Migration will be motivated by the economic effects of the covid pandemic and the rise in home work
London’s population, motivated by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and people reassessing where they live during the crisis, will decrease for the first time in more than 30 years, a study said.
Accounting company PwC said the number of people living in the city will drop to 8.7 million by more than 300,000 this year, from a record high of nearly 9 million in 2020. That would bring an end to growth for decades and represent the first annual decrease since 1988.
The prediction comes as urban residents during the lockdown reconsider their housing situation and a boom during the pandemic in home-based businesses encourages an increasing number of people to consider moving.
Other factors include a smaller number of graduates moving to London, less work prospects in the capital and, as a result of the pandemic and Brexit, lower foreign migration to the region. According to PwC estimates, net inward migration from the EU to the UK as a whole has dropped since the Brexit vote in 2016 and could turn negative in 2021 for the first time since the early 1990s – suggesting more people are leaving the UK for the EU than are coming from it.
The accounting firm also said that in 2021, the UK could experience a “baby bust” with the annual birth rate dropping to its lowest level since records started more than a century ago.
While it will be some time before official population figures are released, PwC said there are early indications that this century is the first time London is on track to shrink.
4.5 percent of Londoners – or 416,000 people – said they would probably move out of the city over the next 12 months, according to an August 2020 London Assembly poll.
Official figures suggest that unemployment in the United Kingdom As the world grapples with its worst recession in 300 years, it is growing fastest in London districts. Among Europe’s largest capitals, the number of work vacancies dropped the most.
Economists say London’s employment woes reflect the density of the city and traditional job opportunities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic in normal times – such as hospitality, leisure, retail and travel.
Londoners are also more likely to work from home than anywhere else in the United Kingdom, owing to a higher proportion of technical, IT, and finance workers in the Region, which means that if remote work practices continue after the crisis, more people will migrate to other parts of the world.
A drop in the population of London would mean a return to the years in the mid-20th century, when the population of London plummeted after World War II as people moved away from the bombed and blitzed city for life in the greener Home Counties or other parts of the country, from 8.6 million in 1939 to 6.8 million in the 1980s.
In the late 1980s, population growth returned, fueled by London’s growth as a global financial centre, epitomized by Canary Wharf’s regeneration in the Docklands of London.
International migration helped the population reach its pre-war peak by 2015 in a reversal of the mid-20th century pattern, which was on course to reach the 10 million mark.
PwC economist Hannah Audino said that a sustained decrease in the London population would have far-reaching effects for the capital economy, house prices and the transport network, but that it was too early to tell for sure whether Covid and Brexit would have a long-term effect.
It depends on the degree to which remote work in the long term really becomes the new standard.
The office atmosphere is really missing by a lot of people. Once the social distancing steps are history, maybe people can return to city life more in five to 10 years, she said.
Sadiq Khan’s spokesman said London’s mayor is optimistic the city will emerge stronger from the Covid crisis. The pandemic has had a profound impact on London and the people of London, but Sadiq is optimistic that the capital will rebound to become healthier, greener and fairer, with stable neighbourhoods, better well-being and improved health.