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United Kingdom population sees biggest increase in 70 years

22 Juin 2017

The population of the United Kingdom has seen its sharpest annual increase in almost 70 years, official figures have revealed.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an estimated 65,648,000 people were living in the country at the end of June a year ago.

The ONS noted they recorded a rise in births and fewer deaths in the year to June 2016, but said the main driver of population growth is still net migration, which represented 62.4 per cent of the total increase. Net global migration continued to be the main driver, but there was also an increase in births and fewer deaths than past year.

Natural change - the number of births minus the number of deaths - of 193,000 accounted for just over a third (35.8%) of the overall increase.

Mr. Wood and Mr. Palmer urged ministers to get better at deporting people who should not be in the United Kingdom, and called for officials to start using National Insurance numbers to estimate immigration, noting NI numbers showed an extra 827,000 foreign citizen registrations in 2015 whilst official figures put the number of newcomers to Britain at 550,000.

In addition to the direct impact of migration on the size of the population, current and past worldwide migration also has indirect effects on the size of the population as it changes the numbers of births and deaths in the United Kingdom, statisticians said.

It is also the first time that population in England has exceeded 55 million for the first time.

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Neil Park, head of population estimates unit at the ONS, said: "The population of the United Kingdom continued to grow in the year to mid-2016 at a similar rate to that seen over recent years. Net global migration continued to be the main driver, but there was also an increase in births and fewer deaths than previous year".

In the 11 years between mid-2005 and mid-2016, the population of the United Kingdom increased by just over five million people.

This rise in the over-65s of 0.1 percentage points over the year indicated the rapid ageing of the population seen between 2009 and 2015 "may be temporarily slowing", ONS said, as relatively smaller cohorts turn age 65.

'Population growth was not evenly distributed however, with London's growth rate more than twice that in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the three northern English regions'.

Eight of the 14 authorities where population went up by 2% or higher were in London.

Statisticians also reported that the United Kingdom population continues to age but at a slower rate than in recent years.

United Kingdom population sees biggest increase in 70 years