Factcheck: One million more migrants expected to come to London by 2030

Published: 20th Oct 2014

"British politicians need to be bolder in confronting some of the myths about immigration". So said the Times (£) last week in a leader article calling for politicians to confront 'populist' denials of the benefits of immigration.

Unfortunately the article itself wasn't entirely on the right side of the facts:

"When people hear predictions, exaggerated though they no doubt are, of one million extra migrants in London by 2030, as Migration Watch is claiming, they feel fearful."

Whether or not people feel fearful, it's not because of an 'exaggeration' as the Times claims, and the figures don't come from Migration Watch. Projections about migrants coming to London or to the rest of the UK actually come from the Office for National Statistics.

The figures are an honest attempt to measure something very difficult to predict. Bearing in mind the considerable uncertainty, the ONS expects London's population to grow by about 1.6 million between now and 2030, almost hitting 10.7 million in total that year.

Within that 1.6 million change, a lot is going on. According to the forecasts, 1.1 million more migrants from abroad are expected to enter London than leave. Meanwhile about 1.5 million more people will be in London as a result of natural change (births minus deaths) - some of the births will be to migrant parents as well. But at the same time, 1.05 million more people will move out of London to the rest of the UK than do the reverse.

It's important to note that these projections don't themselves prove there may be 1.1 million extra migrants in London by 2030 anyway. Some of those migrants may move out of London to the rest of the UK - indeed they may be among the 1.05 million projected to do so. The ONS told Full Fact however that there isn't readily available data to suggest how many might take this path.

We've asked the Times to issue a correction to its original piece and will update when we hear back.

Update (25/11/2014)

The Times appended a letter from Migration Watch Chairman Sir Andrew Green to its online article following our contact, and considers the matter resolved. We're now taking up the matter with the press regulator Ipso to try and secure a correction.



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