Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK with a population of 1,074,300 in the 2011 census. The city has a rich industrial heritage and was at the forefront of technological innovation during the Industrial Revolution. Today, Birmingham has the second largest urban economy in the UK and has seen significant post-industrial redevelopment and economic diversification. The city has a diverse population, with 22.2% of the population born outside the UK in 2011 and 41.9% of residents coming from non-White ethnic groups. The city also has a relatively youthful population, with 45.6% of residents under the age of 30, a factor attributed to the presence of six universities in the city. The population of the city continues to grow, predominantly through rising birth rates and internal and international migration.
Birmingham has been a significant dispersal location since the initiation of dispersals following The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The total number of asylum seekers supported in the city has fallen from 3,927 at the end of 2003 to 848 at the end of 2012. The city’s percentage share of all those asylum seekers supported in the UK has remained relatively stable in that time at around 4.3% of the national total. Asylum seekers accommodated in the city were formerly housed in a mixture of social housing and private housing association accommodation under a contract between the West Midlands Consortium and the UK Border Agency. In 2011 Birmingham City Council chose not to renew this Consortium contract and since then asylum seekers have been accommodated by private housing providers in the city.