Census data ‘only part of the story’ when it comes to immigration in Boston

Ziedonis Barbaks says Boston's community can become stronger with greater integration. He is pictured with son Emils (4).

Ziedonis Barbaks says Boston's community can become stronger with greater integration. He is pictured with son Emils (4).

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A big jump in Boston’s foreign-born population in the last decade was spelled out in Census figures – with the number now at 12.1 per cent.

The latest data from the 2011 census shows almost 10,000 non UK-born residents are living here – compared to fewer than 1,500 in 2001.

But a leading member of the migrant community says the figures only tell part of the story – and more is needed to be done to cope with the numbers moving to the area.

Latvian Ziedonis Barbaks is a businessman and chairman of the Latvian Community of Boston, a group which organises events in the town with the aim of bringing cultures together.

He said: “We don’t think there is enough information from all sides about the different cultures here as this will help people integrate further.

“Some people think the worst about migrant communities when they hear something bad but, like we say, in every country and every part of the world there is good and bad.”

On the population increase, he said: “I think it’s becoming a problem with too many people and not enough doctors, police and other resources. Now we are getting problems with housing as the demand is so high.”

He added: “But more people working here equals more paying their taxes, which is a positive.”

The 2011 census shows as a whole, the population of Boston has risen by 15.2 per cent – twice the national rate.

Some 83.9 per cent in the borough now describe themselves as ‘white, British’.

Boston borough now has 3,000 Polish residents – more than anywhere outside of the south east – and was held up in the national press as an example of rapid population growth.

Other Census information shows a big drop in the number ofBostonians describing themselves as Christian, with the figure falling from 80.2 per cent in 2001 to 71.1 per cent in 2011.

The number of people with a mortgage dropped from 35.6 per cent to 30 per cent.