Friday 3 March 2017 16.32 GMT
The UK’s population will pass 70 million in less than a decade, according to official projections, as demographers say the number of people living in the country is increasing “steadily” due to a combination of natural growth, ageing and the indirect impact of the expansion of the European Union.
Natural growth – more births than deaths – and net migration helped push the estimated UK population to a record 65.1 million in 2015, a rise of more than half a million on the previous year.
In an overview of the latest trends published on Friday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said growth slowed during the 1970s after the “baby boom” of the previous decade, before picking up again in the late 1980s.
Recent uplifts have “generally coincided with an increase in the number of countries holding EU membership”, the report added.
A growing proportion of UK inhabitants are aged at least 65, with the percentage in this age group rising from 14.1% in 1975 to 17.8% in 2015. Over the same period, the proportion of children aged 15 and younger has declined from over 24% to less than 20%.
It is forecast that a fifth (20.2%) of the population will be aged 65 and over in 2025, rising to a quarter (24.6%) in 2045.
Natural change has had an impact on the number of occupants. Since 1955, the number of births in the UK has been higher than the number of deaths in every year except 1976.
The rise in the population since the 1990s has also been attributed to the growth of net migration – the number of people arriving to live in the UK minus the number departing.