The UK population has grown by more than three million in the past 10 years, census results are expected to show this week, according to a report in the Telegraph.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will publish the first findings from its once-a-decade national headcount, based on a survey of all 25 million households.
Experts believe it will show that the population rose to more than 62 million last year, from 58.8 million at the time of the last census in 2001.
The 2011 census will reveal the full impact of Labour’s immigration policy during the party’s 13 years in power, including the decision to allow Poles and other eastern Europeans free access to the UK’s labour market when the European Union expanded in 2004.
Tomorrow’s first published findings of the £480 million survey, held on March 27 last year, will include age and gender breakdowns of the population, and statistics by council area, as well as the headline total. It will be followed later in the year by detailed breakdowns according to ethnicity, nationality and religion.
An annual population estimate, also compiled by the ONS but based on a smaller survey, put the UK population at 62.3 million in mid-2010.
David Coleman, professor of demographics at Oxford University, said the census total was likely to be close to this figure.
“An increase of about three million seems about right and it would be encouraging if the estimates coincide with the census,” he said.
“But it is still possible that both sets of figures might be wrong. That uncertainty will remain unless the census is replaced by a population register as it has been in the Netherlands, most of the Scandinavian countries and elsewhere.”
The UK’s foreign-born population increased from 3.8 million in 1993 to more than 7 million last year, according to the ONS’s Labour Force Survey, with the highest growth taking place between 2005 and 2006, after EU enlargement.
Net migration accounted for 48 per cent of UK population growth, according to ONS data, with the rest due to rising birth rates and longer life expectancy.
However, immigration has also had a major impact on births with one in four new babies now born to foreign-born mothers, compared with only 15 per cent of new births a decade ago.
Civic leaders will scrutinise tomorrow’s figures closely after complaints that the 2001 census grossly under-counted the number of people in some areas, particularly inner cities.
One local authority has already said it is “sceptical” the 2011 figures will be accurate and warned it is ready to bring legal action if necessary.
Melvyn Caplan, a councillor responsible for overseeing finances at Westminster City Council, said: “We remain sceptical that the 2011 Census will accurately count our population.
“In 2001, the census reduced our population by around 26 per cent or 63,318 people. This could have resulted in £50 million less funding for services over 10 years if we had not challenged the results.
“We are waiting for the results with some trepidation and will challenge them if they fail to reflect our true population.” Source: The Telegraph.
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