As the world awaits its seventh billionth baby next week, the population of the UK is on course to reach 70 million over the next 16 years, official figures predict.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it was set to rise from 62.3 million in 2010 to 67.2 million by 2020 and 73.2 million by 2035.
It says just over two-thirds of the projected increase from 2010 to 2035 is either directly or indirectly due to EU and non-EU migration.
This will be due to people entering the UK, and also their future offspring.
The ONS statistics say this change may be 47% directly attributable to future migration and a further 21% indirectly due to future migrants’ children being born in the country.
The effect of immigration is also expected to have an increasing impact.
Some 2.1 million (44%) of the increase over the next 10 years could be down to net migration, the ONS added.
The remaining 2.8 million (56%) is a projected natural increase as a result of births outstripping deaths.
Of the 10.9 million rise by 2035, 5.1 million (47%) is expected through migration and 5.8 million (53%) from natural increase.
Projections for net immigration have been revised up by 20,000 to 200,000 a year since the last estimates two years ago.
The ONS predicts 15,500 of this increase would be in England, 5,500 in Scotland and 500 fewer in both Wales and Northern Ireland.
The ONS report said: “The 2010-based projections assume an extra 0.5 million births and an additional net gain of 0.3 million more migrants countered by 0.1 million more deaths.”
More carers needed
The average age of people in the UK is also set to rise from 39.7 years in 2010 to 39.9 years in 2020 and 42.2 years by 2035.
As the UK population gets older with people living longer, the numbers in the most senior age groups will increase the fastest experts predict.
The number aged over 85 is expected more than double over 25 years from 1.4 million in 2010 to 1.9 million by 2020 and 3.5 million by 2035.
Those people aged 90 and above is projected to more than triple by 2035, and the number aged at least 95 is projected to more than quadruple.
The number of centenarians receiving a birthday message from the Queen is set to soar from 13,000 in 2010 to 110,000 in 2035, an increase of more than eight-fold, said the ONS.
The figures raise serious questions as to who will care for the growing elderly population and the numbers of working taxpayers needed to fund their pensions and benefits.
More carers are needed in the UK right now, let alone when the number of people aged over 85 doubles and those over 90 triples in the not too distant future.
The care industry is already desperately short of qualified care workers, and with government curbs on Tier 2 working visas and Tier 4 student visas managers are increasing turning to EU migrants, especially from bright new EU member workers from Bulgaria and Romania.
Although Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not enjoy full free movement rights to work in the UK they can obtain Yellow Card permits to work full time as part of a vocational study programme such as NVQ or QCF courses in Health and Social Care.
There are hundreds of jobs available in the UK especially in the care industry. One employer, who owns a chain of over 60 care homes and sheltered housing units for people with learning disabilities, said that he would ‘like to employ more Romanians and Bulgarians if he can find those with Yellow Cards (as students) who don’t mind working outside of London’.
The government has said it wants to slash non-EU immigration from about 200,000 to “tens of thousands” by 2015 through an immigration cap.
Habib Rahman, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), said: “The most pressing problem facing the UK at present is the growing disparity between the working-age population and pensioners – if we do not act to reduce this Britain faces economic stagnation and deprivation.
“A managed migration policy can be a major part of the solution to the problems the UK faces.” Source: BBC.
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