Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

London's baby boom

The ongoing baby boom in London is creating challenges for government whose capacity has been declining.

The changing face of London
LONDON imports the young and exports the old, the theory goes — or went. For decades people have come to the capital to go to university or work, moving out again when their children require more space or education or when they retire. But a startling demographic change has drastically slowed the conveyor belt.

Births in the capital each year have soared by 25% since 2002…

Many parents are now staying put, thanks to a sticky mortgage market that makes it hard for buyers to get a loan and a sticky labour market that makes it hard for anyone to be sure of a job…

This expansion has coincided with the hardest squeeze on government finances in almost a century. So it is small wonder that city planners are scratching their heads over how to deliver services such as education and health care, and wondering where on earth, given London’s long-running housing crisis, so many extra people are to live…

How permanent are these new demographic trends? Will birth rates turn down again as the daughters of immigrants adopt British ways? Will foreigners find greener economic fields elsewhere? Will native Londoners? Flyers touting emigration services are beginning to appear in parts of town.

It’s a frightening time for those planning education or health care or—worst of all—housing…

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