The population of the UK shot up by half a million – 0.8% – in the 12 months of last year. Record levels of immigration were the driving factor, as birth rates and “natural growth” fell.
The population of the United Kingdom on the 30th of June 2015 is estimated to be 65,110,000.
Official figures from Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the massive 513,000 rise in the number of people living in Britain. The ONS, however, insisted the growth was quite normal and similar to the annual average increase over the last decade.
The half a million extra people in the UK was largely the result of a record 335,000 increase in net migration to Britain.
An increase in the number of people arriving (up 53,700) and a smaller decrease in those leaving the UK (down 22,300) both contributed to the steep increase in the net migration figure.
“Natural growth” – births minus deaths – was at its lowest since 2006, falling to 171,100. The birth rate was down 1,900 and a 52,000 increase in the number of deaths has contributed to this slower “natural growth”.
The population is also rapidly ageing. A huge 17.8 per cent of the population is now aged 65 and over and 2.3 per cent is more than 85 years old.
England’s population grew most quickly of the four UK countries over the year, while Wales had the slowest growth.
Growth was greatest in southern and eastern England. London had the highest population growth, increasing by 1.58 per cent.
London was also the destination of 38 per cent of international migrants arriving in England and Wales, contributing to it having the highest net international migration of all regions at 133,900 – up by 26,500 from last year.
The lowest regional population increases in the year were seen in the north east of England and Wales, both growing by 0.23 per cent.
No region of England or Wales experienced a population decrease.