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UK population growing fast because of immigration

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The UK's Office for National Statistics has released its latest mid-year population estimate which suggests that the UK population exceeded 64 million for the first time in mid-2013.

The ONS estimates that the population grew by over 400,000 (about 0.63%) from mid-2012 to mid-2013. 47% of this rise (183,400) was caused by net immigration. The remainder of the increase was due to an increased birth rate and people living longer.

Much of the increased birth rate can also be explained by recent immigration. 25% of births in the UK over the last twelve months were to immigrant mothers. There has also been an increase in the fertility of UK-born women. Much of this increase in fertility will have been caused by higher birth rates among UK women of South Asian descent.

Population has grown by 5m since 2001

The UK's population has grown by around 5million since 2001. The population aged over 65 now stands at 11.1m, 17.4% of the population.

In the last 50 years, since 1964, the UK's population has grown by 18.7%, (over 10m people), a much faster rate of growth than any other EU country. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s (the 'baby boom' years) much of the population growth was caused by a spike in the birth rate but, since 2001, a significant proportion of the growth has been caused by net immigration.

Many of the new arrivals have come from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the European Union.

50% of increase in last decade caused by immigration

60% of the increase in the last ten years has been caused directly by immigration as the number of people arriving in the country has exceeded the number leaving as migrants.

The UK population has been growing twice as fast as in other European countries for some years. The average annual population growth rate in the UK has been between 0.6 and 0.7% for at least a decade.

In France, the population has grown at a much more modest 0.34%. The UK's faster growth rate has allowed the UK population to overtake that of France.

UK now second most populous country in EU

The UK is now the second most populous country in the EU behind Germany.

The population of mainland France (excluding its overseas territories in the Caribbean, South America and the Indian Ocean) stands at 63.6m.

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