Thousands of Britons leave our shores every year for a new life abroad, official figures show.
But although 75,000 ‘white British’ men and women are moving away, the population is still rising because of an influx of ethnic minority groups.
According to Government estimates, the established white population of England dropped by nearly 250,000 between 2002 and 2006.
Official figures have previously indicated that about 50,000 Britons head for Australia each year and about 30,000 for New Zealand. Last year, a record 400,000 left the country to live abroad for at least 12 months.
Yesterday’s estimates, which show how each ethnic group grew or diminished between 2005 and 2006, provide further evidence of so-called white flight’.
The white British population went down by 70,400 over the year through emigration. And the white Irish population fell by 4,600 because of emigration, bringing the total decline in the existing white population to 75,000.
The figures have been calculated for every year back to 2002—and this was the biggest decline yet.
In the previous year, there had been a drop of just 42,300.
In 2004, there was a fall of 74,100. Even though there were more births than deaths, the white British and Irish population still fell by almost 15,000 in 2006.
Immigration increased the numbers in other groups, notably among those officially categorised as ‘other white’, including arrivals from Poland and Eastern Europe. This group grew by 70,600 in 2006.
There were also increases in the Indian, Pakistani, African and Chinese ethnic populations.
The estimates were greeted with alarm by the immigration think-tank Migration Watch.
Its chairman Sir Andrew Green said: ‘The unavoidable conclusion is that the whole nature of our society will change very rapidly unless the Government moves from spin to serious action, which the vast majority of the public want to see.’
Previous surveys by officials have shown that most of those who emigrate go to Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain or the U.S.
The most popular is Australia. About 220,000 more Britons have gone to Australia than vice versa between 1996 and 2006. And 40,000 more Britons than Canadians have switched between the two countries.
Best move of our lives
Fed up with high crime, the rising cost of living and a lack of community spirit, Julie Parry and her family packed their bags and left Britain.
She and her husband Eddie, 42, sold their house in Exmouth, Devon, in 2006 and moved to the remote town of Okotoks, in Alberta, Canada, with sons Brandon, five, and Frasier, seven.
Mrs Parry, 32, said: ‘Britain isn’t the same country me and Eddie grew up in.
‘It’s just the amount of crime and the high cost of living.
‘We were both working yet at the end of the month there was hardly anything left. We reached a point where we though there must be another way, so we moved.’
Going to Canada was ‘ probably the best thing we’ve ever done’, she said.
‘The quality of life here phenomenal. There’s such a sense of community. Friends who visit can’t believe how little things cost.’ Mrs Parry runs a business helping Britons move to Canada.