Monday, July 12, 2010

The population of Britain could reach nearly 80 million by the middle of this century

Higher levels of immigration, higher birth rates and people living longer would push the total to 78.8 million by 2051, academics found. The increase - of nearly 20 million since 2001 - would be likely to make Britain the largest country in Europe. The research, by academics at the University of Leeds, also predicts major changes to the ethnic mix of the British population. They found ethnic minorities would make up one in five of the population by mid century, up from fewer than one in ten a decade ago. The study predicts an increase in the number of Indians - nearly doubling from 1,432,000 to 2,672,000. There will also be sharp rises in numbers from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Around 70% of the current population increase is due to immigration - through direct arrivals or children born to them. The current British population of 61,398,000 is an increase of three million since 1997. But even that count may be too low because no one can estimate how many migrants have come into the country illegally.

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