According to European Union statistics, there were almost 400 000 more people in Britain in 2012 compared to 2011. Around a third of this growth came from immigrants, while the remaining two thirds were babies born in the UK – Britain’s biggest baby boom in 40 years.
The number of live births recorded in Britain in 2012 was a staggering 813,000, the highest number in a single year since 1972, and the second highest in Europe. France experienced a marginally higher number of births at 822,000, while Germany recorded a negative natural change rate, with almost 200,000 more people dying than were born. By contrast, the UK saw 243,900 more babies born than the number of people who died over the same period.
Unsurprisingly, many have singled out immigration as the biggest factor contributing to the rapidly growing population. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in August revealed that one in four babies born in the UK in 2012 was to a mother from outside the UK. At the time, Tory MP James Clappison was quoted as saying: “We are already a crowded island. You can’t do anything about people having babies, but you can do something about migration.”
Interestingly, further analysis of the study of birth records suggests that the recent baby boom could also be attributed to a series of cold winters and particularly heavy bouts of snow – each followed nine months later by a noticeable spike in the number of births.
In October 2010, for instance, the UK recorded the highest number of births in a single month in 20 years, exactly nine months after the heaviest snowfall England and Wales had seen for almost 50 years.
The ONS estimates the UK’s population to be at around 63,7 million at present. This population is expected to grow by another 10 million by the year 2037. That’s more than the entire population of London being added to an already densely populated island.
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