UK has fastest growing population in Europe
Britain’s population is growing faster than any other country’s in Europe fuelled by the biggest surge in births for 40 years, official ONS figures disclosed.
More babies were born in the UK in 2011-12 than any year since 1972, the ONS says.
In all, 813,200 UK births were recorded in the year, contributing to population growth that was, in absolute terms, the highest in the EU. UK population grew by 419,900 to 63.7 million between June 2011 and June 2012, according to ONS estimates.
The UK remains the third-most populous EU member state, behind Germany and France. France’s population grew to 65,480,500 over the same period while Germany’s went up to 80,399,300, says the ONS.
There has been a lot of political debate about whether our immigration figures are good enough, but we’re pretty good at counting births and dead bodies, and we saw the largest number of births in one year since 1972. We are in the midst of a real baby boom.
A full quarter of all that increase in the population happened in London. Together London & SE and east England accounted for 53% of growth across the UK in the year while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland jointly accounted for 8%.
London recorded net international migration of 69,000 – the highest of all regions. The capital also recorded 86,000 more births than deaths in the past year, while Scotland notched up 4,200 more births than deaths.
Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said: “The medium to long-term benefits are substantial. “The people who are being born now or the immigrants who are coming here now will help pay for our pensions and public services in the future.”
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives said that the surging birth rate – particularly among older mothers – meant there was now a national shortage of manpower in maternity wards.
Economists and commentators said that the recession itself might have actively encouraged couples to have a second or third child rather than the wife going back to work.