Newly released figures show that the UK’s population rose by 419,900 in the year to June 2012. Of this rise, about 40% (165,000) was caused by immigration and the rest by a baby boom in the UK. But analysis of the figures shows that many of the babies in that baby boom were born to first generation mothers and so immigration is responsible for a considerable proportion of this rise too.
There were 813,200 births over the year. More than 25% of these babies had mothers born outside the UK.
The UK’s population rose by more than any other country in Europe over the year to June 2012. Its nearest rival was France where the population rose by 319,000.
Net immigration ‘about average’
The Office for National Statistics says that the level of net immigration was ‘about average’ for the last decade. The net immigration figure is calculated by taking the number of people who came to the UK intending to settle over a given period and subtracting the number of UK residents who leave the country permanently over the same period.
In the year to June 2012, 517,800 immigrants settled in the UK while 351,100 people left the country. Immigration has caused a population bulge among 23-33 year olds.
Most of the population growth has occurred in London and the south east. The population of London grew by over 100,000 over the year despite the fact that 50,000 people left the capital and went to live in satellite towns around the South-East.
London’s population rises by 69,000 due to Immigration
The figures show that London’s population grew by 69,000 due to net immigration over the year in question.
There are other reasons behind the population surge. More men are surviving into their mid and late 70s. 26% more men survived past their 75th birthday than did so in 2002. There are also fewer still births.
Many economists see immigration as necessary for the UK. The UK’s independent Office for Budget Responsibility issued a report last month in which it said that the UK needed 7m more immigrants within the next 50 years to replace a disappearing workforce and to provide the tax income to pay for the UK’s ageing population.
Marks & Spencer, Cobra Beer, Easy Jet, Tesco
‘Immigration has contributed to significant economic growth in the UK and has meant that much needed workers are available in a wide range of industries including specialist IT staff for the technology sector, doctors, nurses and fruit pickers on farms.
‘No country that wishes to be prosperous and successful can afford to cut itself off from talented international workers. A considerable part of the UK’s success over recent years can be attributed to its relaxed immigration regime.