New ONS Statistics reveals Britain has an increasing Multicultural Population

New ONS Statistics reveals Britain has an increasing Multicultural Population

It is not a surprise any more that the multicultural population is growing fast. Mediareach has been releasing analysis highlighted with data and facts to bring the attention of UK businesses to this important factor of changing demographics.  According to the latest ONS statistics the population has increased by 3.1 million within 10 years. 55% of this 3.1 million increase was attributed mostly to the net migration making the total population 56.1million. The multicultural population in the whole UK is 7.5 million from which 2.5 million are from Europe and 5 million are from outside Europe. The number of illegal immigrants is not included in any of these figures. The unofficial estimate is around 2million*.

London has become UK’s economic powerhouse, sucking in people and investments and therefore the largest growth of population is in London, mostly in Tower of Hamlets, Newham. East England, and East Midlands and Manchester have also highest percentage growths in populations.

From the business perspective these facts pose great opportunities for finding out where to invest and how to connect with this multicultural audience more effectively, thus topping up the revenues. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore Britain’s multicultural market if they want to strategically grow and increase their market share. We have one of the most diverse cities in the world where this ethnic population has over 300 billion disposable income. When prices are falling and the economy is hit hard, the main strategy is segmentation and precision marketing. One-size fits all approach loses its relevance. In the cities such as London 40% of the population is considered to have ethnic background. The diversity is what defines us more than ever. In fact, cultural media, community messaging and niche marketing is becoming the conduit of the advertisers’ in-the-know, who have already spotted the value for money and ROI that others are yet to catch onto.

We have been arguing for quite a while that the big increase of multicultural population has not happened not just within the last 10 years but over the last 20 years or more. It is just the previous ONS data failed to show the real figure, missing out large number of population groups from the census questionnaire and ONS does not deny this. This is another reason why 2011 figures suddenly seemed record high.

Although the figure demonstrates a hike in multicultural population yet is not the actual figure. A number of councils have been arguing that the true figure is much higher as the Councils have more people registered and paying council taxes,  than the official figures show.

To add up more analysis on the mismatch for the figures is that in 2001-2009 it revealed that 21 % of UK’s population is multicultural, but according to 2011 figure is only 12 % of the UK population.  If it is claimed that the multicultural population is growing fast then the current figure cannot be less than before.

Further shortcoming that has created hot debates is the actual population figure itself. Number of officials contemplate that the realistic number is between 56.1 to 63 million. Calculating the number of migrants rely on notoriously unreliable international passenger survey. It gives doggy data, at least 15% of these people are the ones who decide to leave. Fifths of those people are the ones who travel across the Irish Sea and do not stay in the UK.

Even without deep analysis you can see the errors in the figures. According, to ONS statistics (year ending September 2011) the UK residents who were born aboard was 7.4 million, 5million come from outside Europe, 2.5 million come from Europe.

The figures show that the number of children under five have increased, however, the census admits that it missed young people aged 10-19 from abroad too.

This figures will become a battlefield and ground for boiling arguments around immigration, however we would like to emphasize on the actual business case from purely what is the most beneficial approach for UK’s economy perspective.

There is big economic cost to the country of limiting immigration. Last year the Office for Budget Responsibilities has centred assumption that if net inward migration fells to 140.000 (presently 250.000) and remains there over the next five decades. That would require spending cuts and tax rises of £ 17billion to bring down the national debt to 40% by 2064. However, if it stays on current rate of immigration and it is allowed to continue, that figure will fall to 4.6 billion by 2062.

So the Government will have to make serious choice, boil down whether to import growth to the country and businesses through immigration or cut down public spending and raise taxes. The Government has promised to cut down the immigration to the electorate, but is the country and economy is not ready to pay the cost for it?

Whatever is the actual figure, all of the analysis indicates one thing for sure that the multicultural population is increasing fast it is going to become more visible in the near future. Simply accepting those facts would not be enough. Clever business and marketing strategies have to be developed to be able to connect with the diverse population of UK more effectively, taking into consideration their backgrounds and culture.


Saad Saraf


Think Ethnic




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