments, mainly on topical issues, the second for in-depth analyses. To go straight to the analysis section click on this button:

 
Analysis
 

Comment

New United Nations Ecosystems Warning

The United Nations today (30th March 2005 ) issued a press release on the "Millennium Ecosystem Assessment" (MEA) Report. This gives the whole of mankind an urgent warning about the way the world's ecosystems – on which we all depend – have been, and continue to be treated.

Many people still seem to believe that everything will be alright with the world: Man's inventiveness, giving great powers to find substitutes for scarce resources and to reduce pollution, will enable mankind to achieve global sustainable development despite the continuing massive increase in population. The MEA upsets this confident view.

The Press Release begins:
"A landmark study released today reveals that approximately 60 percent of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth – such as fresh water, capture fisheries, air and water regulation, and the regulation of regional climate, natural hazards and pests – are being degraded or used unsustainably. Scientists warn that the harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years".

Later the Press release notes:
"Although evidence remains incomplete, there is enough for the experts to warn that the ongoing degradation of 15 of the 24 ecosystem services examined is increasing the likelihood of potentially abrupt changes that will seriously affect human well-being. This includes the emergence of new diseases, sudden changes in water quality, creation of "dead zones" along the coasts, the collapse of fisheries, and shifts in regional climate".

Perhaps the most worrying thing this press release says, concerns what needs to be done now.
"The challenge of reversing the degradation of ecosystems while meeting increasing demands can be met under some scenarios involving significant policy and institutional changes. However, these changes will be large and are not currently under way" (our bold type).

"Increasing demands". It is in our view, very important to realise the magnitude of the likely increase in demands. There are two main causes of this increase. First, as we note on our Population Trends page, the world population is projected to increase by 2.6 billion from 2005, to reach 9.1 billion in 2050. This additional population is equivalent in size to the combined present day populations of China and India. All these extra people will cause an increase in total global demands.
Second, the standard of living of the vast majority of already existing people in 'developing' or 'third world' countries is way, way below that of the peoples of developed countries. It is generally agreed that the standard of living of these peoples in the developing world must be raised significantly. This will also cause a massive increase in demands.

Then as well as these considerations, mankind must try to reverse the degradation of ecosystems. A most daunting task once one realises the massive extent of this degradation!

The press release, a statement by the Millennium Assessment Board and the pre-publication final draft of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis report, may be found by going to the United Nations Environment Programme Web site:
UN Environment Programme http://www.unep.org/

UK Sustainable Development strategy. The missing policy

In 1999 the Government published "A better quality of life. A strategy for sustainable development for the UK"; it also published "Quality of life counts". In March this year (2004) the UK Government issued its annual report "Sustainable development. Achieving a better quality of life. Review of progress towards sustainable development. Government annual report 2003". This document reports progress since the 1999 strategy document was published. The government also published its 2004 update of "Quality of life counts".

The government assesses progress towards sustainable development using a series of indicators which had been established in 1999 and detailed in "quality of life counts". There are 147 'core indicators', of which 15 are called the 'headline indicators'. The new "achieving a better quality of life" report just deals with the headline indicators, while the "quality of life counts" update deals with all the core indicators.

What is missing from the whole government approach to sustainable development, both in 1999 and in 2004, is any attempt to reduce future population growth and then secure a reduction of population, in our view vital ingredients of truly sustainable development. As explained in our essay "how many people can the earth support? part 2" (see bottom of this page), there are good grounds for arguing that the UK population has long since grown above carrying capacity. Whether or not one accepts this conclusion, the basic fact is that the more people there are, the more people there are to consume resources and pollute the environment. Population growth is one factor contributing to increase in the number of households, which in turn leads to more houses being built and more green land being taken over for development. The bigger our population, the more difficult it seems to be to reduce poverty and keep down crime rates.

In the main 2004 "achieving a better quality of life report" we read that the UK government has four main objectives:
Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone.
Effective protection of the environment.
Prudent use of natural resources.
Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

The document then goes on (p. 16) to list the guiding principles for achieving sustainable development. One of these is "taking a long-term persepective". Now the UK population will probably grow considerably during the next few decades, putting an increasing strain on the environment. But in the paragraph enlarging on this long-term perspective, there is no reference to population growth. And none of the headline indicators concern population growth.

However, amongst all the core indicators discussed in the "quality of life counts" document, there are two indicators concerning population.

The first is in the section K "shaping our surroundings". Indicator K3 is 'population growth'. In the 1999 document the government here acknowledges that "the pressure on all resources increases as the population increases". Significantly, in the tabulation of the indicators in the 2004 update, there is a column headed 'strategy'. Against the K3 population growth indicator is written 'na', that is 'not applicable'. K3 is in fact one of the indicators which are simply used for 'contextual' purposes. The government then, accepts population growth trends as a 'given', that is, something one just has to accept.

The second population indicator is in the section "international co-operation and development". Indicator U3 is "global population". Here again, in the 1999 document, the government acknowledges the importance of population growth: "the pressure on all resources will continue to increase as the population increases". But if you read this section, in both the 1999 and 2004 documents, you will find no mention of any policy to reduce population growth globally and promote subsequent population decline. In the 2004 update, once again in the strategy column we find 'na': U3 is also only a contextual indicator.

In our view, population growth should be more than a contextual indicator, at both global and local levels. Indeed, one focus of government policy should be to develop a strategy to reduce population size.

Analysis

The most recent additions to this section are:

a)7th August 2005 An essay on the terrorist threat in the UK.

The terrorist threat in the UK. Interim assessment, early August 2005.

b)July 2005. Will it be possible to feed the world human population adequately in the future? Now we know that at the global level, there has already been widespread degradation of agricultural land. And, as reported in the above comment section, serious environmental degradation is not confined to agricultural land. We also know that over 800 million people around the world are hungry and even more suffer from micronutrient deficiencies (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).
But that is not all. According the the United Nations, the total world population now stands at 6.5 billion, and may well reach 9.1 billion in 2050 (UN, 2005. “World population prospects. The 2004 revision”). This increase is equivalent in size to the present day populations of China and India combined!

Will it then be possible to feed the world population in th