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UIC - London - Growth

Impacts of national and international migration on the growth and character of the city


London’s population is in a period of growth. It grew from just over 1 million in the 1801 census, to a peak of over 8.6 million in 1941.  Following this period the population of London went into decline, slipping to just over 6 million in 1991.  Since then government initiatives and a booming economy have allowed the population to grow to 8.3 million in the 2011 census, and it is predicted to continue to grow. This can all be seen on the graph below

Population growth in London

The graph below shows that there are 3 factors at play influencing the overall size and rate of growth of London’s population;
1. Internal (within the UK) migration has been negative; that is the numbers of people moving out of London has been greater than the number of UK residents moving in.  This balance has got smaller over time.
2. International net migration has always been positive during the time period shown, so there have always been more foreign born people moving into London than out of it
3. Natural Change has been positive, so births have been above deaths and this has boosted the population size.

When the balance is taken between these 3 factors it can be seen that London’s population has had a POSITIVE BALANCE year on year, with London gaining over 100,000 people a year between 2008 and 2013. A gain greater than the population of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne!

London Population Change Graph

Internal migrants into London tend to be in the age groups 20 -30, whilst those who tend to leave are over 30 or children.  This means that generally people migrate into London for work; and leave when they start having families.

Migration in particular has changed the CHARACTER of London.  It is genuinely one of the most multicultural places on the planet with many different races, cultures and languages in evidence throughout the city.

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