30/09/2004

UK population to pass 60 million next year

The UK population is expected to pass the 60 million mark next year, and top 65 million by 2031, according to new figures released today.

The projections for the UK and its constituent countries, made by the Government Actuary, are based on the estimated population at the middle of 2003 which stood at 59.6 million.

The total population increase of 6.1 million by 2031 equates to an average annual rate of growth of 0.35% - longer-term projections suggest the population will peak around 2050 at nearly 67 million and then very gradually start to fall.

Of the estimated 6.1 million increase between 2003 and 2031, some 2.5 million (41%) is natural increase (more births than deaths) while the remaining 3.6 million (59%) is "the assumed total number of net migrants".

The number of children aged under 16 is expected to fall by 5.9% from 11.7 million in 2003 to 11 million in 2015 and then to rise slowly until the late 2020s, the government said.

The number of people of working age is projected to rise from 36.8 million in 2003 to 37.8 million in 2010.

The population will gradually become older with the average age expected to rise from 39.4 years in 2003 to 43.6 years in 2031. Longer-term projections suggest the average age will reach 45 years around 2050, and continue to rise slightly thereafter, according to the study.

The population of Scotland is projected to decline from 2005, while the populations of Wales and Northern Ireland are projected to peak in the early 2030s and then start to fall.

(gmcg/mb)

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