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A Brief Study Of British Ethnic Groups

Essay, Research Paper

One of the most striking features of the British Population since the turn of the century has been its growth in the number of its third world ex-colonial population from negligable proportions to the present time where coloured ethnics account for 5% of the total popultion of Britain. Peach, Robinson, Maxted and Chance (PRMC) argue that this immigration can be broadly defined as Irish in the nineteenth, Jewish at the beginning of the twentieth century and predominantl West Indian and South Asian in the middle of the twentieth century. In this essay I hope to identify both the Irish and Jewish patterns of immigration and discuss the view that afro-carribeans in Britain face an Irish future, while asians face a Jewich future. Furthermore I shall be considering the debate about choice and constraint in housing. From 1901 to 1986 the population of the Uk rose from 38 million to 58 million yet over the same period there was a net migration loss of over 2.3 million. Although this net negative migration balance exists, the immigration to Britain has been substantial over the periiod undeeer consideration. Two general groups of ethnic groups may be identified as having fundamentally different characteristics. The first is the labour migration group, those migrants whose migration was driven by labour shortage in the UK and emplotment shortage at home. This group includes the Irish and the Afro Carribeans and also the south asians. The second includes those populations whose migration was of refugee in origin. This group includes the Jews and African asians and the Poles, and Vietnamese. I shall first consider the Irish experience. Between 1845 and 1851 the Irish population fell from 8.5 to 6.5 million, this being the result of substantial migration of the Irish population to America and the United Kingdom and the failiure of four years of the Potatoe crop from 1845 to 1848. Irish migration to Britain has occured in two main waves, the first from 1841 to 1861 and the second from 1931 to 1961. It is the second of thesewaves that is of primary concern here. Towards the begginning of the century, Irish migration was greatest to the USA where transport was cheapest and opportunities greatest, yet the 19301s saw an upturn in Irish migration to Britain as the USA imposed immigration restrictions for would be immigrants. Following the second world war Britain experienced enormous labour shortages, especially in the construction industry. From 1951-61 net emigration from Ireland was 409 000, equivalent to one in seven of the Irish population. The primary reason for this was the demand for labour in post war Britain, and push factors such as the mechanistion of agriculture in Ireland. It is here that we can draw the first parrallels with Afro carribean migration to the UK. This too was strongly diven by