The capital of both England and the United Kingdom, throughout the previous two millennia London has proven to be an internationally significant political, cultural and commercial epicentre, particularly with regard to the recent phenomenon of globalisation. The population of London totals approximately seven million residents, the metropolitan area of which includes in excess of twelve million people.

Its official formation dates to the first century AD, wherebyLondinium enjoyed the position of the capital of the Roman Empire inthe province of Britannia (Anderson, 1996): by the eighteenth centuryLondon was considered the largest city in the world and the nucleus ofthe British Empire. 

London has long been a magnet for migrants, both domestic andinternational. The capital city has, for centuries, enjoyed a somewhatdelicate relationship with many cultures, religions and faiths, andwith a resident population representative of predominant globalnationalities (Sassen, 2001). In excess of two hundred languages arespoken in the capital, indicative of the importance of the city as anucleus for the immigration of refugees and migrants throughouthistory. The medieval era was a significantly active period for thesettlement of migrants in London, particularly with immigrants fromEurope. Though encouraged by William the Conqueror, in the eleventh andtwelfth centuries, to relocate to England, the Jewish population weresubsequently ejected from the country during the thirteenth century(Montefiore Hyamson, 2001).

The majority of the capital’s international trade was controlled andmonopolised by the foreign merchants, themselves immigrants to thecity, and, as in the twentieth century, history has witnessed thedevelopment of specific industries and trades by the skilled foreignmigrants relocating to London. The presence of black minorities in thecity has been felt since the Tudor period, and, though many arrived asfree citizens, the slave trade in Africa consequentially increased theblack population of London significantly following the 1570s (Houston,1996). The metamorphosis of predominant religion in England, followingthe country’s estrangement from the Catholic Church, resulted in themigration of a momentous quantity of persecuted Protestant refugeesfrom the Continent, the majority of which settled in London. Fourcenturies later, the Second World War culminated in the shortage ofcapable workers in the capital, and encouraged the migration of labourto London from Europe: until the early 1960s, England was active in thecolonies of the West Indies and India, recruiting labour for the worstaffected areas of the United Kingdom. Subsequently, British citizensfrom colonial nations, such as those Cypriot citizens dispossessed bythe invasion of Turkey, have sought refuge in the capital, and the cityremains a sanctuary for foreign citizens living in fear or persecutedby problematic regimes. In addition, and similar to many capitalcities, London attracts many domestic migrants from across the UK, asignificant number of which augment the homeless population of theregion.

In the twentieth century, the continual influx of a variety ofcultures, ethnicities and religions has resulted in a capital city thatis extremely diverse, energetic and dynamic (Kymlicka, 1996). London iscurrently one of the most substantial cities, with a total land area of1,584 km2, and is considered the most heavily populated city in Europewith approximately 7.4 million inhabitants and a ratio of approximately4,665 individuals per km2; in the European Union, London is third onlyto Paris and Brussels with regard to population density figures(Kershen, 1997). As such, it is unremarkable, therefore, that a rapidlychanging population structure should affect and impinge upon both theeconomy and housing market. According to recent research conducted bythe Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, rental costs areincreasingly exponentially as a result of the significantly high demandfor property (HM Treasury and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister,2005). This paper will attempt to review the increase in immigration toLondon, specifically contrast data from two economically and culturallycontrasting boroughs, explicitly Kensington and Lambeth. The paper willalso assess the economic effects of migration to the city, particularlywith regard to the associated increase in rental costs and deficienciesin the housing market.

Table 1: Household projections (based on principal projections). Officeof National Statistics (2003b) Revised international migrationestimates 1992-2001. London, Office of National Statistics

Table 2: Household projections (based on 172,000 per annum netmigration): regional spread based on regional net overseas inwardmigration rates. Office of National Statistics (2003b) Revisedinternational migration estimates 1992-2001. London, Office of NationalStatistics

Table 3: Household projections (based on 172,000 per annum netmigration): regional spread of increases as per the principalprojections. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2003) SustainableCommunities: Building for the Future. London, ODPM

Table 4: Greater London migration 1991-2001, in thousands. Office ofNational Statistics (2003b) Revised international migration estimates1992-2001. London, Office of National Statistics

The arrival the Normans to Britain, and their subsequent invasion,heralded a new era of political, religious and economic migrations tothe United Kingdom. The anti-Semitic sentiments throughout theContinent encouraged the migration of Jewish merchants and craftsmen toLondon, though the Jewish communities remained purposefully insular andburial provisions were restricted to a single Jewish cemetery until1177 (Montefiore Hyamson, 2001). The seemingly global opinion of Londonas a political and religious refuge for the persecuted, the displacedand the dispossessed has continued for a further millennium, andsubsequently, the capital has evolved into a multi-cultural,multi-ethnicity amalgamation that appears irresistible to many domesticand foreign migrants into the twenty-first century (Kymlicka, 1996).

London’s reputation as a quintessentially global city, considered bysome commentators to be the most international city in the world, cantrace its history to its relative tolerance towards culturally diverseresidents; a phenomenon which was emphasised during the post-colonialmigration of British citizens from former Empire nations (Favell,2001). In addition, the latter decades of the twentieth centurywitnessed remarkable exoduses from the ecumenical labour market, withsignificant, though largely not quantified, migration into London. Tomany international observers, London appears to be the zenith ofcontrariness. Geographically, the city maintains its manufacturing andservice industries in the northern and southern regions, with business,financial and retail districts dominating the centre of London (Sassen,2001). In 2004, the city and its thirty-two boroughs exhibited anestimated 7,421,228 residents giving London the status of the jointmost populated city in Europe (in addition to Moscow) (Wrigley, 2004),however, the accuracy of population data for the capital is perpetuallyunder debate due to its reliance on resident participation in returningofficial surveys, and subsequent analyses proposed that the populationon Census Day totalled a figure approximating 7.3 million inhabitants.Indeed, the governmental estimation of the city’s populace conducted in2003 suggested that the official figure is approximately 7,387,900(Office of National Statistics, 2003a).

The population of London is directly and significantly affected andaltered by both migration and the natural life-events of birth anddeath. While the birth and death rate of the city has, in recentdecades, remained reasonably stable as a result of the deficit ofinfectious disease and significant military conflict (Office forNational Statistics, 2005a), the population is continually andincomparably influenced by migratory trends. London exhibits adisproportionately high demographic of citizens within the 20-44 yearold age bracket, a feature directly attributable to inbound domesticand foreign migration. Relying on the official 2001 Census alone,migration figures in the 12 month period prior to the research suggestthat Greater London favoured comparably with the remainder of theUnited Kingdom, both possessing an inward migration equating toapproximately 12% of the residential population. The Census indicatedthat Inner London, however, had experienced a markedly higher migratoryinflux, with approximately 17.5% of the population represented.Similarly, migration from abroad totalled approximately 1.2% of thepopulation for outer London, however, this contrasts significantly withthe foreign inbound migration statistics for inner London, whichapproximate 2.5%.  It is, however, imperative to appreciate thatimmigration into the United Kingdom is frequently and substantiallychallenged by illegal entry, and, inevitably, any figures relating tomigration from aboard are conceivably underrepresented. (Office ofNational Statistics, 2001: table KS24)

Statistics for the United Kingdom indicate a prevalence of females thanmales in the population, with an average across age brackets of 50.7%(Office for National Statistics, 2005a) and predominantly more femalesthan males in all age brackets post-30 years. London conforms to thistrend, with an average proportion of females at 50.6 per cent. However,the profile of London with regard to the demographics of age, and incontrast with the United Kingdom as a whole, indicates that residentsin the capital incline towards younger than average age brackets: themean age for the United Kingdom is approximately 38.9, compared to 36.5for the resident population of London (Office for National Statistics,2005a). From data collated in 2003, the under-7 and 22-43 year old agebrackets are significantly overrepresented in London in comparison tothe population of the United Kingdom, however, representation in otherage brackets from the London data is appreciably lower, with notablyfewer people presenting in the 12-15 and 49+ age brackets. From thesame 2003 data, approximately 35% of the population of the UnitedKingdom were placed in the 20-44 year old age bracket, comparable to 44per cent from the residential population of London. This bracket isparticularly significant as it is responsible for rates of botheconomic activity and virtually all births.

Within the previous decade, available data indicates that net migrationinto the United Kingdom averaged approximately 166,000 per annum(Office of National Statistics, 2003a; Office of National Statistics,2003b). Furthermore, between 2004 and 2031 the population of thecountry is estimated to increase by approximately 7.2 million, with 83per cent of this increase allegedly attributable to immigration (Officefor National Statistics, 2005b)). These projections suggest that anestimated 1,003,000 new residential structures will be required for thesubsequent 17 year period (Lords Hansard, 2004) to contend with thissubstantial inbound migration, approximating to 59,000 properties perannum. According to the 2001 Census, the population of the UnitedKingdom’s second largest city, Birmingham, is approximately 977,000residents, and therefore, the projected housing requirements of futureimmigrants alone are monumental. Seventy per cent of recent immigrationfrom aboard has been to London, however, within the past decade anequilibrium has been achieved, with approximately 100,000 domesticresidents vacating London, and relocating to other regions in theUnited Kingdom, as approximately 100,000 migrants arrive.   

It is virtually impossible to accurately project for population changesdue to illegal immigration, and therefore it is realistic to suggestthat the net approximation of 172,000 migrants per annum for thesubsequent two decades (2001 to 2021) is a minimum figure. However,without accurate statistics governing the immigration of illegal aliensto the United Kingdom, it is impractical to analyse total demographicsfor migratory patterns. For the domestic population, the deficit inaccommodation is currently problematic, however, worst-case scenariopredictions suggest that a total housing requirement per annum may becloser to 155,000 – a significant shortfall of 35,000 new residences,even after allowance for demolitions and conversions (Council ofMortgage Lenders, 2003)). Appreciating the requirements of the domesticpopulation in addition to migration, the requirement of accommodationper annum will, allegedly, approximate 200,000 new houses (Hamnett,2003). Subsequently, an increasing in building construction ofapproximately 66 per cent will be essential to integrate the increasedcitizenry into the population.

The United Kingdom is, fundamentally, grossly unprepared for thecurrent trends in inbound population migration, predominantly theresult of considerably inaccurate assumptions involved in demographicpredictions during the 1990s (Wrigley, 2004). These predictionssuggested that the inward migration per annum from 1999 wouldapproximate 65,000 individuals, however, data collated at the beginningof the twenty-first century indicated that a conservative figure forinbound migration approximated in excess of twice the originallypredicted quantity. The government-commissioned Housing Statisticsreport illustrates the direct correlation between migration andsignificant alterations of population levels and structure, andcalculated that an adjustment of plus or minus 40,000 in inboundmigration per annum results in a difference in adult residentialpopulation by 2021 of approximately plus or minus 870,000 (Office forNational Statistics, 2005b) With the exception of disease and epidemiccontrol, in the twenty-first century the government has negligiblecontrol over natural life-events, such as birth and death, however,administration of population changes relating to inbound migrationpatterns are possible, thereby directly influencing the housingrequirements of the United Kingdom. Despite the limited projection of65,000 inbound migrants per annum, government estimations suggest that,between 1996 and 2021, approximately 700,000 new households would becreated as a result of migration (Office of National Statistics, 2003b)

The financial implications of migration and housing are numerous.Currently, the cost of accommodation is unprecedentedly high,particularly for those in lower income brackets, which invariablyinclude labour forces essential to the construction and manufacturingindustries. In recent decades the political reaction to this conundruminvolved the international recruitment of workers (Angrist and Kugler,2003), however, this has essentially resulted in an impasse: a furtherincrease in the demand for accommodation and encouraging an outwardmigration of the crucial labour force to other regions of the UnitedKingdom and, thus, necessitating the international recruitment of evenmore employees.

It is plausible to assume that inbound migration into London willcontinue to increase in the foreseeable future (Office of NationalStatistics, 2005b). Principally, this prediction is a result of the2004 admittance and inclusion of previously Communist nations into theEuropean Union, an event which has the potential to increase in thequantity of legally-issued work permits, thereby encouraging themigration to London of citizens from these new EU member states.Independent estimates suggest that, should this prediction be realised,inbound migration to London may rise by between 20 and 25 per cent,thus further increasing the pressure on the currently inadequatehousing market, potentially doubling the requirement for newaccommodation from immigration alone from approximately one million newhomes to a figure close to two million (Council of Mortgage Lenders,2003). During the previous four decades, however, rates of constructionwith regard to new houses have significantly diminished. Throughout the1960’s, new housing projects attained a pinnacle of approximately350,000 per annum, however, the current rate of house building fallsbelow 150,000; recognising the quantity of annual demolitions, the netquantity of new housing projects corresponds to a figure closer to120,000 (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2003).

Literature review

The majority of studies relating to migratory patterns, impact onsociety and the requirement of associated provisions have been largelyundertaken by governmental bodies. However, several independentanalyses indicate that the predictions of the government arefundamentally inaccurate due to the substantial error margin incurredvia illegal migratory patterns, of both domestic residents and thoseimmigrating from overseas (Dustmann et al., 2005). According toarticles published in The Economist, London has absorbed approximately680,000 migrants from overseas without an explicit and visible loss ofcountryside or heritage areas (Hatton and Tani, 2005). Partially, thisis the result of the redevelopment of disused industrial sites withpreviously scant residential areas, such as the Docklands. However, itmust also be appreciated that migration to the city has resulted in anexponential rise in the price of land and property in London, incomparison to the rest of the United Kingdom, encouraging theindigenous population to take advantage of this market boom, sellproperty and relocate elsewhere.

The effects of domestic and international migration on employment andassociated finances are potentially underestimated (Hatton and Tani,2005). The relative equilibrium between the influx of migrants and therelocating outbound indigenous population may mask, at a local level,the economic and employment-related ramifications of migration,however, its significance to the economy of the entire country remainsconsiderable. An equivalent analysis of the migratory patterns andtheir associated concerns in the United States by Borjas (2003)indicates that the displacement of an indigenous population is anessential apparatus to encourage the dispersal of the effects ofmigration, thereby restricting any negative impacts from affectingsolitary locations. However, this assessment is contradicted in asimilar study conducted by Card (2001). Within the United Kingdom, thisissue has been analysed throughout two decades and reported by Hattonand Tani (2005), with a reliance on data accumulated from elevenregions via the National Health Service Register and the InternationalPassenger Survey. Conclusively, Hatton and Tani suggest that theeffects of immigration are diffused beyond the immediately affectedregion, with an associated flow of migrants between regions; theoriginal settlement of inbound migrants and the subsequent displacementof prior inhabitants (Hatton and Tani, 2005). Unsurprisingly, theseeffects are not restricted to the tangible and readily visible issuessurrounding accommodation, but also impact on regional and nationaleconomies, the religious and cultural structure of society,demographics relating to language, and employment. The consequence ofmigration on both the employment and housing markets involvesignificantly intensified competition, throughout the region and,eventually, throughout the country (Hatton and Tani, 2005). With afocus on London specifically, current data suggest that approximatelyforty-five inhabitants are routinely displaced by the inward migrationof one hundred migrants, and, therefore, displacement is particularlyconcentrated in locations experiencing significant immigration.

However, data compiled and analysed by various authors, both academicand governmental, are intrinsically limited by the relevance of thesources used, particularly with regard to the lack of accurate datarelating to illegal migration, and therefore many studies areultimately considered to be statistically insignificant. This is anunfortunate restriction applicable to any study assessing demographics,with a substantial proportion of the potential target populationinaccessible and virtually invisible. It is, therefore, imperative toacknowledge these limitations and present any such population study asrepresentative only of the visible, official pubic.

The quantity of households in London declined considerably during the1970s, however, this trend has since reversed and the inclination ispredicted to increase exponentially. The Greater London Authorityestimates that the increase in population, as a result of both naturallife events and migration, will occur at a rate unprecedented sinceWorld War Two (Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London, 2001).The change in social profile of the United Kingdom in the latter halfof the twentieth century, including the prevalence for divorce andsingle habitation, inevitably attributed to the increase in population,however, these were not the primary causes. Though natural patterns andgrowth contributes to a large proportion of the population increase inLondon, the recent surge in numbers of households in the capital is adirect result of inbound migration. This paper details the accumulationof data from a variety of reports conducted into the examination of thepopulation of London. The majority of these studies demonstrate thesignificant correlation between migration patterns, accessibility ofemployment, formation of households, property prices and income levels.When assessing the inbound migration of residents, particularly withinspecific boroughs, it is virtually obligatory to also examinecorresponding local labour markets and the resultant displacement ofsections of the population.

The state of the housing market and its demand within London isspecifically a matter of growth: growth of the population, particularlydriven by inward migration, which directly drives the growth anddevelopment of households, which, in turn, results in the growth of thehousing market and an increased necessity for new properties in thelocality. As a result of this demand for available residentialproperties within London, many residents have cashed in on theremunerative housing market, and subsequently investments in housinghave yielded considerable profits. The demand for accommodation locatedin the South East of England, and London specifically, as a result ofboth domestic and international migration, is currently surpassing theavailable supply. The cost of buying a property, for first-time buyersin particular, is far in excess of funds accessible to the majority ofcitizens; this is a substantial problem for duel-income couples ofreasonably sufficient earnings, however, the difficulty is exacerbatedfor individuals on low incomes and from unprivileged backgrounds.  Inparticular, the economical reality of buying properties is of concernto the skilled labour force, and is a problem aggravated by theinflationary affects of increased regional population throughmigration. Subsequently, a large proportion of the population,particularly in the relatively youthful populace of London, is relianton the rental market for accommodation; a sector which has proven to bedisproportionately expensive. Similarly, the homeless population isconsidered to be an increasing concern, particularly within citylocations, and with an estimated 85,000 households allocated refuge intemporary accommodation in 2002; approximately 65% of these familiesincluded children, and the incommensurate statistical representation ofethnic minorities in these figures is significant (Office of the DeputyPrime Minister, 2003).

The projected dispersion of new households within the United Kingdom isasymmetrical, particularly throughout England (table 1) with thepredominant concentration of 19.4% in the South East of the country,comparable to the corresponding estimation for the North East at 6.4%.

(Table 1) Office of National Statistics (2003b) Revised internationalmigration estimates 1992-2001. London, Office of National Statistics

Calculating via the estimated prediction of 172,000 inbound migrantsper annum, and appreciating the requirement for one millionsupplementary residential properties, the forecasted profusion ofhouseholds and percentage increase in each region impacted by netmigration indicates that London will experience an increase of fourtimes that of the North East (table 2). These data suggest that Londonis significantly more attractive as a settlement location than anyother location in England, and will, by extrapolation, incur themajority of the burden for accommodation, further impacting on thecurrent rental market. However, the theoretical impingement of such aninflux of migrants is incontrovertibly extensive, and, in practice, theprobable response from London would involve the outward migration ofthe indigenous population to less densely populated regions of theUnited Kingdom. Such a movement of residents, however, wouldsubsequently confer a significant economical, political and socialinfluence on London.

(Table 2) Office of National Statistics (2003b) Revised internationalmigration estimates 1992-2001. London, Office of National Statistics

(Table 3) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2003) Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future. London, ODPM

A more realistic consequence, however, involves the proportionaldistribution of population increase following inbound migration at anannual rate of 172,000 (table 3). Following these calculation, it ispossible to suggest that the one million additional residentialproperties necessary to accommodate migrants would be dispersedthroughout the country relative to the principal projections calculatedby the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, therefore implying that thequantities of new houses required would involve the construction of afurther 25 per cent of dwellings throughout the South of England duringthe following two decades (Attanasio, et al., 2005). However, thisregion currently exhibits the highest house prices, the most denselypopulated residential areas and the least quantity of unoccupieddwellings. The government’s report analysing Sustainable Communities(Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2003) concludes that a vastquantities of actions are required to respond adequately to theprojected requirement for accommodation in the twenty-first century,including a reform of the previously inefficient and ineffectiveplanning system, and the development of the so-called ‘growth areas’located in the London/Stanstead/Cambridge corridor (LSC), the ThamesGateway, Ashford and Milton Keynes (Office of the Deputy PrimeMinister, 2003). By 2031, a possible 803,000 new dwellings are plannedthroughout the ‘growth area’, with the majority located in MiltonKeynes and LSC regions (370,000 and 322,000 respectively). However,principal projections of households are dependent on the assumptionthat the inbound migration to the United Kingdom is restricted to anapproximate figure of 65,000 per annum. If, therefore, net migrationis, in actuality, closer to the suspected figure of 172,000, theincrease in required new dwellings for migrants alone will equate to afigure approximating 430,000 (Attanasio, et al., 2005).

The United Kingdom differs from the majority of European countries inthat each individual city is responsible for providing their ownpopulation figures. Many other nations utilise commuter statistics todetermine national urban population data, however, the United Kingdom’sreluctance to employ these statistics continually results incomplication and perplexity with regard to the definition andpresentation of accurate population statistics for London and itsregion. In addition, confusion exists over the physical parameters of‘London’, ‘Greater London’ and the metropolitan district, resulting inan abundance of erroneous statements and conclusions regarding thedemographics of the capital. In 2001, the Greater London Authorityrecognised the significance of the developing patterns controlling thepopulation of London and the inaccuracies surrounding demographicstudies, and subsequently conducted an official analysis of migratoryand housing trends. The panel concluded that household and propertystatistics were previously unsound, and established that Londondemographics were manipulated by a variety of disparate determinants,with particular significance attributed to domestic and internationalmigratory trends, culturally determined differential householdpatterns, contrasting housing aspirations dependent on age bracket, andthe disproportionately high prices and scant availability of propertyin the capital (Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London,2001).

From varying studies it is possible to determine that the increase inthe rate of population growth is in excess of the current and predictedsupply of accommodation. Microcosmic analysis between boroughs suggeststhat the differential migration of London, in comparison with theremainder of the United Kingdom, is also replicated at municipallevels.

The demographic profile of London indicates a remarkable diversity inethnicity of the resident population. Approximately seventy-eight percent of the United Kingdom’s black African population resides inLondon, with representation of the black Caribbean populace currentlystanding at sixty-one per cent, and in excess of half of the Britishpopulation of Bangladeshis reside in the capital (Dobson et al., 2001).When analysing the population of a capital city it is imperative toacknowledge the ethnic profile due to the associated impoverished stateof both the residents themselves and their communities: a significantmajority of London’s ethnic population experiences below averageincomes, poorer standards of habitation and poorer health when comparedwith the general population of the United Kingdom (Philips and Philips,1998).

The Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, is considered to beaffluent, progressive and prosperous, with a substantial populationdensity in comparison to all other London boroughs. Kensington andChelsea presents a total population of 158,919 citizens and apopulation density of people per hectare of 131.01 (Merriman, 2003).Contrastingly, Lambeth is a borough afflicted by generic poverty, lowincome households and social deprivation, however, its populationdensity is considerably less than that of Kensington and Chelsea,currently at 99.42 people per hectare. Despite the relatively meagredistribution of people, however, the population of Lambeth isconsiderable, at approximately 270,500 registered citizens (Thrift,1994), and results in Lambeth being the largest inner London borough.Though stricken with relatively significant levels of poverty, Lambethenjoys one of the most culturally and socially diverse communitieswithin the United Kingdom (Rex and Montserrat Guibernau i Berdun,1997). Ethnic minorities are well-represented within the Borough, withcurrent data indicating that twenty-five percent of the Lambethpopulation consider themselves as black and four percent declaringtheir ethnicity as from the Indian Subcontinent; approximatelythirty-four per cent of the residential population in Lambeth are fromethnic minorities (Philips and Philips, 1998). The borough boasts thelargest proportion of black Caribbean citizens in comparison with allother districts, and possesses the third largest representation ofblack Africans in London (Office for National Statistics, 2005b).According to the 2001 Census, 62% of Lambeth’s population considersthemselves white, with black Caribbean and black African residentsequally represented at approximately 12% of the population of theborough. Though not considered particularly densely populated incomparison with other inner London boroughs, with regard to residency,only thirty-seven per cent of the district’s population considerthemselves owner-occupiers. Despite the considerable ethnic medleyrepresented in the borough, Lambeth has, in recent years, been accusedof over-enthusiastically resorting to political correctness,particularly well demonstrated in 2005 with the renaming of thetraditional high street Christmas lights as “winter lights” by LambethLondon Borough Council (Office for National Statistics, 2005b).

In contrast, situated in the west of the capital, Kensington andChelsea is a Royal borough, a 1960s amalgamation of the formerdistricts of Kensington and Chelsea. According to the 2001 Census, thepredominantly urban borough of Kensington and Chelsea is the mostheavily populated council district in the United Kingdom, with adensity of approximately 13,200 citizens per square kilometre. Boastinga wealth of metropolitan structures, such as universities, embassiesand museums, Kensington and Chelsea is predominantly famous for thedepartment store Harrods: a tangible metaphor for the borough’saffluence. The generic London housing market is poorly representedwithin this borough, principally as the district contains a substantialproportion of the most exclusive residential vicinities in the UnitedKingdom. The population is equally underrepresented with regards toethnic minorities, with a considerable percentage of the population(79%) considering themselves ethnically white. Contrastingly,representation of the black communities is negligible, with theproportion of black Africans and black Caribbeans particularly low atfour per cent and three per cent respectively (Rex and MontserratGuibernau i Berdun, 1997). Just short of half of the population ofKensington and Chelsea are owner-occupiers within the borough’shouseholds, and, similarly, the prosperity of the borough is evidencedsignificantly by the representation of high salary brackets: Kensingtonand Chelsea flaunts the largest quantity of employees earning in excessof £60,000 per annum in comparison with any other local authorityregion in the United Kingdom (Office for National Statistics, 2005b).With consideration to employment sectors and opportunities, Kensingtonand Chelsea possesses the lowest quantity of workers employed in theretail sector and the highest employed in the financial sector.

Generically, the population of London has changed at an increased ratein comparison with the rest of the United Kingdom. Between 1991 and2000 the population of London increased by an average of 11%,comparable to the national trend of 4%, a pattern which is predicted tocontinue (Dustmann and Glitz, 2005). Population densities within thecity are particularly high, specifically within the boroughs ofKensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Westminster wheredensities exceed the remainder of the capital by twice the average ofLondon. Greater London differs in comparison to inner London withregard to previous migratory patterns: during the 1990s, outer Londonexperienced significant outbound migration of residents (Dudley et al.,2005). However, this propensity has recently reversed, predominantlydue to legal migration from overseas citizens, a trend which hasincreased significantly during the previous decade. Statistically,these migrants differ greatly with regard to income, with the majorityoccupying diametrically opposite ends of the salary scale, andtherefore the economic disparity among London residents is increasingsignificantly, consequentially impinging on the property market(Dustmann and Glitz, 2005). A general trend among migrants with respectto age brackets is evidenced in London, with the majority of inwardmigrants occupying the lower brackets and outbound migrants biasedtowards older age groups (Dummett, 2001). As such, the demographics ofLondon are dominated by residents occupying the 20-39 year old agebracket.

London has, historically, exhibited a formidable deficiency in suitableaccommodation for the requirements of the city’s population, a problemcompounded by the dynamism of the population. The Barker reportdictated that the capital city requires a substantial improvement inthe quantity of available and affordable housing, for both purchase andrent, particularly with regard to first-time buyers who, in recentyears, have found accessibility to house-ownership virtuallyimpossible. This deterioration in affordability of realisticresidential property is widespread throughout the United Kingdom, withthe traditional trend of the most economically viable regionsconsisting of northern counties in England, Scotland and NorthernIreland still in effect. At the turn of the decade the total quantityof first-time buyers per annum within the United Kingdom approximatedforty-five per cent of the total citizens purchasing property; thisfigure has significantly decreased in recent years to a figureapproximating thirty per cent of the total (Attanasio et al., 2005).Furthermore, the artificial inflation implemented by changes inpopulation patterns, employment and the economy of Britain has resultedin the widening of the gap between mortgages available to residents andthe actual price of the property. Subsequently, the United Kingdom inthe twenty-first century is experiencing a critical deficit inresidential properties of dramatic proportions; a phenomenon which isunlikely to alter without significant management of the associatedfactors, such as demographical profile, migratory patterns, economy andpolitics.

The deficient housing levels of the United Kingdom are alreadyconsidered responsible for the significant quantity of residentsreliant on the rental market, and that market’s substantially highcosts for the population. The staggeringly high costs of renting in theUnited Kingdom, particularly within the South of England, are resultingin an impasse: occupants resort to depending on the rental market asthe cost of buying a residence has plateaued at a level unprecedentedduring the previous decades, however, the cost of renting is sosubstantial that occupants are unable to lay financial foundations forthe purchasing of property. The cost of buying a house is, from manyquarters, directly attributable to the increase in domestic andinternational inbound migration, particularly with respect to largecities such as London.

The revival of conditions favourable to international migration duringthe previous ten years has resulted in a rapid increase in thepopulation of London. The Department for Transport, Local Governmentand the Regions (DTLR) estimated that the quantity of households inLondon during the year 2000 had increase by approximately 125,000 intwo years. This figure represented an underestimation of fifty-eightthousand inhabitants calculated in DTLR’s mid-1990s projection for 2001(Hamnett, 2003). Similarly, in 2000 the DLTR suggested that thequantity of residential properties in London equated to approximately3.05 million, propounding that the estimated of shortage of housing inthe capital has increased to a figure approximating 132,000.Comparatively, the commensurate figures for England contrast with thoseof London significantly, implying a nationwide surplus, rather thandeficit, of 36,000 at the turn of the millennium. However, as isdiscussed further within this paper, data obtained from the populationof London is particularly problematic, predominantly as there is anoverwhelming reliance on the completion and return of surveys sent toresidents in each borough.

Housing shortages are already impinging on the domestic population, andthe legal inward migrant population are now displacing the indigenouscommunities in several regions. The British government is frequentlyaccused of promoting immigration into the United Kingdom, andspecifically into London, encouraging the influx of a migrant labourforce to supplement deficient sectors and urban communities (Geddes,2002). However, assuming the current patterns and increasing levels ofinbound migration continue in the subsequent decades, the deficit ofappropriate and affordable accommodation will increase exponentially,becoming a potentially colossal problem. Consequentially, the ensuingimpact may force the affected regions into states of poverty anddeprivation (Wrigley, 2004), impinging on the quality of life in manyareas of the United Kingdom. It is relevant that internationalmigration has a proclivity of focussing on existing communities withineach region: rather than settling in empty regions, many immigrantschoose to relocate to densely populated areas, resulting in an evengreater deficit of housing and an increase in local employmentopportunities. This invariably results in the displacement of theindigenous population, many citizens opting to seek employment and moreaffordable accommodation in less popular towns and cities. There is aconvincingly direct correlation between patterns of migration among andwithin a population and changes to the economy, and employment andaccommodation provisions within a given community. A sudden change inpopulation levels within a specific region, unsurprisingly, increasesor decreases the availability of housing and jobs, with levels ofunemployment directly proportional to quantity of local residents. Forthose properties that subsequently become available in denselypopulated regions, a supply and demand effect creates an artificialinflation, resulting in substantially higher property prices than wouldordinarily be evidenced (Dustmann and Glitz, 2005). Consequentially,the British government has been accused of failing to appreciate thefinancial and physically practical ramifications of encouraging migrantlabour forces to relocate to the United Kingdom, and for disregardingthe fundamental necessity of the provision of an adequateinfrastructure to support the substantial associated costs of such anenterprise.

Many regions within the United Kingdom, particularly the numerousboroughs of London, are currently affected by a deficit in skilledworkforces. Domestic and international migration, however, merelyexacerbates, rather than relieves, the problem. The influx of migrantsto deprived areas such as Lambeth increases the demand for appropriateaccommodation, resulting in the plummeting supply of housing. This, inturn, increases the prices of property in the vicinity therebyresulting in an unaffordable housing market for local residents. Whilethese properties may be affordable to high-earning citizens in otherboroughs, such as Kensington, the local workforce finds itself pricedout of the housing market, therefore frequently opting to relocateelsewhere. Though the government may be attempting to recruit anessential workforce from overseas, the local skilled workers aredisplaced, thereby negating any beneficial effects of the politicalmigration agenda. Furthermore, the newly migrated population findsitself equally unable to purchase property, thereby resorting to therental market, which itself, in turn, becomes increasingly unaffordableas demand outstrips supply. There is, therefore, a cyclical quality tothe continually changing population among the key workers of lessaffluent boroughs of London and the South East of England, with highunemployment and retention levels and outbound migration in evidence(Angrist and Kugler, 2003), followed by a secondary influx of migrants,a secondary high demand for housing and a secondary event ofdisplacement. A number of factors have contributed to the unprecedentedeconomic upsurge experienced by London. During the 1980s the economy inthe city was deregulated, and consequentially the trend of globalmigration has focused specifically on the United Kingdom and itscapital. Practically innumerous languages are heard within the city andit is possible to see residents representative of every conceivableethnicity on its streets. The most populated city in Europe at the turnof the nineteenth century, London has witnessed continual changes inits demographic profile (Woods, 1996).

The analysis of demographics, and the associated consequences ofmigratory patterns, suggests a particularly damaging aspect with regardto the indigenous population (Harris, 2001). En masse immigration intoan area or city can prove to be particularly debilitating to thecompeting local workforce, and can subsequently disperse to other areasof the country, negatively affecting communities far removed from theoriginal site of settlement. In essence, the arrival of largequantities of domestic and overseas migrants to an area frequentlyresults in costs of habitation rising and salaries and wages decreasingsignificantly. The 2001 Census with regard to ethnic breakdown ofLondon indicates that, while approximately seventy per cent of thepopulation considered themselves to be white, ten per cent of thecitizens classed themselves as black (both African and Caribbean), tenper cent as Bangladeshi or Pakistani, three per cent as mixed ethnicityand one per cent as Chinese. Significantly, the Census revealed thattwenty-two per cent of the residents of London were born outside theEuropean Union (Office of National Statistics, 2001), though thisfigure is likely to be distinctly underrepresented as it cannotestimate population levels as a result of homelessness and illegalmigration.

Concluding, analyses of the demographics of London are perpetuallyinhibited by the prevalence of illegal migrants, of both domestic andoverseas origin. This problem is further exacerbated by the incidenceof homelessness within London’s population: in 1994, approximately106,000 people in the capital were categorised as homeless (Office forNational Statistics, 2005b). However, it is possible to suggest a trendof increase in population via the migratory patterns within the UnitedKingdom and, specifically, inbound migration to London is a significantcontributory factor when assessing the availability of affordableaccommodation within the capital. The difference between boroughs suchas Lambeth and Kensington and Chelsea are statisticallyunderrepresented, with Kensington being too affluent and property tooexpensive to attract migrant populations.

  • Angrist, J. D. and Kugler, A. D. (2003) Productive orcounterproductive? Labour market institutions and the effect ofimmigration on EU natives. Economic Journal (113): 302–37.
  • Anderson, M. (1996) British population history, 1911-1991. In BritishPopulation History: From the Black Death to the Present Day. InAnderson, M. (ed.) British Population History: From the Black Death tothe Present Day. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Attanasio, O. Blow, L., Hamilton, R. and Leicester, A. (2005)Consumption, house prices and expectations, Bank of England WorkingPaper no. 271. London, Bank of England
  • Borjas G. J. (2003) The labour demand curve is downward sloping:re-examining the impact of immigration on the labour market. QuarterlyJournal of Economics (118): 1135–74.
  • Card, D. E. (2001) Immigrant inflows, native outflows and the locallabour market impacts of higher immigration. Journal of LabourEconomics (19): 22–64
  • Council of Mortgage Lenders (2003) Barker Review of Housing Supply:Response to HM Treasury and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister'sReview Team. London, Council of Mortgage Lenders
  • Dobson, J., Koser, K., McLaughlan, G. and Salt, J. (2001) InternationalMigration and the United Kingdom: Recent Patterns and Trends. London,Home Office
  • Dudley, J. Roughton, M, Fidler, J. and Woollacott, S. (2005) Control Of immigration: Statistics 2004. London, Home Office
  • Dummett, M. (2001) On Immigration and Refugees. Oxford, Routledge
  • Dustmann, C., Hatton, T. and Preston, I. (2005) The labour market effects of immigration. The Economic Journal, 115: 297–299.
  • Dustmann, C. and Glitz, A. (2005) Immigration, Jobs and Wages: Theory,Evidence and Opinion. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research(CEPR) and the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM)
  • Favell, A. (2001) Philosophies of Integration: Immigration and the Ideaof Citizenship in France and Britain. London, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Geddes, A. (2002) The Politics of Migration and Immigration in Europe. London, Sage Publications Ltd
  • Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London (2001) Summary:towards the London Plan: Initial proposals for the Mayor’s spatialdevelopment strategy. London, Greater London Authority.
  • Hamnett, C. (2003) Unequal City: London in the Global Arena. Oxford, Routledge.
  • Harris, N. (2001) Thinking the Unthinkable: The Immigration Myth Exposed. London, I.B. Tauris
  • Hatton, T. J. and Tani, M. (2005) Immigration and Inter-RegionalMobility in the UK, 1982-2000. Economic Journal 115 (507): 342-358
  • HM Treasury and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2005) Housing policy: an overview. London, HMT and ODPM.
  • Houston, R. A. (1996) The population history of Britain and Ireland,1500-1750. In Anderson, M. (ed.) British Population History: From theBlack Death to the Present Day. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Kershen, A. J. (ed.) (1997) London: The Promised Land? London, Ashgate
  • Kymlicka, W. (1996) Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford, Clarendon Press
  • Lord Hansard (2004)  8 Dec 2004 Column WA39. Westminister, House of Lords.
  • Merriman, N. (2003) The Peopling of London: Fifteen Thousand Years of Settlement from Overseas. London, Museum of London
  • Montefiore Hyamson, A. (2001) A History of the Jews in England. Hawaii, University Press of the Pacific
  • Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2003) Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future. London, ODPM
  • Office of National Statistics (2001) 2001 Census. London, Office of National Statistics
  • Office of National Statistics (2003a) Population and Migration: ThreeYear Work Plan 2003/04-2005/06. Draft Version 3. London, Office ofNational Statistics
  • Office of National Statistics (2003b) Revised international migrationestimates 1992-2001. London, Office of National Statistics
  • Office for National Statistics (2005a) Birth Statistics: Review of theRegistrar General on births and patterns of family building in Englandand Wales, 2004 (Series FM no.33). London, Office for NationalStatistics
  • Office for National Statistics (2005b) Key Population and Vital Statistics. London, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Philips, M. and Philips, T. (1998) Windrush: the Irresistible Rise of Multi-racial Britain. London, Harper Collins
  • Rex, J. and Montserrat Guibernau i Berdun, M. (1997) The EthnicityReader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration. Cambridge, PolityPress
  • Sassen, S. (2001) The Global City. Princeton, Princeton University Press
  • Thrift, N. (1994) On the social and cultural determinants ofinternational financial centres: the case of the city of London. InCorbridge, S., Martin, R. and Thrift, N. (eds.) Money, Power and Space.Blackwell, Oxford: 327-354.
  • Woods, R. I. (1996) The Population of Britain in the nineteenthcentury. In Anderson, M. (ed.) British Population History: From theBlack Death to the Present Day. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Wrigley, E. A. (2004) Poverty, Progress and Population. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press


(Table 4) Greater London migration 1991-2001, in thousands. Office ofNational Statistics (2003b) Revised international migration estimates1992-2001. London, Office of National Statistics

  International Migration UK Migration Total
  In Out Net In Out Net Net
1991-92 95.2 91.3 3.9 53.9 208.2 -54.3 -50.4
1992-93 90.1 70.8 19.2 149.9 200.4 -50.5 -31.2
1993-94 100.5 74.2 26.3 152.7 203.4 -50.7 -24.5
1994-95 102.0 80.1 21.9 166.6 207.8 -41.2 -19.2
1995-96 119.8 69.8 50.0 168.8 208.9 -40.1 9.9
1996-97 111.3 79.6 31.7 168.5 217.7 -49.2 -17.5
1997-98 139.0 97.1 41.9 169.5 221.5 -52.0 -10.0
1998-99 180.9 101.3 79.6 167.6 220.1 -52.5 27.1
1999-00 193.1 106.4 86.7 163.3 233.2 -69.9 16.8
2000-01 208.6 109.5 99.1 163.6 232.2 -68.6 30.5
Annual Ave 1996-01 166.6 98.8 67.8 166.5 224.9 -58.4 9.4
Source: GLA (2003)