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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Leicester 'to become plural city'
A new study claims Leicester will become the first city in Britain to have no ethnic majority group in 12 years' time.

Researchers at the University of Manchester - who carried out the study - also expect Birmingham to become a plural city in 2024.

Professor Ludi Simpson, who led the study, said white groups will remain the largest in both cities.

He said the results reflected worldwide trends of increasing ethnic diversity.

Prediction disputed

Prof Simpson said: "In Leicester and Birmingham, the white group will remain the largest by far - though it will not account for a majority of the population as a whole.

"These and most other cities are already diverse with many different ethnic minorities.

Since the immigration of the 1970s our communities have always got along with one another
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz

"Indeed it is indisputable that whether the whole of Britain or its city districts are considered, there will be more cultures represented in more equal numbers than in the past."

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz said plurality would be a "natural development of the city".

He said: "Leicester's diversity and successful integration is a mark of Leicester's confidence in itself.

"Since the immigration of the 1970s our communities have always got along with one another.

"Not every city in England will become like Leicester, but it is a hopeful example of multiculturalism for our nation today."

The research team dismissed claims by the Commission for Racial Equality that Leicester would be the first in Europe to have a majority non-white population in three years.

Figures in the 2001 Census showed Leicester's population was 63% white with the next largest ethnic group being of Indian origin at 26%.

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