This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
City welcoming rest of the world
by David Owen
Nearly a quarter of all people living in the East Midlands who were born abroad reside in Leicester, according to new study.
Not only do 24.7 per cent of the region's foreign-born residents live in the city, but Leicester also has the highest number – 100,843.
The city also saw the largest numerical growth in the migrant population – 46,283 additional non-UK born residents – in a 10-year period.
It follows a study of the migrant population in England and Wales by Oxford University's Migration Observatory, based on its analysis of 2011 Census figures compared with the previous Census in 2001.
The research is the most comprehensive carried out on the city's migrant population.
It reveals that Leicester's migrant population has increased by 71.7 per cent – from 64,560 to 110,843 in 10 years.
The data reveals that of the 329,839 people living in Leicester – the East Midlands' largest city – in 2011, 33.6 per cent were not born in the UK, the highest proportion of any place in the region.
Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, the senior researcher leading the Census project, said: "Reports produced by the Office for National Statistics often only provide information about broad immigration trends in the country.
"The purpose of our study was to give people a clearer idea of what is happening as far as immigration is concerned where they live."
Residents born in India represent the most numerous non-UK-born group in Leicester (37,224 residents, 34 per cent of Leicester's foreign-born), followed by residents born in Kenya (7,118; 3.3 per cent); Poland (6,417; 2.9 per cent); Pakistan (3,534; 1.6 per cent), and Zimbabwe (3,377; 1.5 per cent).
Of the proportional change in foreign-born residents since 2001, Poland represents the biggest increase (1,111 per cent; 530 to 6,417), followed by China (728 per cent; 290 to 2,401); Iran (508 per cent; 111 to 675); Zimbabwe (270 per cent; 913 to 3,377, and Nigeria (269 per cent; 307 to 1,133).
Dr Vargas-Silva said: "Leicester is interesting in many ways. We expected it to be an important destination for immigrants to the country, but what we found is it is also much more diverse than most other areas. People come to Leicester from all over the world."
He said the type of immigration was also interesting.
"You have networking migration, which is people who have family, friends and relatives already living in an area, and also areas with high student populations and people looking for work. But while some places like Vauxhall, in London, have high migrant populations due to students, and Boston, Lincolnshire, with a large migrant workforce, Leicester scores high on all counts."