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Friday, 21 September, 2001, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
Ethnic birth rate climbs
Babies in cots
Birth rates are highest among minority ethnic groups
Britain's ethnic minorities are growing at 15 times the rate of the white population, newly-published research shows.

Data collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) between 1992-1994 and 1997-1999 showed that the number of people from minority ethnic groups grew by 15% compared to 1% for white people.

In its latest quarterly Population Trends report the ONS estimated the number of people from minority ethnic groups in Britain had hit four million - 7% of the population - for the first time.

The report said: "The age-sex profiles and the proportions of each ethnic group born in the UK are greatly influenced by the timing of the various waves of immigration into this country as migrants are mainly young adults."

Population growth
Black (Mixed): 49%
Black (African): 37%
Bangladeshi: 30%
Pakistani: 13%
Chinese: 5%
Indian: 4%
White: 1%
Black (Caribbean): 0%
Source: ONS

Those groups who had been in the UK longest tended to see the least growth in their numbers.

Black people of Caribbean origin - who came to the UK in large numbers in the 1950s and 1960s - registered no growth at all.

But among black Africans whose immigration to the UK peaked in the 1980s and 1990s the growth was 37%.

That trend was also reflected among the Asian population with the numbers of people of Bangladeshi origin - whose immigration to the UK peaked in the 1980s - up by a third.

However the longer established Indian community grew by just 4%.

Southern bias

The figures also revealed that on average Britain's ethnic minorities have a much younger age profile.

The average age for the white population surveyed in the 1997-1999 period was 37 or less but only 26 for ethnic minorities.

The report concluded: "Their young age structure and the consequential large number of births and relatively small number of deaths helps to explain the disproportionate contribution of minority ethnic groups to population growth in the 1990s."

Significantly the ethnic group with the youngest age profile were those who described themselves as "mixed" with 58% being aged 14 or under.

Overall their numbers increased by 49% in the periods surveyed - the second largest growth among black groups.

The report also revealed that most of Britain's ethnic minorities live in England with just 3% living in Scotland, Ireland or Wales.

Fewest of all live in Scotland where just 1.7% of people said they belonged to a minority ethnic group.

And it showed most non-white people are concentrated in the urban areas, particularly in southern England.

Nearly half live in London compromising more than a quarter of all residents.

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