Projections of ethnic group populations in the United Kingdom

David A. Coleman, University of Oxford
Sylvie Dubuc, University of Oxford

The ethnic composition of the United Kingdom has been greatly diversified since the 1950s, with large-scale immigration from the New Commonwealth, from other countries outside Europe, and recently from the new EU member states. Building on previous work up to 2001, this project will estimate fertility, mortality and migration by ethnic group up to 2006 and investigate the impact of their level and trend upon the future population size, age-structure and the ethnic composition of the UK national population, on various assumptions. In the absence of vital statistics on ethnic groups, indirect methods must be used to estimate vital rates. The ‘Own Child’ method applied to survey and census data is used to derive fertility estimates for ethnic groups, distinguishing between the UK-born and foreign-born population. In the absence of reliable estimates, the age-specific mortality rates of the general population, from GAD, will initially be applied to all groups. But the ONS Longitudinal Study and other sources will be used to produce more refined estimates. Migration is the most troublesome of the major components to estimate according to ethnic origin. The census, ONS migration data and surveys will be used to produce estimates, using approaches developed by ONS among others. The resulting data will be used to make cohort-component projections of the main ethnic populations to mid-century and beyond, including mixed populations, based on year 2006, Preliminary results show a general decline in fertility rates over the time-period with considerable diversity across the ethnic groups. Preliminary projections on earlier data and assumptions indicate that the UK ethnic minority population would increase to about 20 million by mid-century. This, however, is highly dependent upon future levels of migration, which is by far the most important variable determining the outcome.

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Presented in Session 23: Forecasting the Impact of International Migration in Europe