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Jump in minorities becoming majority across country

MEET & GREET: Labour leader Ed Miliband talks with locals in Brixton, Lambeth, a London borough with high numbers of minority residents (PA)

ETHNIC MINORITIES in Britain have almost doubled as residents living areas across the UK that are now categorised as white British minority communities, according to new analysis.

Data from the 2011 government census has been analysed by think tank Demos, and its experts have concluded from demographic information and trends changing from the 2001 edition that the cause in the significant change is “mainly” because of “white British people choosing not to move to minority-dominated areas”.

It is trend that former chair of Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, called “majority retreat”, and others have labelled “white flight.”

The statistics cited to illustrate this dynamic say 4.6m minority Britons (45 per cent of the total British minority population) are now residents in areas and communities which have been defined as having a population which less than half white British.

This is compared to the 2001 census which established that it had been “only around one million” minority Britons (25 per cent of total minority population) living in white British minority wards.

“These results present a mixed picture. While ethnic mixing and integration is being helped by more minority people moving into England’s whitest areas, the most concentrated minority areas are just becoming more so”, said Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck College who lead the study.

“This is essentially due to a large increase in the ethnic minority population in its areas of concentration over the past ten years due to natural growth and immigration. This trend has outpaced minorities’ wider spread across the country”, he added.

The study also drew out from the census data that more minorities are moving to rural areas – parts of the country that have been considered historically white British dominated.

Out of total of 8,850 wards across England and Wales, there are now less than 800 which contain more than 98 per cent white British people, compared to more than 5,000 wards in 2001.

“This very interesting piece of research reveals a number of vital findings about how people in England and Wales are living together”, Phillips said.

“First, it shows a kind of ‘Ambridge effect’ – a welcome minority advance into areas previously only the preserve of the white majority.

“It also demonstrates a greater degree of ethnic mixing within cities, although unfortunately this appears to be mostly between minorities.

“What ought to make us a little anxious is the ‘majority retreat’ it has unearthed – white people leaving minority-led areas and not being replaced – which isn’t good news for the cause of integration”, he added.

Established minority communities, such as the Caribbean one, are dissipating to new areas while newer immigrant minorities, like the Somalis, are taking up their vacated houses, the think tank says.

All of which means an “increase in the number of [minority] people who have limited contact with white British people”, says Demos.

The group’s director, David Goodhart, said: “The greater concentration of the ethnic minority population means there is less opportunity for interaction with the white mainstream.

“One problem with this relates to employment. Most jobs come through knowing someone, and most of those hiring for good jobs are from the white majority.

“A growing population which is geographically separate and has limited familiarity with majority cultural codes or connection to majority networks may find its occupational mobility reduced”, the director added.

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