By 2066, white Britons ‘will be outnumbered’ if immigration continues at current rates
White Britons will be a minority by 2066 if immigration continues at the current rate, according to research. A leading population expert last night warned that failure to deal with the influx of foreign workers would ‘change national identity’.
Professor David Coleman, of Oxford University, spoke out as the Migration Advisory Board prepares to reveal its recommendation for the Government’s proposed cap on immigrants from outside the EU.
If immigration stays at its long-term rate of around 180,000 a year, the white British-born population would decline from 80 per cent of the total now to just 59 per cent in 2051, analysis of figures from the Office of National Statistics shows.
By then white immigrants would have more than doubled from 4 to 10 per cent of the total, while the ethnic minority population would have risen from 16 to 31 per cent.
If the trend continued, the white British population, defined as English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish-born citizens, would become the minority after about 2066.
The Government has vowed to slash the level of net immigration after a decade of open borders under Labour. Today the Migration Advisory Board will suggest a level for the cap, following complaints from businesses that the plans are hampering their ability to bring in key staff.
But even if the Coalition gets net immigration down to 80,000 a year, Prof Coleman says white Britons would be outnumbered by 2080.
In an article for Prospect magazine, he writes: ‘The 50 per cent benchmark has no special demographic significance, but it would have a considerable psychological and political impact. ‘The transition to a “majority minority” population, whenever it happens, would represent an enormous change to national identity – cultural, political, economic and religious.
‘In Britain, judging by the opposition to high immigration reported in opinion polls over recent years, it seems likely that such developments would be unwelcome.’
He warned that the relative youthfulness of the immigrant population means that the 50 per cent milestone will be passed much quicker among ‘schoolchildren, students and young workers’.
The ethnic minority population expanded by almost two million between 2001 and 2007, from 13 per cent to nearly 16 per cent of the total. Immigration accounted for 57 per cent of population growth in this time, and foreign-born mothers now account for a quarter of births in England and Wales.
Both Leicester and Birmingham are expected to become ‘majority minority’ during the 2020s. Two London boroughs were already majority non-white in 2001.
Tory MP Nicholas Soames, who runs the cross-party group Balanced Migration, said: ‘Immigrants over the years have made a great contribution to British life but it’s now really out of control. ‘We must break the link between the right to work here and the right to settle here.’