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Brown majority in British pockets

London, Feb. 13 (PTI): For the first time in British history, Asians and Blacks have outnumbered Whites in two areas of Britain, East London borough and Brent, according to the 2001 census released today.

According to data from the survey said the overall ethnic minority population of England and Wales rose from six per cent in 1991 to nine per cent in 2001.

Whites make up 39.4 per cent of the people living in the East London borough of Newham and 45.3 per cent in Gujarati-dominated northwest of the capital.

Nearly 72 per cent of people gave their religion as Christian (37 million). Islam emerged as the second largest faith with 1,547,000 followers. Hindus, numbering 552,000 came third. Sikhs accounted for 329,000, Jews 260,000 and Buddhists 144,000. The survey also showed a significant shift away from traditional married life.

“In previous censuses, when you knocked on a door you were likely to find a married couple behind it,” said John Pullinger of the Office for National Statistics in reference to figures for households.

“In this census, for the first time you don’t. In 1981, 64 per cent of the population were married couples and in 1991 it was 55 per cent. Now it is 45 per cent.”

The number of divorced people rose from 26.3 per cent in 1991 to 30.1 per cent, while cohabiting couples made up one in ten of the population — double the number a decade ago. The population of single parent families increased from 5.2 per cent to 6 per cent over the last 10 years.

Anthem competition

Britons weary of singing “god save the queen” after 263 years will be able to put forward their ideas for a snappier national anthem, thanks to a BBC competition that starts tomorrow.

“We want a new poem for Britain,” said the host of Essential Poems on BBC Television.

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