Population dynamics: The roles of natural change and migration in producing the ethnic mosaic

Nissa Finney*, Ludi Simpson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


This paper builds on an emerging literature that focuses on processes of population change as a means of understanding geographies of ethnicity. It argues that persistent assumptions of segregation being the result of divisive separation of ethnic groups are mistaken. The paper takes a demographic approach, presenting analyses of original estimates of natural change and net migration for eight ethnic groups in Britain over the period 1991-2001, at national and district levels. Major results are the greater significance of natural change than migration for minority ethnic population change, and the accordance of population dynamics with theories of counter-urbanisation and dispersal from areas of minority ethnic concentration. The importance of natural change is illustrated through the presentation of its effects on the index of isolation. The paper concludes that ethnic group population change in Britain can to a large extent be explained by benign and unexceptional demographic processes and ethnically undifferentiated migration patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1479-1496
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • Britain
  • Demography
  • Ethnic group
  • Migration
  • Natural change
  • Segregation


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