By macleans.ca - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 0 Comments
It hardly fits the city’s tolerant, multicultural vision, but white Britons are now the minority in London
The most startling bit of data buried in last December’s U.K. census was the sharp decline of the white British population in London. Over the past decade, it turns out, the British capital has seen roughly 620,000 white natives move out. That’s like the entire population of Hamilton up and leaving over the course of 10 years. As a consequence, white Britons now make up a minority of the city’s residents, at just 45 per cent, compared to 60 per cent in 2001.
It’s a disconcerting trend, smacking as it does of “white flight,” the mid-to-late 20th-century American population shift that saw much of that country’s white middle class abandoning crime-ridden city centres for leafier, more racially homogenized suburbs. That shift left many American cities divided along racial and class lines, with some commentators blaming it for leaving many downtown cores (Detroit’s, for instance, or Cleveland’s) husks of their former selves.
But in Britain, where racist attitudes have seen a sharp decline, the trend seems particularly out of step—especially in a multicultural capital like London. Interestingly, the census also revealed that the nation’s mixed-race population has risen to 12 million and mostly resides in London. So the rather awkward questions left to the population experts are: who are these fleeing white British, where have they gone, and why are they leaving?
By David Agren - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 9:06 AM - 0 Comments
A community that left Manitoba a century ago is eyeing Russia
Peter Friesen talks as if he’s seen the promised land. A Mennonite farmer and father of 13 in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state, his blue eyes brighten as he paints a picture of a place with pleasant people, raging rivers and vast tracts of virgin land ideal for agriculture. “We saw really good land with lots of water,” Friesen recalled, while seated in the booth of a Mennonite pizzeria that sells pies smothered with the prized local product, a tangy cheese known as queso menonita.
Friesen isn’t talking about paradise. He’s talking about Russia, where his Mennonite ancestors once worked the land before departing for the Canadian Prairies and then the high plains of northern Mexico. Friesen and 10 Mennonites recently travelled to Russia to explore a possible relocation from Chihuahua to the prairie of Tatarstan—900 km east of Moscow and similar to Manitoba with its cold winters, hot summers and flat prairie. The possible relocation is not a nostalgic return to his roots, but rather a resolution for the most pressing problems Mexican Mennonites face: shortages of land and water. “We could cultivate 10 times more than we have here,” says Enrique Voth Penner, who also went to Russia. Continue…
By Patricia Treble - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM - 8 Comments
With the economy in a tailspin, the Irish are leaving the Emerald Isle at the rate of 1,000 a week
With their economy in a tailspin and bad financial news piling up, the Irish people are voting with their feet—they’re leaving the Emerald Isle at the rate of 1,000 a week. Last Thursday, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published a grim forecast: net outward migration will reach 100,000 in the two years ending in April 2012.
Packing up and leaving in dire times is nothing new for Ireland. In the 1800s, millions fled the island’s famines and disease for the chance of a better life in countries such as Canada, the United States and Australia. Even recently, there have been waves of emigration. The last time the emigration numbers were as high as they are now was in 1989, when 44,000 fled the economically depressed nation. Soon after, Ireland cut taxes, attracted massive foreign investment and transformed itself into a Celtic Tiger. Property prices soared along with personal wealth.
Unfortunately, that super-quick growth was unsustainable, and with the worldwide economic downturn, Ireland’s financial and property sectors imploded, dragging down the entire economy. After promising to bail out the banks, the government saw its deficit reach a dizzying 31.5 per cent of GDP in 2010. Ireland needed a $110-billion bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in November, and it outlined $20 billion of draconian budget cuts over the next four years.
While the economy will grow this year by an anemic 1.5 per cent, the export-led expansion won’t generate enough jobs. For that, the economy needs consumer consumption to improve. And the ESRI is gloomily forecasting the Irish will keep their wallets firmly shut: “Ongoing uncertainty with respect to job stability, wages and taxation are likely to act against any rebound in consumption spending.”