Migration to account for most of UK population rise

The population in the UK is expected to grow at the fastest rate of any EU country by 2029, suggests ONS forecast. Immigration is expected to make up the majority of the population growth in that time.

Population growth in the UK
International migration will account for more than half the projected population growth in the UK over the next 12 years, with the total set to hit 70 million in 2029 – up from 65.6 million last year.

Immigration to the UK

According to the latest forecast from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the next decade will see 5.2 million international migrants arrive in Britain on a long-term or permanent basis – most settling in England – while 3.2 million Britons will emigrate.The report, which does not take into account the possible effects of Brexit, says that, apart from the direct impact of international migration on the population total, it will also have an indirect effect, with migrant women more likely to have more babies than indigenous women. On the other side of the coin, women emigrating before they have children will decrease the number of births.Once these indirect factors are taken into account, the ONS estimates that international migration will account for 77 per cent of the population growth between 2016-41. “Because migrants are concentrated at young adult ages, the impact of migration on the projected number of women of child-bearing age is especially important over this period,” said the report

Population in England expected to grow fastest

Andrew Nash, from the ONS Population Projections Unit, said, “Over the period between mid-2016 and mid-2026 the population of the UK is projected to grow from 65.6 million to 69.2 million, reaching 70 million by mid-2029. England is projected to grow more quickly than the other UK nations.“Over that period, 54 per cent of growth is projected to result directly from net international migration. The other 46 per cent is because there will be more births than deaths.“These projections suggest slower growth than the previous projections (in 2014). This is because of lower assumptions about future levels of fertility and international migration, and an assumption of a slower rate of increase in life expectancy.”In the immediate future, the ONS predicted a continuing fall in net migration with the total of 161,000 in 2020 the lowest since the turn of the century but still well above the Conservative government’s pledge to bring the tally down to “the tens of thousands”. The net migration total last year was 335,000 and is expected to amount to 246,000 this year.
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Over the next decade, England’s population is projected to grow 5.9 per cent while 4.2 per cent growth is forecast for Northern Ireland. Scotland’s figure is 3.2 per cent and Wales’s is 3.1 per cent.

Population growth above EU average

The report also reveals that the population increase in the UK is running well above the EU average. Projected UK growth between 2015-40 is estimated at 16 per cent compared to ten per cent in France and four per cent in Germany, while Italy’s population is projected to see a marginal decline.The projected increase in the population poses obvious challenges over the provision of additional infrastructure and services. Robin Maynard, director of the Population Matters campaign group, said, “We are still seeing population growth to 70 million by 2029 and the longer-term projections are quite alarming.“The government should have a sustainable population policy. There is real lack of leadership to address these problems.”For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory