The true impact of immigration on UK population growth


August 23, 2018

New calculations from Migration Watch UK have demonstrated that about 82% of the UK population increase between 2001 and 2016 was the result of the arrival of migrants, their children and their subsequent children born in the UK.

The ONS annual mid-year population estimates state the proportion of annual growth due to net migration and to natural increase (births minus deaths). However, they do not go further and attempt to attribute a proportion of the natural increase to immigrants.

In the attached paper (MW452 - Impact of immigration on UK population growth), Migration Watch UK has adjusted the ONS calculation of the immigration contribution to past population growth to take into account the contribution to annual population growth made by the annual births of children of immigrants.

The grandchildren and great grandchildren of immigrants have not been included in these calculations. Such data are unavailable for the UK. In any case, most people would assume that such persons should be regarded as members of the indigenous community.

Despite frequent media coverage of pressures on school places, the NHS, transport infrastructure, housing and the green belt, it is remarkable how seldom people are willing to point towards population growth as a principal factor driving these problems.

Accordingly, the paper shines a light on this elephant in the room and demonstrates that it is simply not possible to discuss the state of our public services without considering immigration as a major factor.

Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

The government have been remarkably coy about the true impact of immigration on our public services over the past sixteen years. This has meant that very few people realise that over 80% of our population increase in recent years has been due to immigration. The government must now get serious about reducing numbers. Immigration on the current scale is rapidly changing the size and nature of our society.

Note to editors

  1. The new calculations estimate that net arrivals of migrants accounted for 3.1 million - or 47% - of the total UK population increase of 6.6 million between 2001 and 2016.
  2. They also find that the natural increase of migrants accounted for 2.3 million - 35% - of the total population increase of 6.6 million between 2001 and 2016.
  3. It is estimated that, together, they accounted for 5.4 million - or 82% - of the total population increase of 6.6 million between 2001 and 2016.
  4. In mid-2017, the UK population stood at a record level of just over 66 million (see the latest ONS mid-year population estimates, published in June 2018).


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