England Faces Population Boom

England faces population boom
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
(Filed: 13/10/2006)
The Telegraph

Audio: Will there be room?

England's population will rise by more than six million within 25 years, official figures predicted yesterday.

Every region will see an increase.

By 2029, the Office for National Statistics predicts there will be 56.4 million people in England, confirming it as one of the world's most crowded nations.

England's population passed the 50 million mark in 2004 and now makes up about 83 per cent of the British total of more than 60 million.

Local population projections, using 2004 as a base, show that London will see the biggest rise of almost 20 per cent, followed by the South West (16 per cent) and the East (15 per cent). The lowest population growth is predicted in the North East (four per cent).

The population in more than a fifth of local authorities is projected to increase by more than 20 per cent by 2029, while six per cent of authorities are projected to have decreasing numbers.

England on its own has the 24th highest population in the world and is one of the world's most densely populated nations, with 383 people per square kilometre compared with 246 for Britain as a whole and a European average of 117.

The biggest factor in the population rise is immigration. It has been estimated that 80 per cent of the rise will be as a result of migrants.

However, the population will be ageing. The figures showed that the number of people aged over 65 will be 12.3 million, compared to eight million today, while the population aged 16 to 64 will grow by only two million.

The growth in population has considerable public policy implications. Infrastructure and services have to be sufficiently robust to cope with the numbers, especially in London and the South East.