Migrants to be majority of population rise

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The Independent Online

More than half the population increase in the next 20 years will be from immigrants rather than from people born in Britain, according to the latest government projections.

More than half the population increase in the next 20 years will be from immigrants rather than from people born in Britain, according to the latest government projections.

A report, Population Trends, published yesterday by the Office of National Statistics, shows that just over half the 4.4 million increase in the UK population predicted between 1998 and 2021 will be from inward migration, with the remainder being due to a higher number of births than deaths.

By 2028, the number of deaths from natural causes is forecast to exceed the number of births for the first time since records began. The British population, however, will continue to rise until 2036 because of inward migration, reaching a peak of 65 million. In 2036 the number of deaths will be greater than the number of immigrants and births combined and the population will start to decline.

"In 1998 the net inward migration to the United Kingdom rose sharply to 178,000, the highest on record," said Chris Shaw, of the Government's Actuary's department, who wrote the report. "The projections of 95,000 a year coming to live in the UK are based on the international passenger survey,asylum-seekers, those who enter as short-term visitors and stay for a year or longer and net migration with the Irish Republic," he said.

The effects of the ageing population will be much more apparent within 10 years, the researchers said, because by 2008 the number of pensioners will exceed the number of children for the first time. At the moment there are 650 pensioners and children dependent on every 1,000 working people. Most of these are children. By 2036 this will rise to 700 per 1,000 working people, comprising 400 pensioners and 300 children. "This will lead to different demands on different services, which will alter society considerably," Mr Shaw said.

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