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Ethnic change and diversity in England, 1981–2001

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The paper compares ethnic change and diversity across two recent decades using common group and area definitions. Ethnic minority groups are shown to be growing rapidly at 41 per cent between 1981 and 1991 and 39 per cent between 1991 and 2001. Some groups have grown swiftly (Black Africans, Bangladeshis), while others have seen moderate expansion (Indians, Other Asians). The White population has hardly grown and the White British population has probably declined. Black and Ethnic Minority (BEM) populations remain concentrated in metropolitan areas in 2001 as in 1991 and 1981. Whereas between 1981 and 1991, BEM groups were concentrating into metropolitan areas, between 1991 and 2001 deconcentration began for most groups. The London region stands out as highly dominant, housing more than 50 per cent of BEM populations as a whole in 1991 and 2001. However, between 1991 and 2001, BEM groups grew outside their core areas. The consequence of BEM population growth and spread has been a dramatic increase in ethnic diversity in all regions.

Keywords: censuses; ethnic diversity; metropolitan regions; non-metropolitan regions; spatial redistribution; spatial segregation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, Email:

Publication date: 2004-06-01

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