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UK population hits record 61-million high

28 August 2009

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The UK population has topped 61 million for the first time, the Office for National Statistics said.

The population increased by a record amount to 61.4 million – with an extra 408,000 people living here in 2008.

A recession-fed baby boom has been cited for the rise, with fertility rates also increasing to their highest numbers in a generation.

The increase, which is more than twice that of 2001 when the population rose by 201,000, is the highest since modern records began in 1972.

The news has prompted a race among statisticians to confirm it is the biggest population increase in history.

Natural population changes caused by shifts in birth and deaths have, for the first time in nearly a decade, overtaken immigration as the biggest factor affecting population growth.

In the midst of the recession, the flood of Eastern European immigrants – who flocked here after 2004’s EU expansion – has slowed significantly.

In the year to December last year, arrivals from the A8 countries of Eastern Europe fell by more than a quarter – 28% – from 109,000 to 79,000.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

UK National Statistics