An explosion in the birth rate of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities will see the BME population rise from 8% of the population to 20% over the next 40 years.
The research study published by the University of Leeds predicts a total population of 78 million by the year 2051.
The study predicts that Britain’s white population will drop from 92% currently to 79%. The research used sophisticated computer modeling to predict future population growth.
The growth will be largely due to a baby boom among black and ethnic minority communities, and a declining birth rate in the British white population.
The news will inform on-going debates about the economic and social benefits of multiculturalism. With the growth in size we can expect to see much more assertive black and ethnic minority communities who are likely to be demanding stronger anti discriminatory legislation, and greater representation in public life.
The changing demographics of Britain will require medium and long term social and economic planning for housing, education ands health. Infrastructure planning will now have to take account of this huge growth in diversity in the way in which services and Government spending at a local, regional and national level is determined.
Professor Philip Rees leader of research project said it was not an exact science.
“It is impossible to predict exactly how people will move into, out of and within the country… as all of these trends are influenced by a whole range of socio-economic factors. The ethnic make-up of the UK’s population is evolving significantly.”
He added that
“Groups outside the white British majority are increasing in size and share, not just in the areas of initial migration, but throughout the country, and our projections suggest that this trend is set to continue through to 2051.
“At a regional level, ethnic minorities will shift out of deprived inner city areas to more affluent areas, which echoes the way white groups have migrated in the past.
“In particular, black and Asian populations in the least deprived local authorities will increase significantly.”
“Our results suggest that overall we can look forward to being not only a more diverse nation, but one that is far more spatially integrated than at present.”
In order to ensure that the future of the UK is not characterised by the growth of racial tension driven by increased rates of unemployment it will be critical that the Government begins to address the current issues of racism and poverty that force many of our communities to live in deprived areas devoid of hope and opportunity.
The fact that increasing numbers of young British workers will be from BME communities and the importance of maintaining high tax revenues will require tough legislation to reduce the widespread discrimination in the British labour market.
Racism is not only irrational and morally wrong in an increasing competitive and globalised world it is also profoundly uneconomic. Racism in that sense is an acute market failure that threatens the long-term economic success of the country as a whole.