Highest UK population growth ever
July 16th 2012
Today, Population Matters called for action to stop Britain becoming ever more crowded and unsustainable.
Simon Ross, chief executive of Population Matters, commented “England faces unsustainable pressure on housing, roads and public transport and green spaces. We are regularly told that food and energy security are becoming ever more precarious and that our carbon emissions are too high. And we face regular drought fears in the south east and serious air pollution in London.
The response from many is often to increase the supply – to demand more building, more roads and more infrastructure. We are being pushed into difficult and unpalatable decisions on such issues as greenfield development, nuclear, coal power stations, fracking, wind farms, GM technology and airports by the relentless pressure of an ever larger population. What we need instead to do is limit the demand – to say that prospects for our prosperity and quality of life in Britain does not improve with ever more people. While population growth is not just a matter that affects the UK, we should give an example to other countries by seeking to limit our numbers.”
England is Europe’s most densely populated country. Population Matters believes that we need policies that will reduce this unsustainable growth rate in the UK population. That means:
• making sex education, sexual health and family planning a public investment priority
• making the environmental case to encourage people to have smaller families
• removing subsidies from larger families except in cases of proven need, and
• doing all we can to reduce immigration to the level of emigration – around 250,000 a year.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the 2011 Census finds that the population of England and Wales has reached 56.1 million, up by 3.7 million or 7.1% from the 52.4 million in the 2001 Census. The population in England was 53 million on 27 March 2011 when the Census was taken, about 400,000 more than official estimates. In Wales the population was 3.1 million.
The latest rise is the largest growth over a ten year period since records began in 1801 and compares with a rise in population of just 1.6 million or 3% between 1991 and 2001.
All regions saw population growth between 2001 and 2011, with the highest growth in London, the East of England and the East Midlands. In terms of percentage increases, the local authorities with the largest growth in population were Tower Hamlets and Newham in London. Manchester showed the third highest percentage growth in population since 2001.
Around 55% of the 3.7m increase was attributed to net migration, i.e. the level of immigration less the level of emigration.
In 2011, there were 3.5 million children under five in England and Wales, 406,000 more than in 2001.
The Census showed that the population for England and Wales was greater by just over 500,000 than official estimates rolled forward from 2001.
The average population density for England and Wales was 371 people per square kilometre. This compares with France (146), Germany (197), Italy (185) and Spain (89).