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Birmingham and Leicester Become Minority-Majority Cities


England's second-largest city Birmingham, and the multicultural hub of Leicester, have joined the ranks of minority-majority cities in England, according to last year’s census results.

Figures from the once-in-a-decade census showed that 59.1 per cent of people living in Leicester identify as having an ethnic minority background in 2021, a radical shift from just twenty years ago when 63.9 per cent of people in the East Midlands city identified as white. The shift is even starker when looking at the 1991 Census, which recorded the white population as being 96.6 per cent of inhabitants.

The 2021 Census results have also shown that England’s second-largest city, Birmingham, has recorded a majority in ethnic minorities at 51.4 per cent. The white population in the city has fallen from 71 per cent in 2001 and 58 per cent in 2011 to just 48.6 per cent last year. The 1991 Census — which was the first to ask ethnicity questions and notably the last national record before the mass migration era of Prime Minister Tony Blair — put the white population of Birmingham at 78.5 per cent.

While it is possible to infer some ethnic rates in the 1981 Census through examination of the differing Commonwealth classifications, such as the “Old Commonwealth” (Australia, Canada and New Zealand), “the New Commonwealth” (including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the West Indies), and “the African Commonwealth” (including Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya), precise ethnic statistics were not recorded until later, a decision that the Parliament later admitted was a mistake.

Luton has also become a minority-majority city (54.8 per cent), joining London and cities across Europe, including the likes of Frankfurt and Antwerp.

As a whole, the Census found that white people represented 81.7 per cent (48.7 million) of the population of England and Wales, compared to 86 per cent (48.2 million) in the 2011 Census.

When only looking at those white people who identify themselves as being one of the indigenous ethnic groups of the British Isles (English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British) the percentage falls to 74.4 per cent (44.4 million) compared to 80 per cent (45.1 million) in 2011, and 87.5 per cent (45.5 million) in 2001.

The next most common ethnic group recorded was among those identifying as either “Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh,” which comprised 9.3 per cent (5.5 million) of the overall population. This group also held the distinction of seeing the largest increase over the 2011 Census, increasing from 7.5 per cent (4.2 million).

The demographic changes came ahead of the record waves of migration — both illegal and legal — over the past year since the census was actually taken in March 2021, with net migration hitting its highest level in history as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s points-based immigration system granted over 1.1 million visas to foreigners over the past year.