Over a third of babies born in England, Wales are non-whiteAugust 30th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS
London, Aug 30 (IANS) The number of babies born to immigrants has for the first time crossed the one-third mark of all births in England and Wales, eliciting mixed reactions to questions related to the government’s immigration policy and race integration.Fewer than two-thirds of babies born in England and Wales are now registered as White British. Of 649,371 babies born in 2005, 64.4 per cent were recorded as White British, according to the Office of National Statistics.
The next largest group were recorded as Asian accounting for 8.7 percent of the births - of whom Pakistanis formed the biggest section with 3.7 percent. Asian British Pakistanis accounted for 24,290 births, Asian British Indians 16,053 and Asian British Bangladeshis 8,241.
Five percent of babies were recorded as black - three percent African, 1.2 percent black British Caribbean and 0.8 percent other black identities.
Mixed race babies accounted for 3.5 percent of births, while 5.1 percent were Irish or other white identities and 2.4 percent were Chinese or other groups. Just under 11 percent had no ethnic identity recorded.
The data on ethnic identity of births reveal stark differences in the lifestyles and social norms of Britain’s various communities.
Virtually all Asian babies - more than 95 percent - were registered by married parents compared to only around half of White British babies and just a third of the Black Caribbean group.
Monmouth Tory MP David Davies voiced concern not over the numbers of births to ethnic minorities but over the potential problems of social integration.
He told Daily Mail: “It is now more important than ever that those large number of people with different coloured skin join in with British society. The problem comes when large numbers of people of all ethnicities are not willing to use the language, are abusing our system and demanding that laws are changed to accommodate them.”
Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think tank, blamed the government for allowing immigration to get out of control. “This is a measure of the extent to which uncontrolled immigration is changing the nature of our society, against the wishes of a very large majority.
“Immigration is now expected to account for 70 percent of our population increase in the next 25 years. This means we will have to build a city the size of Birmingham every three or four years to sustain the newcomers.”
But former Labour MP and minister Tony Benn hailed the figures as “a delightful snapshot of life in multicultural Britain”. “We are now marrying people from different countries and society is becoming more tolerant of different races,” he said.
Ratna Dutt, Director of the Race Equality Foundation, said: “We’re living in a different population now than we were 20 or 30 years ago. The figures show that older generations of black and ethnic minorities, who have grown up in this country, are now comfortable enough to raise their children here.”
Commenting on the immigration issue last week, the Daily Mail said: “The nation’s population now stands at almost 61 million, up two million since 2001. And, even if the tide of new arrivals does begin to turn, the population will continue to rise, the figures show. Why? Because established migrants are each, on average, having more children than British-born women. And, last year, they accounted for 23 percent of all births (54 percent of those in London).”
The Daily Mail said that “the strain placed on schools and hospitals - totally unprepared for the influx of migrants since 1997, which by itself has added 1.2 million to the population - will be enormous for years to come”.
The paper said the government’s “folly” was that instead of focusing on immigration, it was attempting to “focus on the fall in the number of arrivals from Poland and its neighbours”.
“Immigrants from some non-EU countries have higher rates of unemployment, claim more in benefits, and have more children. Thus, by comparison, they will be a drain on public finances. By virtue of being granted citizenship or indefinite leave to remain, they are also here to stay. This is Labour’s true immigration legacy. The sooner they face these facts, the better.”