White people in some of the UK’s largest cities are likely to dwindle to a minority due to a boom in ethnic populations, experts claim.
Birmingham, the country’s second largest city, will have its one million population made up of largely ethnic minorities in 20 years time, researchers say.
And Leicester’s half-million population is likely to follow the same path in just four years time, it is believed.
The research has sparked a warning from the country’s top race relations expert, Trevor Phillips, that the changes could spark ‘mistrust and fracture’ if handled irresponsibly.
Ludi Simpson, a social statistician at Manchester University, said the Pakistani population in Birmingham was likely to double by 2026.
But he said this was due to young age of Pakistanis currently living in the city rather than an influx of immigrants.
Dr Simpson said: “The overall picture is one of rapid natural growth plus some immigration, mainly of young spouses.
“Birmingham is likely to become a minority white city in 2027, but a diverse one in which the white population remains more than twice the size of the Pakistani population which is predicted to become one fifth of the district’s population by then.”
He warned that the idea of different ethnic groups finding a ‘common identity’ was ‘utopian in quite a dangerous way’ and ‘completely unrealistic’, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“Lack of affordable housing, poor environments and anti-social behaviour are the issues, not ethnic composition nor segregation itself,” he said.
Nissa Finney, also from Manchester University, told the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference that 35 towns and cities in Britain had at least one ward which was “minority white”.
These included Birmingham, Burnley, Slough, Peterborough, Bolton and Derby, as well as Brent, Tower Hamlets, Ealing and Newham within London.
Ms Finney said: “Clustering is the result of benign and natural population dynamics. There is no evidence of self-segregation or exceptional ‘white flight’.”
Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, said there were benefits but also warned of possible social tensions.
Mr Phillips said: “Events across Europe have shown how segregation breeds mistrust and fracture.
“The benefits of plural cities can be great, but we need to look at the future and act responsibly.”