UK Population 'To Hit 70 Million By 2031'

The UK population is projected to increase by 4.4 million to reach 65 million by 2016, according to the latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics.

The increase is equivalent to an average annual rate of growth of 0.7% and the ONS says that if past trends continue, the population will continue to grow, reaching 71 million by 2031.

The growth is attributed to natural increase - more births taking place than deaths - and forecasts for increased immigration.

The proportion of people aged 65 and over in the UK is projected to increase from 16% in 2006 to 22% by 2031.

As a result, the ONS said, there would be a fall in demographic support ratios. In 2006, there were 3.3 people of working age for every person of state pensionable age, but this is projected to fall to 2.9 by 2031.

The ONS found that trends differed across the UK. The population of England is projected to increase by 8% by 2016, while the projection for Northern Ireland is 7% and 5% in Wales.

The projected increase for Scotland, where fertility and life expectancy levels are assumed to remain lower than in the rest of the UK, is 3%.


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