"Investigating ongoing trends in integration across Britain..."

Over the past decade, immigration and integration in Britain have become key questions facing politicians, policymakers and the public.

The 2011 Census helped quantify a long overdue picture of the accelerated demographic change in cities and communities across the UK. The resulting picture of white working-class citizens increasingly moving out of areas that are experiencing a high influx of ethnic minorities, a phenomenon known as 'majority retreat', warrants further analysis.

This project advances the hypothesis that ethnic change in England and Wales is associated with three white working-class responses: ‘exit,’ ‘voice’, or ‘accommodation’.

  • ‘Voice’ is manifested as a rise in ethnic nationalist voting and anti-immigration sentiment.

  • ‘Exit’ as outmigration from, or avoidance of, diverse locales.

  • Finally, once areas reach a certain threshold of minority population share, these initial responses may give way to ‘accommodation’ in the form of decreased ethno-nationalist voting, reduced anti-immigration sentiment and lower white outmigration.

In the course of our investigation, we ask the policy-relevant question: do residential integration and minority acculturation calm or fuel white working-class exit and voice? In other words, does contact improve ethnic relations or do ‘good fences make good neighbours’?

Polling conducted by YouGov as part of the project and released on Thursday 3 October 2013 is available in full here.


This research adds to existing scholarship by integrating individual data with a more complex array of contextual variables, blending quantitative methods with focus-group qualitative research. Quantitative datasets used will include the ONS LS 2001 and 2011, Understanding Society and the Citizenship Surveys 2007-11. This will be augmented with aggregate analysis of 2001 and 2011 ONS census data. Demos will also run three focus groups, which will concentrate on white working-class residents in diverse areas.

More information

This project is supported by Birkbeck, University of London. 

Jan 16

London and the English

Why are people so keen to identify as English, and not British, asks Eric Kaufmann.

Dec 21

London: a rising island of religion in a secular sea?

Eric Kaufmann on what the Census shows about immigration and trends in religious belief.

Dec 14

‘White Flight’ from London?

Eric Kaufmann on the Census results and why it has never been more important to investigate the phenomenon of ‘white flight’.

Aug 12

David Goodhart on BBC WatO

David Goodhart discusses the fallout from Chris Bryant's speech on BBC Radio 4's World at One (from 16min).

Aug 10

Breaking down barriers

Max Wind-Cowie writes in the Sunday Telegraph about the need for better immigration data.

Jul 31

Benefit cut urged to curb new migrants

The Times front page reports on David Goodhart's submission on EU migration.

Jul 4

David Goodhart on Channel 5 News

David Goodhart debates Don Flynn of the Migrants' Rights Network on Channel 5 News, in light of Home Office report on the impact of immigration.

Jun 25

David Goodhart on BBC Newsnight

Demos Director David Goodhart interviewed by BBC Newsnight on closing loopholes in migration laws.

May 12

David Goodhart interview on Nederland 1

David Goodhart appears on the influential Dutch Sunday morning politics programme Buitenhof to discuss Ukip and the European Union. (from 18m)

May 6

White Britons 'In Retreat' From Minority Areas

David Goodhart on Sky News discussing Demos analysis that shows 45% of ethnic minorities in England and Wales live in areas where less than half the population is white British.

May 6

White Britons 'in retreat' from racially mixed areas, reveals study by think-tank Demos

Demos research reveals the negative impact 'majority retreat' is having on integration, in the Independent.

May 6

'Ethnic majority' areas growing, says report

The Telegraph's David Barrett covers Demos's latest Census analysis.

May 6

How rise of 'white flight' is creating a segregated UK

Daily Mail reports on Demos research which shows white Britons moving away from areas where they are a minority.

Jan 27

Britons 'self-segregate' as white flight soars

Nicholas Hellen reports on the phenomenon of "white flight" in the Sunday Times.

Dec 18

World at One debates immigration and integration

David Goodhart discusses Labour's position on multiculturalism and integration on BBC Radio 4's World at One, following the release of the Census 2011 (from 9mins).