Affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, London’s population is set to decline for the first time in 30 years, a report by accountancy firm PwC revealed. With residents struggling to survive amid constant economic crisis resulting mass exodus to other locations, the report stated that population of people living in the British capital could fall by more than 300,000 from 9 million in 2020 to 8.7 million in 2021. It would mark the city’s first annual drop in population since 1988.
One of the major drivers responsible for population drop is the lockdown due to the coronavirus. The lockdown prompted London-ers to rethink their living situation and a boom in work from home as it resulted in migration outside the city. In addendum, decreasing job opportunities and lower international migration in the city, in the aftermath of Brexit and COVID-19 also played a part.
According to the PwC forecasts, Net EU migration to the UK has fallen since Brexit vote in 2016 and could turn negative in 2021, implying that more people could exit the UK than enter from the European Union.
Additionally, the report stated that London could record a baby bust in 2021, with the annual birth rate dipping to the lowest level since records began more than a century ago. The PwD prediction was substantiated by a survey conducted in August 2020 which stated that 4.5 per cent of London residents would move out within 12 months.
The forecast comes as London has emerged as the new coronavirus hotspot in the UK. While the country reported 2,836,801 cases till now, London, earlier on December 24 was reported to have the highest percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the country. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock also warned that the country’s COVID variant was spreading at a “dangerous rate” and urged people to stay at home in the affected areas.