How Immigration Affects Population Size

September 01, 2009

A UK population of 70 million remains very likely within 25 years, despite the probably temporary effect of the recession. That is the conclusion of a report issued today by Migrationwatch.

The baby boom and the International Passenger Survey figures released last week have cast the spotlight on the growth in our population. The birth rate has gone up, partly due to immigration, but net immigration is now likely to be much lower for 2008 due largely to a greater outflow of EU citizens – presumably as a result of the recession. Meanwhile, the Minister for Immigration has challenged the validity of the population projections produced by the independent Office for National Statistics (ONS). He has also given the public an assurance that the population of the UK will not reach 70 million.

With immigration now accounting for nearly 70% of projected population growth, the link between the two becomes of major importance in determining the kind of country that Britain will be in decades to come. Briefing Paper {164} sets out the very careful manner in which the ONS arrives at the assumption about future immigration which is one of the key variables underlying their population projections.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch, said

“The record shows that, at 20 years range, the ONS population projections have been accurate to 2.5% for the past half century. There are bound to be uncertainties about both birth rates and immigration but it is thoroughly irresponsible to dismiss projections that have been carefully arrived at. At a minimum, they demonstrate what is very likely to happen in the absence of a major change in immigration policy. Such changes to our society are, in practice, irreversible as we have already seen.

The government’s own survey, also released last week, showed that 80% of the public want to see immigration reduced, 53% 'by a lot'. The government are in denial about the impact of their failure to control immigration on the whole nature of our society. They must now respond to intense public concern with a firm undertaking to take the measures necessary to limit the growth in our population rather than yet more attempts at spin.”

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