The future is diversity: new forecasts for the UK's ethnic groups

Philip H. Rees, University of Leeds
Pia N. Wohland, Hull York Medical School
Stephen Clark, University of Leeds
Nik Lomax, University of Leeds
Paul Norman, University of Leeds

Developed countries with below replacement fertility face population ageing. This is slowed by a net inflow of international migrants. The influx leads to a population of increasing ethnic diversity. Most researchers focus on a historical understanding of the ethnic transition process. We use this understanding to forecast the population of the United Kingdom, projecting the ethnic transition forward for 50 years. This paper describes a model for projecting the ethnic populations of local authorities in the UK and associated outcomes. The projections differ from previous forecasts in several ways. Ethnic dynamics are estimated using 2001 and 2011 Census data and associated vital statistics. This improved time series is compared with previous 2001-based projections and lessons are learnt from the differences. A suite of population projections are generated from a 2011 population base using assumptions informed by the times series of estimates. The projections include: (1) a principal projection with assumptions aligned with those in the official 2014-based National Population Projections and associated Sub-National Population Projections and constrained to their populations; (2) an alternative projection incorporating higher assumptions on immigration, which recent official projections have under-projected; (3) a set of international migration variants using the same international scenarios but different model forms; and (4) scenario projections designed to gauge the impacts of the fertility, mortality, international migration, internal migration assumptions and the effect of the starting age-sex structure. Our projections track the “Diversity Explosion” for the UK population and its spatial diffusion across the country. Preliminary results indicate a speedier ethnic transition than previously projected, from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) share of 12.7% in 2011 to 30.3% in 2051. This increase in diversity is transmitted to all urban regions and their peripheries through internal migration.

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 Presented in Session 74. New directions in migration measurement