London, Oct 21 (UNI) The number of people living in the United Kingdom is likely to exceed 77 million by the middle of the century, courtesy rising immigration and higher birth rate among migrant families.
Rising immigration, a higher birth rate among migrant families and longer lifespans are on course to lift the population by at least 15 million by 2051, from last year's 60 million total. There are fears it could even hit 77 million, reported Telegraph.
The increase will be the equivalent of building two new cities the size of London. It will place enormous demands on housing, transport and public services, and will bring a dramatic change to the nation's ethnic mix, it said.
''The new official projection was likely to show the UK's population reaching 69 million in 2031 and 75 million in 2051,'' said David Coleman, Professor of demography at Oxford University. .
''The non-white population was on course to grow from 9 per cent at last census in 2001 to 29 per cent in 2051,'' informed Prof Coleman to the House of Lords Economic committee in a memo.
The official statisticians had raised their long-term estimate for annual net migration to the UK from 145,000 to 190,000 in a report the last month.There has been steady influx from people from EU countries since 2004 after expansion.
A 'baby boom' among immigrant women has also led to revision of estimates for the birth rate of the entire population, claimed the stataticians.
Women are now expected to have, on average, 1.84 babies each compared with an expectation of only 1.74 two years ago.
Foreign-born women living in the UK have, on average, 2.2 children. Pakistani-born women living here have an average of 4.7, whereas British-born women have only 1.6. Last year, 22 per cent of UK births were to foreign-born women.
''The impact of an additional 15 million people would obviously be considerable: economic, environmental, social and ethnic,'' concluded Mr Coleman to the peers.