White Britons will become a minority in a dozen towns and cities within 30 years, a study has revealed.
Record levels of immigration combined with higher birth rates among newcomers will tip the balance between whites and non-whites and create a string of “superdiverse” cities where no single group will form a majority.
The watershed is expected to be reached first in Leicester, where whites will form less than 50 per cent of the population by 2020, followed by Birmingham in 2024, and by Slough and Luton soon afterwards.
London’s population will still be 61 per cent white by 2026, although eight of the city’s 33 boroughs will be ‘plural’, with no one group forming a majority, according to the study from the University of Sheffield.
“Britain is becoming ever more plural; our diversity ever more diverse,” said Danny Dorling, professor of human geography.
But he said it was becoming harder for experts to generalise about trends because different cities face widely differing experiences.
Leicester, with a large Indian community, has seen its white population fall from 70.1 per cent of the total in 1991 to 59.5 today, and the figure is predicted to fall below a half by around 2020.
The city’s Indian population is set to rise from 22.9 to 26 per cent over the same period, with the African population increasing from 0.4 to 11.2 per cent.
Birmingham has strikingly different predicted trends, with the shift in the balance driven mainly by the growing Pakistani community.
In general immigrant and ethnic minority populations will no longer be dominated by large, distinct Afro-Caribbean or Asian communities, said Prof Dorling.
Instead increasing numbers will come from countries scattered across the world—from Germany to Guyana, from Sweden to Singapore.
Sukhvinder Stubbs, of the Barrow Cadbury Trust which commissioned the study, said:
“Regardless of future immigration patterns, it is just a matter of time until cities such as Birmingham become plural.
“Even if we prohibited another single soul from entering the country, the trends have already laid root.”