Immigrantion is changing the face and funeral industry of London, for the better
Robdeep Verma was born in London, his parents, immigrants from Bangladesh set up a thriving business and he expects to live in the capital for the rest of his life as do the rest of his family. The Verma’s and many like them are irreversibly altering London’s funeral market and directors should rejoice.
London used to be viewed as a conveyor belt, a city where the young arrive to study or work, build a career and eventually move out to the countryside to raise children or retire. But a shift in London’s demographic is changing that.
London’s population is younger than in the rest of the UK, nearly two thirds (63%) of Londoners are aged under 44, compared to just over half (53%) in the UK as a whole. On the face of it this is alarming news, but in this growing population there’s opportunity.
Increasingly people are choosing to stay in London. A difficult mortgage market encouraged many to stay (half as many London properties were sold in 2010 as in 2004). The capitals’ vibrant economic climate has also persuaded many to remain, rather than to take a risk on life in the countryside, as the rest of the UK lags behind in the job market.
At the 2011 Census, London’s population was 8.17 million, making it the most populous European city and estimates predict that it will grow by 1.89m to a total of 10.11 million by 2036. London is getting younger and older, contributing 37% of England’s natural population increase (the surplus of births over deaths) between 2009 and 2010.
Robdeep’s immigrant family lie at the centre of this. His grandparents have no intention of moving out of London, this reflects a broader trend. Immigrants who settled in London in the 1960s and 1970s have established strong black and asian communities across London, there’s little appetite to move away from their families.
The biggest rise in London’s population is forecast to be in the 65 plus age group. As life expectancy continues to rise the proportion of the population past retirement age will continue to rise. By 2037 life expectancy at birth is projected to reach 84.1 years for males and 87.3 years for females, an increase of around five years since 2012.
All this of course means that there will be more funerals held in London. It’s up to those in the industry to seize the growing market, capitalise on that and see that Robdeep’s family passes through their doors.
The Economist interviewed T. Cribb and Sons, a funeral director who understands the future of London’s funeral industry, there’s plenty of lessons to be learned from London’s most successful funeral director family.